David Drake on the “evolution” of Tawny Heatherton

Brandon Voss at Gay.net has a fun Q&A with the brilliant David Drake, whose fab theatrical creation “Tawny Heatherton” is appearing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC until January 26th.

Here’s just a “touch of Tawny” for you:

Tawny has a very colorful and detailed backstory. How did you fill in those gaps?
Oddly enough, Tawny’s evolution was a kind of act of grief transference: Farrah Fawcett’s death was the underlying motivation for Tawny’s personality. She was the magic angel. And she died that summer when Tawny was born. As soon as I had the blonde hair falling in my face, I could just feel all that carefree Farrah-like energy bubbling up, and I just went with it.

Joey came into the picture because I’ve always been fascinated by forgotten blonde starlets. I’m a Marilyn hag, so anything that echoed off that image — Jayne Mansfield, Carole Wayne, the Landers sisters — grabbed my interest. Tawny became my way of creating one of those Hollywood girls — the ones we loved, then forgot — and figuring out the “Whatever happened to…?” story. Being Joey’s niece, of course Tawny went into the family business: showbiz! And like Joey, Tawny has been on the tail end of all of it.

You’ve previously explored Tawny in My Tawny Valentine and A Very Tawny Christmas. What are some new stories and songs she’s sharing in Tawny, Tell Me True?
The new show is about Tawny’s becoming keen to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Along the way, she ponders whether her whole crazy, zig-zag journey has added anything to “the greater good” of mankind. This includes Tawny’s abduction by aliens… her sleepwalking jaunts on her bike… and a chicken who she believes has been following her since her brief stint as a “Honey” on the final season of Hee Haw.

There’s lots of talking with the audience in this show as well, which I love. And a very funny onstage relationship with her musical director, Lance Cruce.

Plus we’ve got some great new songs — classics by The Carpenters, Talking Heads, Eurythmics, B-52s, the Disney ballad “Somewhere Out There,” and a jaunty old country song that’s actually the flip-side to Jeanne C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.”

Head over to Gay.net for more “Tawny.”

Tawny, Tell Me True runs through Jan. 26 at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre.