Mariah Carey will make her London stage debut. She'll make her theatrical debut in the play that inspired Marilyn Monroe's ''The Prince and the Showgirl''

By Gary Susman
Updated November 04, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Mariah Carey: Shaun Pattenden/AAD/

OK, Mariah Carey’s ”Glitter” may have been laughed out of the multiplex, and her ”Wisegirls” went straight to cable, but the 33-year-old singer is not giving up acting. So says producer Bill Kenwright, who tells Variety that Carey will make her stage debut in his London production of ”The Sleeping Prince” early next year. The play is a revival of the 1956 comedy that inspired the movie ”The Prince and the Showgirl,” and Carey would play the role made famous on screen by Marilyn Monroe.

The play, written by Terrence Rattigan (”The Winslow Boy”), originally ran on Broadway for just 60 performances, starring Barbara Bel Geddes (later of ”Dallas” fame) and Michael Redgrave (father of Vanessa and Lynn). Still, that was long enough to inspire a film version, which Laurence Olivier directed and starred in opposite Monroe.

Carey would be one of several Yanks who’ve made their West End stage debuts recently, including Matthew Perry, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Madonna. ”The stage is appealing to stars,” Kenwright told Variety. ”Mariah Carey wants to get rid of the glitz and tassels. She wants to be an actress. She’s not this diva.”

Kenwright made the announcement at Sunday’s opening night party for another 1950s revival, his new production of Tennessee Williams’ ”Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” with Ashley Judd playing Maggie the Cat, another role originated by Bel Geddes (Elizabeth Taylor played the part on film). He did not name the male lead, the director, or the theater behind ”Prince” (”I can’t tell you, not yet,” he told Variety), saying only that Carey would go into rehearsals in January. As for whether Carey would sing during the performance, as Bel Geddes and Monroe had, Kenwright said, ”Possibly.”