It will receive its British première at the Charing Cross Theatre with Betty Buckley in the title role — which Angela Lansbury created in 1969 — and Paul Nicholas. It will be directed and choreographed by the miraculous Gillian Lynne (Cats, Phantom) who will turn 87 during the show’s limited run.
Although Dear World won a Tony for Lansbury as Best Actress in a Musical it was not a commercial success and ran for only 132 performances. The London production will run from 13 February to 30 March 2013.
Dear World is based on Jean Giraudoux’s play The Madwoman of Chaillot, which gave Lansbury great scope and the make-up team a lot of fun. Now Tony Award–winner Betty Buckley is to get her teeth into the role which, on paper, should suit her perfectly. She has already tackled a similar character when playing Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard in the West End.
Buckley and her co-star Paul Nicholas have a Cats connection as both were in original casts, though not in the same city: Nicholas created the role of Rum Tum Tugger in London, while Buckley was the first Grizabella on Broadway. There’s even a number in Dear World called ‘Memory’… but not that one.
Photo: Angela Lansbury on the 1969 Playbill cover