Kathleen Turner, currently stripped bare in London's The Graduate, will reveal boozy actress Tallulah Bankhead's secrets on a pre-Broadway national tour of Tallulah, a one-woman bio-play, beginning Oct. 3-8 in Minneapolis.
Playbill On-Line previously reported only the Boston Colonial Theatre date of Oct. 10-22, but the entire 11-city tour schedule has now been released. The one-woman biographical play, by Sandra Ryan Heyward, had a previous staging in Miami at the Coconut Grove Playhouse and premiered in England earlier. Michael Lessac, whose directing credits include TV's "The Drew Carey Show" and "Everybody Loves Raymond, will helm the new staging.
In 1999, Variety reported that sultry Turner, widely known as a film actress, would star in a fall 1999 national tour of Tallulah, 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.
The tour and subsequent Broadway engagement are produced by SFX Theatrical Group and James L. Nederlander. The tour also include visits to Pittsburgh (Oct. 24-Nov. 5), Baltimore (Nov. 7-12), Chicago (Nov. 14-26), Philadelphia (Nov. 28-Dec. 3), Palm Beach, Fl (Dec. 5-17), Dallas (Jan. 9 14, 2001), San Francisco (Jan. 16-Feb. 11, 2001), Detroit (Feb. 13-March 4, 2001) and Columbus, OH (March 6-11, 2001).
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.
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 takes place at a USO benefit where she is asked to "vamp for five" while another performer prepares to go on. Feldshuh also reveals secrets, and sings with an accompanist. The show's world-premiere sitdown (under the new title, Tallulah Tonight!) continues through 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." She's currently featured in "The Virgin Suicides."
-- By Kenneth Jones