Former FACTS OF LIFE Star Lisa Whelchel Headlines BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE at Alhambra Theatre Beginning Feb. 18
From Muskeeers to Blair on “The Facts of Life” to “Survivor” to The Alhambra Theatre & Dining in Jacksonville, FL, it’s a new adventure for Lisa Whelchel and one that is sure to be a hit at the nation’s longest running professional dinner theater. In what might actually seem like a plot line from “The Facts of Life,” Whelchel will be appearing with her real-life daughter, Clancy Cauble. Opening February 18, Whelchel and Cauble will appear for a limited in run in the Tony® Award winning play, Butterflies are Free.
Lisa Whelchel was born in Littlefield, Texas. At age 13, her first professional acting experience was as a Mouseketeer for Walt Disney’s “The New Mickey Mouse Club.” Ms. Whelchel is perhaps best known for her starring role as Blair Warner on NBC’s “The Facts of Life” for nine years. Her first book, “Creative Correction” released October 2000 and has sold over 200,000 copies. She went on to write over a dozen more books including, “The Facts of Life and Other Lessons My Father Taught Me,” “The ADVENTure of Christmas,” “The Busy Mom’s Guide” Series, and her most recent, “Friendship For Grownups.”
Ms. Whelchel is also an international speaker and has toured with “Women of Faith,” “Extraordinary Women” and “Women of Joy.” Lisa participated in Season 25 of CBS’s “Survivor: Philippines.” She tied for second place and won the Sprint “Player of the Season” as awarded by the fans of the show.
She made her return to feature films in Tyler Perry’s ” A Madea Christmas.” and, on the smaller screen, in Hallmark Channel’s Original Movie, “For Better or For Worse.” She is slated to begin filming another original movie, “The Mommy Bloggers” for Hallmark Channel in 2015.
Loosely based on the life of attorney Harold Krents, the plot revolves around a Manhattan blind man whose controlling mother disapproves of his relationship with a free-spirited hippie. The title was inspired by a passage in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House: “I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies.”
After twelve previews, the Broadway production, directed by Milton Katselas, opened on October 21, 1969 at the Booth Theatre, where it ran for 1128 performances. The original cast consisted of Keir Dullea, Blythe Danner, Eileen Heckart, and Paul Michael Glaser. Replacements during the run included Gloria Swanson, Pamela Bellwood, andDavid Huffman. Stephen Schwartz composed the title song.
Butterflies are free was also critically acclaimed on Boraday, winning several awards including the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Danner, winner; Heckart, nominee), Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play (nominee), Theatre World Award (Dullea’s replacement Kipp Osborne, winner) and Clarence Derwent Award for female supporting performances.
Said Director Tod Booth, “This will be a completely updated version of the original screen play, so we are excited about creating something almost completely new.” He added, “Having Lisa and her daughter acting opposite each other will give us so much depth. This could be one of the best challenges and compelling shows in recent memory.”