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Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

 

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The play was first produced at the Manchester Opera House in June 1941, and then premiered in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre on 2 July 1941, later transferring to the St James's Theatre and then the Duchess Theatre, for a total of 1,997 performances. It was directed by Coward; sets and costumes were designed by Gladys Calthrop.[9] During the run Beryl Measor took over as Madame Arcati and Irene Browne took over the role of Ruth. When the play transferred from the Piccadilly to the St James's in 1942, Coward took over the role of Charles for a time. The run set a record for non-musical plays in the West End that was not surpassed until 1957 by The Mousetrap.

The Broadway premiere was on 5 November 1941 at the Morosco Theatre in a production staged by John C. Wilson and designed by Stewart Chaney. In the cast were Clifton Webb as Charles, Peggy Wood as Ruth, Leonora Corbett as Elvira and Mildred Natwick as Madame Arcati. The play transferred to the Booth Theatre on 18 May 1942; it ran for a total of 657 performances. Coward starred as Charles in a wartime UK touring company, beginning in September 1942, with Joyce Carey as Ruth, Judy Campbell as Elvira and Molly Johnson as Madame Arcati. Dennis Price covered for Coward when the latter was taken ill. Another wartime touring company, run by ENSA, toured the Far East in 1945, headed by John Gielgud, who directed, and played Charles.

1970s and '80s
In July 1970, the play was revived in the West End at the Globe Theatre, starring Patrick Cargill as Charles, Phyllis Calvert as Ruth, Amanda Reiss as Elvira and Beryl Reid as Madame Arcati; it ran until January 1971. It was then revived by the National Theatre in 1976, in a production directed by Harold Pinter, starring Richard Johnson as Charles, Rowena Cooper as Ruth, Maria Aitken as Elvira and Elizabeth Spriggs as Madame Arcati. Another London revival played in 1986 at the Vaudeville Theatre, starring Simon Cadell as Charles, Jane Asher as Ruth, Joanna Lumley as Elvira and Marcia Warren as Madame Arcati.

Blithe Spirit was revived on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre on 31 March 1987 in a production directed by Brian Murray. It starred Richard Chamberlain as Charles, Judith Ivey as Ruth, Blythe Danner as Elvira and Geraldine Page as Madame Arcati. It ran for 104 performances. Page, who received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress, died of a heart attack during the run; Patricia Conolly succeeded her in the role.

2000s
In 2002 the play was given a short production at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York, with Daniel Gerroll, who also directed, as Charles, Patricia Kalember as Ruth, Twiggy as Elvira and Dana Ivey as Madame Arcati.[21] The piece was back in the West End at the Savoy Theatre in 2004, in a production directed by Thea Sharrock, starring Aden Gillett as Charles, Joanna Riding as Ruth, Amanda Drew as Elvira and Penelope Keith (succeeded by Stephanie Cole) as Madame Arcati.

A Broadway revival played in 2009 at the Shubert Theatre. Michael Blakemore directed, with Rupert Everett as Charles, Jayne Atkinson as Ruth, Christine Ebersole as Elvira, Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati and Simon Jones as Dr Bradman. The New York Times found the revival somewhat uneven, calling the opening performance "bumpy", but praised Lansbury's performance.[n 1]

2010s
Sharrock directed a revival of her production of the play, which started as a UK tour and then moved to the Apollo Theatre, London. It ran there from March to June 2011, with a cast including Robert Bathurst as Charles, Hermione Norris as Ruth, Ruthie Henshall as Elvira and Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati.

A West End production, directed by Blakemore, opened at the Gielgud Theatre in March 2014, with Charles Edwards as Charles, Janie Dee as Ruth, Jemima Rooper as Elvira and Lansbury as Madame Arcati, and Jones as Dr Bradman as in Blakemore's 2009 Broadway production. It ran until June. A revival, again directed by Blakemore with most of the West End cast (including Lansbury at age 89) except Charlotte Parry as Ruth, toured North America from December 2014 to March 2015, visiting Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington D.C..

 

Détails

Liste des rôles

Charles Condomine – Cecil Parker
Ruth Condomine, his second wife – Fay Compton
Elvira Condomine, his first wife and ghostly presence – Kay Hammond
Madame Arcati, a medium – Margaret Rutherford
Doctor Bradman, a friend – Martin Lewis
Mrs Bradman, his wife – Moya Nugent
Edith, a maid – Ruth Reeves

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