Originally directed on Broadway by Tony Taccone
Princes Leia reveals palace secrets
When life hands her lemons, Carrie Fisher knows just how to make lemonade – and you can imbibe the resulting, very tasty concoction in Wishful Drinking, her one-woman dramatic, autobiographical expose. Fisher’s particular lemons include alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, bipolar mental illness, and the traumas resulting from a growing up with royal celebrity parents: Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.
For those in the audience too young to remember the scandal when America‘s sweethearts split and Eddie dumped Debbie for the far more glamorous Elizabeth Taylor, Fisher compares the triangle to contemporary stars Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. In fact, one of the highlights of the show is when Fisher stands before a large bulletin board filled with photos —a rather bizarre chart of genealogy — and traces the many marriages, remarriages, random couplings, and offspring generated by her parents and “step mom.”
As she explores her past, she notes that what happened may not have been funny at the time, but in retrospect, she has been able to plumb the humorous depths to come to terms with herself.
Her very first tale – about awakening one morning to find the house guest who was sleeping beside her had died during the night – transcends what must have been the horror of the experience. As she says, it is not only that he died during his own sleep, he also died during hers. Upon completing the story, Fisher begins the first of her many interchanges with the audience, turning up the house lights to see if they have any questions. Of course, they do, and she fields them with great aplomb and unfailing good humor and wit.
Against a backdrop that moves from strident headlines about her past, through all the Princess Leia depictions, to photos of her passages through the various stages of her life – Fisher is forever engaging.
She displays all the Princess Leia paraphernalia resulting from her role as in Star Wars — – not merely dolls that range from minuscule to life-size but a shampoo bottle, a soap bar and even a PEZ dispenser. She mocks the braided earmuff hairstyle created for the film and quotes George Lucas who asked her to remove her bra for the role because, “There is no underwear in outer space!”
She seems to tell it ALL – or nearly all — and delves into her own marriages and divorces: briefly to songwriter Paul Simon and then to agent Bryan Lourd – who turned out to be homosexual.
Wishful Drinking opened in Los Angeles in 2006 and has been highly successful throughout the U.S., winning the 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award The book version, based on the play, was on the New York Times bestseller list for 14 weeks.
Unfortunately, it will only be in Chicago for two weeks. For those who want to know what really goes on in the celebrity homes of the rich and famous, who enjoyed Mommy Dearest, by Christina Crawford (Joan Crawford’s daughter), and are now rushing out for the October release of Whateverland: Learning to Live Here, by Alexis Stewart (Martha Stewart’s daughter) – don’t miss this chance to hear Carrie Fisher’s story FIRST HAND!
Beverly Friend, Ph.D.
Broadway in Chicago, Bank of America Theater, 18 W. Monroe St., 800-775-2000, www.broadwayinChicago.com Tickets $25-65. Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 7:30 pm through Oct. 16. Run time one hour and 45 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.