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Angela Lansbury Returning to West End at 88 in ‘Blithe Spirit’ Revival

Noel Coward comedy marks her first appearance on London stage in 40 years

Angela Lansbury isn’t one to rest on her laurels.

Fresh off an honorary Oscar for decades of memorable performances in such films as “Gaslight” and “The Manchurian Candidate,” the 88-year old Lansbury is returning to the stage in a West End revival of “Blithe Spirit.” She will play doddering clairvoyant Madame Arcati, the same role that won her a Tony in 2009. It marks Lansbury’s first time on the London stage in nearly 40 years, her last stint crossing the boards in the city coming with a performance as Gertrude in the National Theatre’s 1975 production of “Hamlet.”

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“You could say it’s my last chance,” Lansbury told the Daily Mail. “It isn’t! But you could say that. After all, I am 88 — in my 89th year now. But I’ve got many more years left. I do believe that.”

Lansbury has been nominated for three Oscars and won five Tonys. She remains best known for playing a sleuth and novelist in the long-running series “Murder, She Wrote,” in addition to her well-regard work in such stage shows as “Sweeney Todd” and “Mame.”

“Blithe Spirit” is one of Noel Coward’s most frequently revived works and centers on a swank couple who conjure up the ghost of a dead wife. Numerous highballs are consumed and many bon mots are uttered. Janie Dee and Charles Edwards will co-star in the play, which will officially open at the Gielgud Theatre on March 18, 2014, with previews beginning on March 1.