Entertainment & Arts

Angela Lansbury takes to the boards again in the US

angela lansbury Image copyright AP
Image caption Angela Lansbury says she loved playing Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote but that it "didn't require acting ability on my part, at all - none"

Actress Angela Lansbury, known best for TV show Murder She Wrote, is returning to the US stage to star in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

The Tony winner and honorary Oscar recipient will be doing a six-week run at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Coward farce tells the story of a medium who accidentally conjures the ghost of a writer's precocious wife.

Lansbury, 89, plays clairvoyant Madame Arcati.

She has played the role before, most notably on Broadway in 2009 and in London's West End in March this year.

"It's a role that I enjoy playing tremendously,'' Lansbury said, adding it was a no-brainer returning to a part "that really, really makes the audience sit up and say, `Oh my gosh, what is she doing now?'''

However, Lansbury will always be synonymous with her writer-turned-amateur-sleuth character Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, a role she played from 1984 to 1996 but which still enjoys almost continuous repeats.

"People say to me, `Well, how can you play Jessica Fletcher and then you come along and play Madame Arcati?,''' Lansbury said.

"I say, 'It's all about imagination'. That's what acting is, is imagination. If you don't have imagination, you're not going to want to play different roles. I've always wanted to attack roles that didn't appear to be something I'd ever done before.''

Lansbury added that, personally, she is "nowhere near" either character, "even though a lot of people would say, 'Well, you must be like Jessica.' I'm probably closer to Jessica than I am to Arcati, because I'm a very ordinary person.''

The London-born Lansbury added that Jessica Fletcher, though her biggest hit, took the least effort of all the roles in her career.

"She was a lovely woman to play,'' Lansbury said. "But it didn't require acting ability on my part, at all - none.

"Arcati, on the other hand, requires every bit of imagination I can muster.''

After the play ends its Los Angeles run it will be moving on to San Francisco and then Toronto, ending up in Washington DC.

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