Kathleen Turner to Return to B'Way

Legendary actress Kathleen Turner will soon return to Broadway in “High,” a new drama about faith and addiction that begins previews at the end of the month. Niteside caught up with her Monday night and asked how the rehearsal process was going.

“I’m thrilled — I’m actually thrilled,” she said. “The rehearsals are incredible and intense, and they have me high as a kite every day.”

Turner was at Espace to host The Women’s Project’s 2011 Women of Achievement Gala, which honored actress Bebe Neuwirth, philanthropist Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, and HSN Chief Executive Mindy Grossman.

The Women’s Project is an award-winning theater company that produces and promotes theater created by women. It was founded in 1978 to address the lack of professional opportunities for female directors and playwrights, who receive fewer than 20 percent of professional production opportunities available nationwide.

“I’ve always supported The Women’s Project in many ways because I quite agree that we’re very, very underrepresented in terms of female writers and directors,” said Turner, who is a past recipient of a Women of Achievement Award.

“And being a director myself, I’ve appreciated the support that they’ve offered women. To have a venue that specifically targets developing women’s work is very much needed.”

Naturally, the event drew a large number of female supporters — and the cocktail reception that preceded the awards ceremony was rather loud as a result. Turner couldn’t resist commenting on the decibel level of the room.

“The thing I always forget about other women is the pitch of their voices,” the famously husky-voiced actress said.

“It throws me back to college, when I had to live in a women’s dorm for six months. I got a note from my psychiatrist excusing me,” she added with a smile.

Niteside also asked Turner about her speech at a recent rally in support of Planned Parenthood, which drew thousands of supporters to lower Manhattan. The Republican-led House of Representatives voted to cut funding to the women’s health organization in February, and the rally was one of many that have taken place in protest across the country since then.

Turner has worked with Planned Parenthood for many years and currently serves as President of its Board of Advocates.

“What very often happens at these sorts of rallies is that the same facts are repeated,” she said. “I hear from involved, caring people, who continually say ‘Oh no, Planned Parenthood won’t be defunded, the Republicans wouldn’t do that, that can’t happen.’ So what I wanted to do in my speech was to tell these people, ‘Yes they can, and it’s happening.’”

“We can’t let good people walk around and say that it can’t happen. Their denial is helping the opposition — their denial, and also their disbelief. I want people to start believing.”

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