The Last Night of Ballyhoo is set in Atlanta of 1939, aflame with Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara, so it's apt that British-born Carole Shelley should find a place among the Dixie denizens of Alfred Uhry's Tony-winning play‹only Carole can't see it: "Everyone said, 'Oh, it's going to be so easy for you 'cause you're English.' Well, forget it! I find very little or no correlation between the English accent and the Southern accent. "Besides," she adds, striking her true red, white and blue, "I'm an American citizen. I was just born in Britain. I've lived here 33 years‹longer than I ever lived there."
Paired with Monica Evans, Shelley first alighted on Broadway as one of the giddy Pigeon sisters Oscar and Felix tried to ensnare in The Odd Couple. "Neil Simon just wrote a sequel to that," notes Shelley, "but he told me, 'Don't be upset‹there are no Pigeons in it.' "
Shelley settled in the U.S. and has worked constantly ever since, collecting in the process a Tony for The Elephant Man. Prior to Ballyhoo, she was aboard the Broadway Show Boat. "I only replace when I enjoy something and want to do it. How often will something like Show Boat come along? It's a piece of history, and I wanted to be a part of it."
Next may be a Full Gallop on the road. Moviegoers got a glimpse of her Diana Vreeland via the fashion diva she did in Disney's Jungle 2 Jungle. "Actually," she fine-tunes, "that was my Isaac Mizrahi. They gave me a copy of Unzipped, and we decided that's who I'd do."