A Broadway revival of Noel Coward's comedy Blithe Spirit is in the works for March 2009, to be directed by Michael Blakemore. The play will be produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler, the team behind August: Osage County and the forthcoming revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow. According to a news release, rehearsals are scheduled to begin at the end of January with a mid-March opening planned at a Shubert theater to be announced. No cast has been set.
Blakemore, the only director to win Tony Awards in the same season for a play and a musical Copenhagen and Kiss Me Kate, was most recently represented on Broadway by Mark Twain's Is He Dead? and Terrence McNally's Deuce.
Blithe Spirit, the story of a wealthy man haunted by the ghost of his first wife, was first seen on Broadway in 1941. It had opened the same year in London, where it set box office records and was the longest running comedy 1,997 performances until Boeing-Boeing in the 1970s. The original Broadway production played nearly two years and co-starred Leonora Corbett, Mildred Natwick, Clifton Webb and Peggy Wood. It was last seen in New York in 1987 with Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, and Geraldine Page, in her final Broadway appearance.
Coward, in his autobiography, claimed he wrote the play in five days during a holiday. Only two lines of dialogue were removed before its first production in London.