Actress Megan Hilty will make her stage debut as Madeline Ashton in the musical adaptation of the classic “Death Becomes Her” in April 2024. The role was originally played by Meryl Streep in the 1992 film version, a fact that is not lost on Hilty at all.
The pair haven’t yet spoken about the role, but Hilty said that she would “fall to the floor” if Streep ever wanted to chat.
“I don’t know her and I can’t imagine that she has any time to reach out to me,” she added of the Oscar-winning Streep. “But I’m sure that they’re aware that this is happening.”
It was announced in September that the musical will open in Chicago in April. Hilty will star in the musical opposite Jennifer Simard, who takes on the role of Helen Sharp, played by Goldie Hawn in the movie.
Streep’s portrayal of Madeline Ashton was a wicked one. The Guardian described the 1992 movie as “woefully ahead of its time,” particularly in terms of “predicting the rise of scripted reality television with its no-details-spared scenes and plot twists.”
The film was one of the earliest to use CGI to achieve many of its effects, particularly when Streep’s Ashton turns her head completely around and Hawn’s Sharp still walks with a gaping shotgun hole in her stomach. The movie was also the first to use computer-generated skin texture, a feat that earned Industrial Light & Magic the Academy Award for Visual Effects the following year.
Hilty and Simard’s stage adaptation will hold true to both the film and book: Ashton, an actress riveted by herself, and author Sharp are best friends — and best frenemies, too. Sharp begins to plot revenge after Ashton steals her boyfriend, returning years after the fact to confront her former friend and win her boyfriend back. Ashton is more distracted by how youthful Sharp looks than anything else and begs to know her secret, leading both women to soon turn to Viola Van Horn to help them stay as young as possible… by whatever means necessary.