Kathleen Turner, currently stripped bare in London's The Graduate, will reveal boozy actress Tallulah Bankhead's secrets at Boston's Colonial Theatre in the fall, in the one-woman biographical play, Tallulah.
The Oct. 10-22 engagement is billed as pre-Broadway.
In 1999, Variety reported that sultry Turner, widely known as a film actress, would star in a fall 1999 national tour of Tallulah, by Sandra Ryan Heyward, before landing on Broadway in spring 2000. Apparently, that plan has been delayed by a year due to Turner's other gigs including her current gasp-inducing role as Mrs. Robinson (naked in the seduction scene) in The Graduate on the London stage.
Tallulah takes place as Bankhead is preparing to host a fundraiser for incumbent president Harry S. Truman. As she fusses and frets over every detail of the party, Tallulah sips champagne and divulges secrets and passions in her life.
It was not immediately clear who the producers of the upcoming out of town and Broadway stand would be, but Pace Theatrical Group and James L. Nederlander Prods., in association with Duncan Weldon and Tony Fantozzi, were the previously attached as producers. The previously-reported plan was to tour the play for five months beginning in October 1999 before a spring Broadway 2000 opening at a Nederlander house. *
Tallulah, with Turner, premiered in July 1997 at the Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex, England. Turner also played Tallulah at Florida's Coconut Grove Playhouse in January 1999.
Television sitcom director ("The Drew Carey Show," "Everybody Loves Raymond") Michael Lessac was previously mentioned as the Broadway director.
Bankhead is perhaps best known for her Broadway stints in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, and Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth (and was notoriously heckled as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire). Bankhead also starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 1944 film, "Lifeboat." The Southern-born gimlet-eyed actress lived a high life and was considered something of a survivor despite her frayed edges.
The actress Tovah Feldshuh has been developing a one-woman Tallulah-based concert piece (originally called Southern Comfort) for many months. It has a world-premiere sitdown (under the new title, Tallulah Tonight!) March 31-May 7 at TheaterWorks in Hartford, CT.
Turner made her Broadway debut as a replacement in the long running Albert Innaurato comedy, Gemini . Since then, she's been nominated for a Tony for her portrayal of "Maggie the Cat" in the 1990 revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and appeared in the 1995 production of Jean Cocteau's Indiscretions.
With her trademark husky voice, Turner came to Hollywood attention in the 1981 film "Body Heat," leading to sexy siren roles in films like "V.I. Warshawski," "The Man With Two Brains," and "Prizzi's Honor." Other roles include "Serial Mom," "Romancing the Stone," "The War of the Roses," "Crimes of Passion" and the recent "Baby Geniuses." Turner received an Oscar nomination for her lead role in the Francis Ford Coppola 1986 film, "Peggy Sue Got Married."
The March 29 announcement of Tallulah in Boston was one of several pre-Broadway announcements for the Wilbur and Colonial theatres in 2000-2001. Look for Seussical the Musical and The Visit at the Colonial and Little Women, the Musical, at the Wilbur.
-- By Kenneth Jones
and Sean McGrath