Angela Lansbury
Photo courtesy of Katz PR

Dame Angela Lansbury is back on the boards! The star of stage, screen, and film will return this Monday night, June 19th @ 7PM  for a one night only reading of the British drama, The Chalk Garden at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College (68th street between Park and Lexington). The performance will be followed by a dinner with the cast at the historic Union Club.

The evening will benefit The Acting Company, an organization founded in 1972 which helps to bring live classical theater to Americans who might not otherwise be exposed to it. Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Rainn Wilson, and Harriet Harris are among the numerous stars who began their careers with the acclaimed troupe. The Acting Company’s Executive Director Elisa Spencer-Kaplan says, “We are thrilled to bring The Chalk Garden to the New York stage for one very special night. It promises to be an unforgettable evening.”

The Chalk Garden, written by Enid Bagnold, premiered on Broadway in 1955. It was later revived in 1971. Since I was not alive during either production, Wikipedia has come to my aid to offer this brief synopsis:

Mrs. St. Maugham lives in her country house in a village in Sussex, where the garden is composed of lime and chalk. She is taking care of her teenage grandchild, Laurel, who has been setting fires. Miss Madrigal, an expert gardener, is hired as a governess, despite her lack of references. Also in the household is a valet, Maitland, who has just been released from a five-year sentence in prison. Olivia, Laurel’s mother, who has remarried, arrives for a visit. When the Judge comes to the house for lunch, he reveals that he had sentenced Miss Madrigal to jail for murder.

Frank Dunlop will direct the large cast which includes: Tedra Millan (Present Laughter, The Wolves) as Laurel, Patricia Conolly (The Front Page), Michele Tauber (Mint Theatre’s The Charity That Began at Home) and Holly Villaire (Scapino). They join previously announced cast members Francesca Faridany (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) as Miss Madrigal, Simon Jones (Blithe Spirit, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) as the Judge, David Lansbury (War Horse) as Maitland and Charlotte Parry (The Importance of Being Earnest) as Olivia.

Cast of The Chalk Garden L-R Francesca Faridany,Simon Jones, Angela Lansbury, David Lansbury,Charlotte Parry,Patricia Conolly, Tedra Millan,Michele Tauber, &Holly Villaire.   Photo courtesy of Katz PR.

It’s a superb cast and the story sounds riveting, but weren’t your hearts and wallets open at the mere mention of Angela Lansbury?!?! Tickets are limited, but still available.

THE CHALK GARDEN, a One Night Only Benefit for The Acting Company is happening this Monday at 7PM at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.  Click here for tickets and information.