Although no dates have been announced for Cornelia, the Broadway-bound drama about Alabama Gov. George Wallace's run for the presidency, production spokesman Pete Sanders said (Sept. 11) that actress Elizabeth Ashley had taken part in readings and may continue with the show.
Jerry Zaks, one of New York's busiest and most ambidextrous directors, has been announced to stage the drama on Broadway this fall, but no cast or dates have been confirmed, and earlier reports of an October/November launch seem increasingly unlikely.
Ashley received a 1962 Tony Award for her performance with Art Carney in Take Her, She's Mine. Other Broadway credits include: The Highest Tree, Barefoot in the Park, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Agnes of God.
Zaks' resume includes the Nathan Lane revivals of Guys and Dolls and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, the long-running Smokey Joe's Cafe revue, plus dramas Six Degrees of Separation and the recent Off Broadway The Cripple of Inishmaan.
Ex-Govenor Wallace was hospitalized earlier this week for septic shock and breathing difficulties. Doctors told the Associated Press that although he shows signs of improvement, Wallace's bacterial blood infection remains "potentially life-threatening." Wallace also suffers from Parkinson's disease and is paralyzed in the legs due to an attempted assassination while he was running for president in 1972. Fran and Barry Weissler (Grease!, Chicago) are producing this world-premiere, five-character play by Mark Victor Olsen, which examines Wallace's relationship with his second wife, Cornelia, and the violent act that nearly ended his life. Wallace, a fiery opponent of school integration in the early 1960s, later moderated his views after the assassination attempt left him wheelchair bound.
-- By Sean McGrath and Robert Viagas