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Chita Rivera to star in ‘Drood’

Three shows set for Roundabout season

A Broadway revival of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” toplined by Chita Rivera, is among the initial trio of offerings announced for the 2012-13 season at the Roundabout Theater Company.

Also on the bill are a Rialto revival of “Picnic” helmed by Sam Gold and a new play, “The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin,” by Steven Levenson. Legit and TV helmer Scott Ellis (“Weeds,” “Two Broke Girls”) will direct both “Drood” and “Unavoidable Disappearance.”

Comic mystery “Drood” hasn’t been seen on Broadway since it played an 18-month run that began in 1985. Tuner with book, music and lyrics by Rupert Holmes (“Curtains”) draws on Brit music hall traditions in creating a stage version of an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. Auds are solicited to choose whodunit each night, with a different ending performed based on the results.

Rivera will play Princess Puffer, the proprietor of an opium den. Actress was last on the Main Stem in her 2005 autobiographical outing “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life.”

“Drood” will play Studio 54, one of the Roundabout’s Broadway venues, in a run set for the fall.

“Picnic,” meanwhile, has sketched in a winter 2013 stint at another of the nonprofit org’s Rialto venues, the American Airlines Theater. The 1953 William Inge play is produced in association with commercial producer Darren Bagert.

Director Gold (“Circle Mirror Transformation,” “Seminar”) also helmed the Roundabout’s current Off Broadway revival of “Look Back in Anger.”

The sole Off Broadway outing so far announced, “Unavoidable Disappearance,” is a Roundabout commission from Levenson, whose play “The Language of Trees” played the theater’s Off Off Broadway space.

Storyline centers on a man trying to rebuild his life and his family after going to prison for a white-collar crime. Show is on tap for a stint at the Laura Pels Theater, the Roundabout’s Off Broadway venue, with an exact timeline to be determined.

Further offerings for the Roundabout’s 2012-13 season remain to be announced.

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