A mysterious Instagram account, website, and teaser trailers have appeared for the musical adaptation of Death Becomes Her. The new musical, based on the 1992 film starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, received a private industry reading in April with Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard. Hilty and Simard have both posted the teaser trailer on their Instagram page, hinting at the casting for the anticipated musical.
The original film followed a Broadway actor named Madeline (Streep) and a writer named Helen (Hawn) trying to achieve eternal youth with a magic potion (one with nasty side effects). The show's Instagram account @vivaeternity posted the teaser trailer, which is a faux commercial advertising the "endlessly exquisite" anti-aging potion Viva, proclaiming that "beauty is in the vial of the holder."
Upon clicking the link in the account's bio, viewers are prompted to join the spring 2024 waitlist for Viva—a potential hint at the musical's premiere. There, they are prompted to enter contact information as well as their "government age," "perceived age," and "desired age." Both the website and Instagram page are full of Easter eggs for Death Becomes Her fans, like their extensive disclaimer: "Viva is not responsible for tears, breaks, twists, wounds, holes, gore, crazy eyes, disintegrations, peeling, melting, or any other bodily destruction."
Though no further news has been announced regarding a fully staged production of Death Becomes Her, Hilty did say on her Instagram, "On backorder until Spring 2024 and totally worth it. @vivaeternity." Simard wrote on her Instagram, "People ask, 'Jen, what’s your secret?' and I always reply, 'How dare you speak to me.' But, really, it’s VIVA."
The spring industry reading of Death Becomes Her featured direction and choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies), a book by Marco Pennette, and music and lyrics by Julia Mattison and Noel Carey. The creative team also included music supervisor Mary-Mitchell Campbell, music director Ted Arthur, and general manager 321 Theatrical Management. Casting was by Tara Rubin casting.
The reading cast was led by Hilty and Simard as Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp, respectively. They were joined by Christopher Sieber as Ernest Menville, Nicole Scherzinger as Viola Van Horn, and Kevin Smith Kirkwood as Zander Medly, along with Marissa Rosen, Nikki Kimbrough, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Abigail Stephenson, Evan Harrington, Josh Lamon, Austin Ku, and Mike Millan.