According to production spokesperson, Pete Sanders, Cornelia, the Broadway-bound drama about Alabama Gov. George Wallace's run for the presidency - is still on-track for Broadway. Sanders told PBOL (March 16) that producers are interested, and it will be on Broadway in the fall.
Sanders also confirmed that veteran actress Elizabeth Ashley will be involved as Ruby (Cornelia Wallace's mother). One of Broadway's most versatile directors, Jerry Zaks would helm the show.
The rationale behind not bringing the show to Broadway this season has been that producers: Fran and Barry Weissler have been busy focusing on two other projects: the Broadway mounting of Annie Get Your Gun and the Off-Broadway transfer of This Is Our Youth.
Ashley received a 1962 Tony Award for her performance with Art Carney in Take Her, She's Mine. Other Broadway credits include: The Highest Tree, Barefoot in the Park, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Agnes of God.
Zaks' resume includes the Nathan Lane revivals of Guys and Dolls and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, the long-running Smokey Joe's Cafe revue, plus the drama Six Degrees of Separation and the recent Off- Broadway The Cripple of Inishmaan. George Wallace passed away in 1998, and was known as one of America's most colorful governors, infamous for blocking the doors of the University of Alabama when "coloreds" were entering. He was shot in an assassination attempt during the early 70's while he was running for president.
The Weisslers (Grease!, Chicago) are producing this world-premiere, five-character play by Mark Victor Olsen, which examines Wallace's relationship with his second wife, Cornelia, and the violent act that nearly ended his life. Wallace, a fiery opponent of school integration in the early 1960s, later moderated his views after the assassination attempt left him wheelchair bound.
Olson does have a show currently playing in New York, however. His one act, Paint It Black, is part of a double-bill at Off-Off-Broadway's Raw Space. The show, about a fourth-grader visiting his Swedish grandmother, has been extended to April 4, alongside J.S. Staniloff's Lavinia Speaks.
-- By Sean McGrath and David Lefkowitz