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Woman in White , with London Stars Friedman and Ball, Opens on Broadway Nov. 17

- Playbill.com by Andrew Gans - 17/11/2005-


While The Phantom of the Opera inches closer and closer to becoming Broadway's longest-running production, Andrew Lloyd Webber's newest musical, The Woman in White, officially opens at the Marquis Theatre Nov. 17. Maria Friedman and Michael Ball co-star.

Woman in White , which marks the Broadway debut of Friedman, began performances Oct. 28. During the preview period Friedman, a three-time Olivier Award winner, was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. The actress underwent surgery Nov. 3, and in the show-must-go-on tradition returned to the cast Nov. 10.

Friedman portrays Marian Halcombe, a role she created in the musical's London production. Michael Ball, last seen on Broadway in another Lloyd Webber musical, Aspects of Love , plays the villainous Count Fosco.

The company also includes Ron Bohmer (Sir Percival Glyde), Walter Charles (Mr. Farlie), Angela Christian (Anne Catherick), Jill Paice (Laura Fairlie) and Adam Brazier (Walter Hartright). The ensemble comprises Laura Dekkers, Courtney Glass, Leah Horowitz, Norman Large, Michael Shawn Lewis, Elizabeth Loyacano, Sean MacLaughlin, Elena Shaddow, Richard Todd Adams, Justis Bolding, Lisa Brescia, Roger Dewitt, John Dewar, Patty Goble, Daniel Marcus, Greg Mills and Daniel Torres.

The Woman in White features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by David Zippel and a book by Charlotte Jones. The remainder of the creative team comprises Trevor Nunn (direction), William Dudley (set and costume design), Paul Pyant (lighting design), Mick Potter (sound design), Wayne McGregor (dance and movement) and Simon Lee (musical supervisor).

The London production — now starring Ruthie Henshall — began previews at the newly refurbished Palace Theatre Aug. 28, 2004, with an official opening Sept. 15. Woman in White was nominated for five Olivier Awards.

According to production notes, The Woman in White concerns "a dashing young man, employed as the art tutor to two devoted sisters, [who] is stranded at a remote railway cutting. Out of the darkness looms a woman, a mysterious figure dressed in white, desperate to share a chilling secret. He and the sisters soon find themselves trapped in a web of betrayal and greed, the victims of a seemingly flawless crime. Together they will need all their resourcefulness and courage to outwit a hugely charismatic and ingenious villain. As the compelling plot twists and turns, low villainy vies with high romance in a world where nothing is as it first appears and where it is impossible to know who to trust."

Maria Friedman won her third Olivier Award for her performance as Mother in the West End production of Ragtime . She also won Oliviers for her one-woman show, Maria Friedman—By Special Arrangement, and for her work as Fosca in the London production of Sondheim's Passion . She received Olivier nominations for her roles as Dot in Sunday in the Park with George and Roxie in Chicago . Friedman's other stage credits include Lady in the Dark, Blues in the Night, April in Paris, Break of Day, Square Rounds, The Witches of Eastwick and Ragtime . She can also be seen as the Narrator in the film video of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat .

Michael Ball made his Broadway debut as Alex in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love , a role he created on the London stage. His other London stage credits include The Woman in White, The Pirates of Penzance, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Passion and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang . Ball's numerous, best-selling solo recordings include "Centre Stage," "Christmas," "Live at the Royal Albert Hall," "The Movies," "The Musicals," "First Love," "Always" and "Michael Ball."

For more information about The Woman in White visit www.womaninwhitethemusical.com. For ticket information, go to www.ticketmaster.com.

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