Wishful Drinking Still Hopes to Make a Splash on Broadway

News   Wishful Drinking Still Hopes to Make a Splash on Broadway Actress-writer Carrie Fisher has indicated on her website that Broadway is still a goal for Wishful Drinking, the one-woman show that she created and has been performing in regional theatres for more than a year.

Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking.
Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking. Photo by Kevin Berne

There are "negotiations" for a future Broadway life, according to carriefisher.com. Producer Jonathan Reinis said a year ago that he was aiming the darkly comic memoir by Fisher ("Star Wars," "Postcards From the Edge") toward a Broadway bow of March 2009; that did not materialize but there is a goal for beyond the spring (the 2008-09 Broadway season ends April 30) at an intimate Broadway house. Wishful Drinking has had popular bookings at not-for-profits around the country, including, among others, San Jose Rep, Hartford Stage, Geffen Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theater (where Wishful Drinking director Tony Taccone is artistic director), Arena Stage and Seattle Rep, where it will run April 2-May 3.

At Seattle Rep, there is this disclaimer: "Recommended for ages 17 and above for adult situations, substance abuse, bad hair."

Since the launch of this theatre project, a memoir of the same name by Fisher was released in bookstores.

"Carrie is currently in negotiations to present her one woman show Wishful Drinking on the grand stage of Broadway," according to her website.

In the solo show, "Carrie Fisher is the life of the party in Wishful Drinking. Onstage, she recounts a true and intoxicating story with the same strong, wry wit that she poured into bestsellers like 'Postcards from the Edge.' Born to celebrity parents, Fisher lands among the stars when she's picked to play a princess in a little movie called 'Star Wars.' But it isn't all sweetness and light sabers. As a single mom, she also battles addiction, depression, mental institutions, and that awful hyperspace hairdo. It's an incredible tale — from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to wedding (and shedding) Paul Simon, from having the father of her baby leave her for a man to waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed. Don't miss this outrageous chance to get Carried away." Wishful Drinking is produced by Jonathan Reinis Productions in association with Berkeley Rep. Reinis produced the Tony Award-winning Dame Edna: The Royal Tour (2000) and Def Poetry Jam (2003).

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The darkly comic and sardonic piece has serious crossover appeal: It plays to the addiction/recovery community, women, movie buffs and anyone who likes to view celebrity with a jaundiced eye.

Billed as a comic and sobering look at Fisher's incident-crowded life, Wishful Drinking, directed by Bridge & Tunnel's Taccone, took in $1.3 million in nine-and-a- half weeks at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Audiences ate up Fisher's self-deprecating script and delivery, which is includes some audience participation. (It was even more raucous when mom Debbie Reynolds came to see it — more than once — in Berkeley.)

"I was essentially raised in my mother's nightclub act, so it's very natural for me to do what most people find unnatural — get on stage and tell stories," Fisher said in production notes. "I always say, 'If my life weren't funny, it would just be true — and that's unacceptable.' So please come to see my show, otherwise I'll end up talking about myself alone in the dark. Again!"

Taccone said in an earlier statement, "Carrie is an incisive writer, and she has a razor sharp wit. Having lived in the public eye for so long — and having survived so many unusual experiences — she's developed a unique capacity to make sense out of life's challenges through storytelling. With this show, she combines these talents with an ability to be completely authentic and truthful onstage."

Fisher made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit "Shampoo." The daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, she became a cultural icon when she played Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Her films include "The Blues Brothers," "The Burbs," "Garbo Talks," "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," "The Man with One Red Shoe," "This is My Life," "When Harry Met Sally," "Austin Powers," "Scream 3," "Charlie's Angels" and "Wonderland." Her coming films are "White Lightnin'," "Fanboys" and the remake of "The Women." In 1987 Fisher's book, "Postcards from the Edge," was a New York Times bestseller and earned her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. Three more bestsellers followed: "Delusions of Grandma," "Surrender the Pink" and "The Best Awful." Fisher turned "Postcards" into a screenplay for the hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep, and is currently adapting "The Best Awful" for HBO with producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks.

As an actress, she made appearances on TV's "30 Rock" and "Weeds."

Her experiences with addiction and bipolar disorder — and her willingness to speak honestly about them – have made her a sought-after speaker and respected advocate for these communities.

Producer Reinis' recent productions include Jerry Springer: The Opera at Carnegie Hall (2008), How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical (2006-7), Kiki and Herb: Alive On Broadway (Tony Nomination 2006), Dame Edna (Tony Award, 2000), Russell Simmons's Def Poetry Jam (Tony Award, 2003), Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home (Tony nomination, 2003) and It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues (Tony nomination, 1999).

Alexander V. Nichols created scenic design, lighting design and projections for Wishful Drinking. Christina Wright is the costume designer.

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