MacLaine may ‘Visit’ Broadway

Lansbury, Close both withdraw, so Shirley's it

NEW YORK — Shirley MacLaine has been offered the starring role in John Kander and Fred Ebb’s new musical “The Visit” now that Glenn Close has passed.

Angela Lansbury, who had long been associated with the project, pulled out of the show on July 20 due to the illness of her husband, Peter Shaw.

Prior to Lansbury’s departure, a March 15 opening at the Broadway Theater had been announced, with previews beginning Feb. 24.

When she exited the production, Lansbury wrote a letter to “Visit” producer Barry Brown saying, “The kind of commitment required of an artist carrying a multimillion-dollar production has to be 100%, and in fairness to you, I realize I simply couldn’t manage being available to you and the company, and fulfill my desire and need to care for Peter. I wouldn’t have had this happen for the world, if I could have avoided it.”

Close considered it but recently passed on the project.

If MacLaine headlines “The Visit,” it would be her first Broadway musical gig since she subbed for an injured Carol Haney in the original 1954 production of “The Pajama Game.”

As legend has it, MacLaine sang “Steam Heat” and talent scouts quickly gave the ex-chorus girl a one-way ticket to Hollywood stardom. Her film debut came a year later in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble With Harry.”

In addition to her bigscreen work, the Oscar-winning actress has appeared in various musical revues in Las Vegas, Gotham and elsewhere.

If the Broadway production of “The Visit” does not materialize for the 2000-01 season, a West End version may, with Judi Dench or Diana Rigg headlining.

On Broadway, Frank Galati will direct, with Ann Reinking set as choreographer.

Friedrich Durrenmatt’s 1956 play “The Visit” is not typical source material for a Broadway musical. In it, the millionairess Karla Zacchanassian offers her native village a fortune in exchange for a man’s life. The townspeople then hunt down and kill the man, Serge Miller, who had been Zacchanassian’s lover decades earlier.

Philip Bosco, currently starring in “Copenhagen” on Broadway, has been signed to play Miller. Terrence McNally wrote the book for “The Visit.”

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]


    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]


    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content