Playbill On-Line has learned that director Christopher Ashley may be directing the Mark Victor Olsen play, Cornelia. Originally reported as a Jerry Zaks show, Ashley is now said to be slated to direct Cornelia, according to sources close to the production.
Ashley's early assignments included Buzzsaw Berkeley and Bella, Belle of Byelorussia, while more recent gigs have been the cartoony biography of Gilda Radner, Bunny Bunny, and the cartoon-based Encores! revival of Li'l Abner His breakthrough was Jeffrey by playwright Paul Rudnick.
A production spokesperson confirms that actress Elizabeth Ashley has been mentioned for the role of Ruby, Cornelia Wallace's mother in Cornelia. Ashley received a 1962 Tony Award for her performance with Art Carney in Take Her, She's Mine. Her other Broadway credits include The Highest Tree, Barefoot in the Park, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Agnes of God.
Olsen's play is based on George Wallace's relationship with his second wife during his unsuccessful presidential bid.
George Wallace passed away in 1998. One of America's most colorful, if infamous governors, he is remembered for instigating the historic confrontation over school desegregation in which the National Guard was called in by the White House to keep the doors of the University of Alabama open for black students. Wallace was shot in an assassination attempt during the early '70s while running for president, and was bound to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. Producers Barry and Fran Weissler were not available for comment at press time.