The upcoming Broadway revival of “Blithe Spirit” has booked the Shubert Theater, with Simon Jones joining a cast that already includes Angela Lansbury, Rupert Everett and Christine Ebersole.
The Shubert, which has not housed a straight play since “A Chorus Line” launched its 15-year run there in 1975, also had been rumored to be a potential home for the incoming revival of “Hair.” That musical is also said to have its eye on the Al Hirschfeld Theater, although the venue currently still houses the open-ended run of tuner “A Tale of Two Cities.”
The last non-musical to play the Shubert — which at about 1450 seats is considered relatively sizable by Broadway standards — was a revival of “The Constant Wife” in 1975. Venue’s current occupant, “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” shutters Jan. 18 after a run of about four years.
“Spirit” will join a Rialto season in which starry play revivals — “All My Sons” with Katie Holmes, “Equus” toplined by Daniel Radcliffe, “The Seagull” with Kristin Scott Thomas — have pulled in consistently healthy sales.
“Spirit” is produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, the “August: Osage County” team whose new revival of “Speed-the-Plow” starring Jeremy Piven also has logged promising numbers.
In “Spirit” Jones plays Dr. Bradman, one of the invitees to the seance that kicks off the plot of the 1941 Noel Coward comedy. Everett plays a man haunted by the ghost of his first wife (Ebersole), who has been summoned by an eccentric psychic (Lansbury).
Rialto credits for Jones, the Brit actor who starred in the 1981 BBC TV adaptation of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” include “The Real Thing,” “Benefactors” and “Waiting in the Wings.” Thesp also is a.d. of Gotham-based troupe The Actors’ Company Theater.
Michael Blakemore (“Copenhagen,” “Kiss Me, Kate”) helms “Spirit,” which aims to begin Rialto perfs in February.