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Cast: Henshall Has Spirit, Donmar Ninth, Broken

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Ruthie Henshall has joined the all-star cast for Thea Sharrock's forthcoming Theatre Royal Bath production of Noel Coward’s 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit, which transfers to the West End’s Apollo Theatre from 9 March to 18 June 2011 (previews from 2 March).

Henshall will play Elvira, the spirit of the title, in a cast that also features, as previously reported, Alison Steadman, Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris. Charles Condomine (Bathurst) and his second wife Ruth (Norris) hold a séance so that he can learn the tricks of the trade as research for his new novel. What begins as after-dinner entertainment becomes a life-changing experience when the eccentric medium Madame Arcati (Steadman) inadvertently conjures up the ghost of Charles’ first wife Elvira (Henshall), who’s determined to win him back.

Henshall is best known to theatregoers for her musical credits including Marguerite, Chicago, Peggy Sue Got Married, Oliver!, Cats and She Loves Me, for which she won the Olivier for Best Actress in a Musical in 1995. Her TV credits have included Dancing on Ice, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Law and Order.

Prior to the West End, Blithe Spirit opens this at the Theatre Royal Bath, from 3 to 13 November, and then tours to Brighton, Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Richmond.

In other recent play casting news:

  • Emily Bruni, Lucy Cohu, Nigel Lindsay, Madeleine Potter and Brian Protheroe will join, as previously reported, Antony Sher in Iqbal Khan’s revival of Arthur Miller’s Olivier Award-winning 1994 play Broken Glass, which runs at north London’s Tricycle Theatre from 6 October to 27 November 2010 (previews from 30 September). Jewish couple Philip and Sylvia Gellburg (Sher and Cohu – who played husband and wife earlier this year in Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at Sheffield Crucible) living in New York City at the time in 1938 when Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass), was taking place in Nazi Germany. When Sylvia suddenly becomes paralysed, Dr Hyman (Lindsay) is called in.
  • Ray Fearon, Richie Campbell and Anthony Welsh are the cast in Lower Ninth, Beau Willimon’s new three-hander about victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, which kicks off the inaugural season of Donmar Trafalgar, a three-year initiative to showcase the work of graduates from the Donmar Warehouse’s Resident Assistant Director Scheme via an annual 12-week residency at Trafalgar Studios 2. Lower Ninth, directed by Charlotte Westenra, runs from 4 to 23 October 2010 (previews from 30 September) and is followed by Novecento, directed by Roisin McBrinn and Les Parents Terribles, directed by Chris Rolls.
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