Bruce Vilanch Added to Cast of Helen of Troy Musical Reading

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Barry S: So someone finally discovered Mister Vilanch had a Greek God inside him! 🙂 (Subbing for Don while he recuperates from surgery…he’ll be back sooner than you’d like, I’m sure.)
By Robert Simonson
June 9, 2005

Bruce Vilanch has been added to the cast of the June 13 concert reading of Helen of Troy, a new musical with a score by Brian Johnson of the Australian heavy metal band AC/DC.Vilanch, known as a Hollywood jokeman non pareil and as the current Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, will play Zeus, the king of the Greek gods.

He joins Eden Espinosa, Alice Ripley, Cary Shields, Brandi Chavonne Massey, Klea Blackhurst, Will Swenson and Shannon Connelly at the Canal Room event.

Johnson’s collaborators on the project include fellow musician, Brendan Healy, and the book writing team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, screenwriters of the film “The Commitments.” The score is described as a mix of rock and roll, R&B and pop.

As the title amply suggests, the show takes as its inspiration from the classical tale of Helen, for whom a thousand Greek ships sailed to war against Troy.

AC/DC is the long-standing rock outfit known for dressing in prep school outfits, cranking up the volume to “10,” and penning cheeky songs with titles like “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap),” “Highway to Hell,” and “Hell’s Bells.” The group hit a high point in the early ’80s with its million-selling album “Back in Black.”

His background notwithstanding, Johnson said in a statement, “I love musical theatre, especially the classic stuff, like Rodgers and Hammerstein.”

For tickets ($25) to the reading, call (212) 868-4444 or visit