Vilanch, Espinosa and Ripley Troy on a New Musical in June 13 Reading

News   Vilanch, Espinosa and Ripley Troy on a New Musical in June 13 Reading
Bruce Vilanch—known as a Hollywood jokeman non pareil and as the current Edna Turnblad in Hairspray—will play Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, in a June 13 concert reading of Helen of Troy, a new musical with a score by Brian Johnson of the Australian heavy metal band AC/DC.
Bruce Vilanch
Bruce Vilanch

He joins Eden Espinosa, who plays Helen, Alice Ripley, who is the goddess Athena, and Cary Shields, Brandi Chavonne Massey, Klea Blackhurst, Will Swenson and Shannon Connelly at the Canal Room event. Johnson's collaborators on the project include fellow musician, Brendan Healy, and the book writing team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, screenwriters of the film "The Commitments." The score is described as a mix of rock and roll, R&B and pop.

As the title amply suggests, the show takes as its inspiration from the classical tale of Helen, for whom a thousand Greek ships sailed to war against Troy.

AC/DC is the long-standing rock outfit known for dressing in prep school outfits, cranking up the volume to "10," and penning cheeky songs with titles like "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)," "Highway to Hell," and "Hell's Bells." The group hit a high point in the early '80s with its million-selling album "Back in Black."

His background notwithstanding, Johnson said in a statement, "I love musical theatre, especially the classic stuff, like Rodgers and Hammerstein."

For tickets ($25) to the reading, call (212) 868-4444 or visit

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