Bell, book and candle is a 1950 Broadway play by John Van Druten. The original production was directed by John Van Druten with scenic and lighting design by George C. Jenkins, costumes by Anna Hill Johnstone with additional costumes exclusively designed for actress Lilli Palmer by Valentina. The play opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on November 14, 1950 and ran for 233 performances before closing on June 2, 1951. Following the close of the original Broadway production, a U.S. national tour of the play in 1952–53 starred Rosalind Russell and then Joan Bennett. A later West End production at London's Phoenix Theatre opened on October 5, 1954 and ran for 485 performances, closing on December 3, 1955. It was presented by H.M. Tennent Ltd and was directed by Rex Harrison, with settings by Alan Tagg and costumes by Pierre Balmain. This version relocated the action from Manhattan to Knightsbridge and changed the forename of the leading male character from Shep to Tony. Gillian Holroyd is one of the few modern people who can actually cast spells and perform feats of supernaturalism. She casts a spell over an unattached publisher, Shepherd Henderson, partly to keep him away from a rival and partly because she is attracted to him. He falls head over heels in love with her at once and wants to marry her. But witches, unfortunately, cannot fall in love, and this minute imperfection leads into a number of difficulties. Ultimately, the lady breaks off with her companions in witchery, preferring the normal and human love offered her by the attractive publisher. But before the happy conclusion of the romance, Gillian comes very near to losing him—but doesn’t. Regarding the play itself, author Druten stated in an interview : "Originally Bell, Book and Candle was a rather more serious play, but then I asked myself what constitutes witchcraft... and I felt the answer lies in the fact that witches primarily seem to exist for their own self-gratification. However, one has to stop living in terms of ‘self’ if aspects of love are ever to be realized". The origin of the phrase "bell, book and candle" dates back to the 14th century. In Old English it first appeared as : "Curced in kirc an sal ai be wid candil, boke, and bell" and was used in excommunication ceremonies or "anathema". William Shakespeare used the phrase in his 1595 play King John : "Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back, When gold and silver becks me to come on". A controversy erupted in 2015 citing set plagiarism, after a new production of the play was launched at Theatre Works New Milford in New Milford, Connecticut. The theater company immediately stopped all performances after it was noted that their set design was strikingly similar to that of the critically acclaimed revival in 2012 at Hartford Stage. Theatre Works New Milford acknowledged the similarity in an apology letter to Alexander Dodge and Darko Tresnjak, who originally designed the sets for the 2012 production, stating that their production was "inspired" by their designs.