Photos: See Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard On Stage in Death Becomes Her | Playbill

Photo Features Photos: See Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard On Stage in Death Becomes Her

Christopher Gattelli directs the world premiere of the new musical based on the 1992 film.

Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

They do it for the gaze! The new stage musical adaptation of Death Becomes Her began its world premiere engagement April 30 at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre, and production photos have been released. 

Megan Hilty and Jennifer Simard, who starred in an April 2023 reading of Death Becomes Her, again lead the cast as Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp, respectively. They play fierce rivals who take a magic potion to obtain eternal youth only to find it has some gnarly side effects. Performances will continue through June 2.

See more photos from the show below, including its first preview curtain call.

Photos: Production Photos from Death Becomes Her In Chicago

The two are joined in the pre-Broadway premiere by Tony nominee Christopher Sieber (Shrek the Musical, Spamalot) as Ernest Menville and Grammy winner Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child, Aida) as Viola Van Horn.

The ensemble includes Marija Abney, Sarita Colon, Kaleigh Cronin, Natalie Charle Ellis, Gabriella Enriquez, Taurean Everett, Michael Graceffa, Neil Haskell, Kolton Krouse, Josh Lamon, Sarah Meahl, Diana Vaden, Sir Brock Warren, Bud Weber, Ryan Worsing, and Warren Yang. Beau Harmon, Johanna Moise, Amy Quanbeck, and Zach Williams are the swings.

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 with associate direction by Bethany Pettigrew and staging supervision by Mark Myars. See the cast take their first preview bows below.

The production also has music supervision by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, orchestrations by Doug Besterman, dance and incidental music arrangements by Sam Davis, music direction by Ben Cohn, set design by Derek McLane, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Justin Townsend, sound design by Peter Hylenski, illusions by Rob Lake, hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe, makeup by Joe Dulude II, fights by Thomas Schall, and casting by Tara Rubin Casting.

"Madeline Ashton is the most beautiful actress (just ask her) ever to grace the stage and screen," state the press notes. "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."

The original film, directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Martin Donovan and David Koepp, starred Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. It was an early pioneer in using CGI to achieve its special effects, which include Streep's head turned completely backwards and a gaping hole in Hawn's stomach. The film also featured a Playbill in its first scene. The musical adaptation has been in the works since at least 2017, when Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth was attached to star. Chenoweth's involvement pre-dates the current creative team.

General management is by 321 Theatrical Management, and the production stage manager is Rachel Sterner.

Death Becomes Her is produced by Universal Theatrical Group (UTG), led by Senior Vice President Chris Herzberger. UTG’s Vice President of Creative Development and Production, Lowe Cunningham, oversees on behalf of UTG.

Click here for ticket information.

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