“First Wives Club” Gets Staged Reading, One Step Closer To Broadway

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The long-plagued stage musical version of The First Wives Club inched one step closer to Broadway this week, as a benefit reading has been announced for Robert Harling’s screenplay from the 1996 FWC film.

Slated for October 13, the reading will feature Jessica Hecht as Annie (played by Diane Keaton in the film), Julie White as Elise (Goldie Hawn in the film) and Mary Testa as Brenda (Bette Midler in the film).

Related:  “First Wives Club” Musical Getting A Second Life

Based on the best-selling novel by Olivia Goldsmith, The First Wives Club, follows three college friends who reconnect years later and decide to take revenge on the philandering ex-husbands who have done them wrong.

A musical version of the story—with a book by Designing Women creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and music by Motown songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland—is slated to open at Chicago’s Oriental Theater next spring. The reading of Harling’s screenplay could very well be an attempt to garner backers for a Broadway run.

The reading was originally set for July 7—with Audra McDonald, Sherie Rene Scott and Lili Taylor attached—but was postponed because of scheduling conflicts. Proceeds will benefit The Actors Fund’s women’s health initiative.

(An earlier musical version of the story, with a book by Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood),  fizzled before hitting the Great White Way.)

The First Wives Club stage reading will be presented October 13 at at the Mainstage Theater in New York.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery