"Valley of Dolls" Susann Gets Stage TreatmentDate: 13 August 2001
The swinging life story of best-selling 1960s novelist Jacqueline Susann (pictured) is coming to London following an Edinburgh Fringe run. In a solo play entitled See How Beautiful I Am, the glamorous writer will be brought to life by actress Deborah Weston. The production, written by Paul Minx, runs at the Bush Theatre from 5 September 2001.
Susann had already tried her hand at being an actress, model, playwright and singer by the time her second novel Valley of the Dolls made her famous. She went on to become the first writer to have three consecutive titles reach the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Valley of the Dolls, one of the biggest selling novels of all time, epitomised the populist style that would later prove a hit for the likes of Jackie Collins.
However, her writing failed to impress the critics although she became a popular guest on the American chat-show circuit. "I don't think any novelist should be concerned with literature," she once said, "literature should be left to essayists." Success brought the celebrity lifestyle she had always craved, although she died of cancer in 1974 after finishing her last novel, Once Is Not Enough.
Deborah Weston, who plays Susann, has appeared in West End productions of The Seven Year Itch and Popcorn. Her film credits include Loch Ness and Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence. Paul Minx is also the author of such plays as Home Remedies, A Worm In the Heart and Walking On Water. See How Beautiful I Am, which opens the lid on Jacqueline Susann's glitzy traumas, is directed by Sarah Esdaile. It plays at the Edinburgh Pleasance Dome until 16 August.
- by Gareth Thompson