"Valley of the Dolls" Sparkles for Actors Fund

PlayBlog   "Valley of the Dolls" Sparkles for Actors Fund
Charles Busch, Heidi Blickenstaff and Nancy Anderson climbed Mount Everest March 15 in the starry Actors Fund reading of the iconic 1967 camp film "Valley of the Dolls."

Seth Rudetsky introduced the event, which paid homage to the nuances of the original film performances and costumes, raising over $50,000 for the programs and services of The Actors Fund.

Busch starred as self-proclaimed showbiz barracuda Helen Lawson, with Blickenstaff as eager pill-popping singer Neely O'Hara and Anderson as the top-heavy blonde Jennifer North.

Julia Murney, clad in pink, performed the "Valley of the Dolls Theme" throughout the night. Busch channeled his best Judy Garland (who originally screen-tested for Helen Lawson, a role that would eventually go to Susan Hayward) in his live performance of "I'll Plant My Own Tree," and Blickenstaff had all of the original Patty Duke moves down for the number "It's Impossible" — beads included.

Other notable performances included a spot-on delivery from Tony nominee Martha Plimpton (as good-girl Anne Welles); a ferociously determined Tovah Feldshuh; and Daniel Reichard as a last-minute sub for Hunter Bell in a variety of male roles.

Musical director Steve Marzullo led a three-piece band, offering underscoring from the film.

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