Context


Blithe Spirit was first produced at the Manchester Opera House in June 1941, before making its West End premiere at the Piccadilly Theatre the following month. It held the record for the longest running non-musical play in the West End, only surpassed by The Mousetrap in 1957. The play premiered on Broadway in November 1941 at the Morosco Theatre, running for 657 performances. In 1945, the play was made into a film, with Rex Harrison playing Charles Condomine. Blithe Spirit has had many successful revivals throughout the years and was even transformed into a musical, High Spirits, in 1964. Coward was so delighted with this musical adaptation that he agreed to direct it himself on Broadway.

Most recently, the comedy was revived on Broadway in 2009 with Angela Lansbury taking the role of Madame Arcati. She was joined by Rupert Everett as Charles, Jayne Atkinson as Ruth, and Christine Ebersole as Elvira. Lansbury’s appearance in the production earned her the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, her fifth Tony Award. She returned to this role on London’s West End in 2014, receiving the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2015. This same production went on to tour the United States from December 2014 - March 2015.

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