How many actresses would do a great job to portraying MAE WEST? When director Louis Lopardi placed the official casting call for the play "Courting Mae West" in Actors' Access, within 48 hours 690 responses had flooded his mailbox.
• • Since "Courting Mae West" — — a serious-minded comedy based on true events during the Prohibition Era — — has a cast of seven, not every resume was intended for the "diamonds is my career" gal. Another actress will portray Beverly West and Texas Guinan, for instance.
• • But the largest number of replies, according to Mr. Lopardi, was for the role of Starr Faithfull [called Sara Starr in the play]. He received 270 headshots and cvs from actresses eager to play the fatal flapper. Starr's role calls for a very thin, stylish woman in her mid-twenties. As written, Sara Starr is a complex creature with a generous store of nervous discontent, harsh in her judgments of others, and quick to see individuals as defective because they are not enough like her. When John O'Hara wrote about the beautiful party girl, who met death at age 25, he renamed her Gloria Wandrous and made her the centerpiece of Butterfield 8.
• • As Mr. Lopardi heads for this week's round of auditions on Thursday and Saturday [May 22nd, May 24th, 2008] at The Producers Club in Manhattan, what will he look for in the next Mae West? "Her vitality was legendary," said the director. "And I look for magnetism and a stage presence. I'm hoping to find an actress who is extraordinary."
• • On 19th July 2008, "Courting Mae West" opens in Manhattan.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1926 • •