By John Hoglund
It almost seems overdue. Imagine one of the all-time camp classic from the cinema on a stage with a unique cast headed by Charles Busch in a deliciously bizarre role played by Susan Hayward (who replaced Judy Garland after she orchestrated her own firing!) It's all a trivia maniac's wildest dream. And it's all for a good cause. A handsome, talented and starry cast has been assembled for the Actors Fund's upcoming reading of Valley of the Dolls, which will be presented March 15 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College in Manhattan.
Carl Andress will direct the reading, which begins at 7:30pm. The evening will feature a stage adaptation of Helen Deutsch's screenplay penned by Bob Hess and Doug Miller. Jacqueline Susann wrote the original novel. The cast will boast the aforementioned Charles Busch as "legendary" Helen Lawson, Heidi Blickenstaff as Neely O’Hara, Tovah Feldshuh as Miriam Polar, Cheyenne Jackson as Tony Polar, Martha Plimpton as Anne Welles and Christopher Sieber as Ted Casablanca.
Additional casting will be announced soon as well as ticket information. Valley of the Dolls, according to press notes, "follows the lives of three women – naive New Englander Anne Welles, aspiring singer Neely O'Hara, and buxom beauty Jennifer North – as they attempt to achieve fame and fortune in show business. As this legendary story unfolds, each starlet discovers that Hollywood is full of pitfalls and heartbreak. Instead of the happiness they seek, the trio descends into a dark world of sex, alcoholism, suicide and a chemical dependence on a variety of prescription 'dolls.'" This one is a must see!