Azuay Community Theater brings popular comedy ‘Blithe Spirit’ to its stage, April 17-21

Apr 15, 2024 | 0 comments

The Blythe Spirit cast: Top Row L-R: Terry Bennett, L. Jay Edenmeyer, Pamela Phoenix, Joy Broomfield; Lower Row L-R: Mark Deckard, Mary Helfrich, Carol Hubbard, Lovey Hendon.

By John Olson

From April 17-21, Azuay Community Theatre will perform Noel Coward’s, Blithe Spirit — one of the most enduring comedies of the last 100 years. In this ever-popular comedy, Charles Condomine’s first, now-deceased wife Elvira is accidentally summoned back to life by a medium, Madame Arcati. Back in Charles’ house, Elvira does not approve of Charles’ new wife Ruth and causes trouble for all. And they can’t find a way to get her to leave and return to the dead!

Blithe Spirit premiered in London in 1941 and brought respite to London audiences even as World War II raged on. Despite getting poor reviews at the time, it proved a hit with the public and eventually set a record as the longest running non-musical British play with its run of 1,997 performances in London’s West End. It was soon produced on Broadway, where it ran for 657 performances from 1941 -1943. It was performed on radio in 1944 and a film version was released in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond, and Margaret Rutherford.

But unlike Elvira, Blithe Spirit has never really left us since its initial popularity in the 1940s. It’s been remade eight times for film and television and revived multiple times on Broadway and in London’s West End, attracting some of the greatest actors of the US and UK to the juicy comic roles of Charles, Elvira, Ruth, and Madame Arcati. Angela Lansbury, Rupert Everett, Blythe Danner, Ruth Gordon, and Christine Ebersole are just a few of the legendary actors to have appeared in it on stage.

ACT’s cast will be led by L. Jay Edenmeyer as Charles, Terry Bennett as Elvira, Pamela Phoenix as Ruth, and Joy Broomfield as Madame Arcati. Lovey Hendon will play Madame Arcati for the Friday, April 19 performance. Also in the cast are Carol Hubbard, Mary Helfrich, and Mark Deckard. Gerald Cole is the director.

Performances are in English and are Wednesday, April 17, Thursday, April 18 and Friday, April 19 at 2 pm; and Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 at 4 pm. A cash bar Happy Hour will precede each show, beginning one hour before the performances. Tickets are $15.00 and may be purchased at www.actseats.com. ACT’s production of The Prisoner of Second Avenue in February completely sold out its entire run before the first performance, so advance reservations are highly recommended.

The theater is at Antonio Vega Muñoz 14-46, between Estévez de Toral and Coronel Tálbot. The Coronel Tálbot and 3 de noviembre Tranvía stops are nearby, as are several bus lines; and parking is also available.

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