Performances don't begin at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre until April 30, but the two leading ladies of the new stage musical adaptation of Death Becomes Her are already getting into character.
As previously reported, Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard, who starred in an April 2023 reading of Death Becomes Her, will again lead the cast as Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp, respectively, fierce rivals who take a magic potion to obtain eternal youth only to find it has some gnarly side effects. The original film, directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Martin Donovan and David Koepp, starred Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, and was an early pioneer in using CGI to achieve those effects, which include Streep's head turned completely backwards and a gaping hole in Hawn's stomach.
In a new Instagram posting, the two Broadway favorites seem to relish taking jabs at each other— in character, of course. Watch the shading begin below:
Hilty and Simard's casting had previously been announced via Instagram.
Based on the 1992 film, the work features a book by TV writer-producer Marco Pennette and music and lyrics by Julia Mattison and Noel Carey. Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) is directing and choreographing.
Joining Hilty and Simard in the April reading were 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. No additional Chicago casting has been announced.
The production will also have set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Justin Townsend, sound design by Peter Hylenski, and illusions by Rob Lake. The creative team also includes music supervisor Mary-Mitchell Campbell, hair and wig designer Charles LaPointe, makeup designer Joe Dulude II, music director Ben Cohn, and general manager 321 Theatrical Management. Casting is by Tara Rubin casting.
Press notes for the musical adaptation describe the plot as such: "Madeline Ashton is the most beautiful actress (just ask her) ever to grace the stage and screen. Helen Sharp is the long-suffering author (just ask her) who lives in her shadow. They have always been the best of frenemies… until Madeline steals Helen’s fiancé away. As Helen plots revenge and Madeline clings to her rapidly fading star, their world is suddenly turned upside down by Viola Van Horn, a mysterious woman with a secret that’s to die for. After one sip of Viola’s magical potion, Madeline and Helen begin a new era of life (and death) with their youth and beauty restored… and a grudge to last eternity."
Universal Theatrical Group produces. UTG Vice President of Creative
Development and Production Lowe Cunningham oversees on behalf of UTG.
Performances will continue in Chicago through June 2. The show's official website domain, DeathBecomesHerBroadway.com, seems to imply that the show is at least aiming for the Main Stem.
Click here for ticket information for the Chicago production.