It's doubtful that Catholic Worker activist Dorothy Day and Andy Warhol Factory habitue Candy Darling met in real life. But they will in the afterlife in David Johnston's new play, Candy & Dorothy. The show will premiere Jan. 6 at Theatre Three, open Jan. 9 and run through Jan. 28. Kevin Newbury directs. Broadway veteran Sloane Shelton will star along with Vince Gatton, Nell Gwynn, Amir Arison and Brian Fuqua.
In the play, Candy is Dorothy's unexpected "caseworker" in the afterlife. They fight over fashion and theology, while trying to help a distraught living Lower East Side librarian, who doesn't understand why her two guardian angels are taking on such odd forms.
Dorothy Day was born in Brooklyn and spent her early years living in a wild, bohemian fashion, haunting the famous Hell Hole drinking den, marrying and divorcing, having a child out of wedlock and writing both journalism and novels. After converting to Catholicism, she founded The Catholic Worker newspaper in 1933. The paper espoused pacifism and advanced social thought, and influenced many readers and publications of the day. The same year, she opened a soup kitchen. By 1938, several such kitchens were feeding hundreds of people. She died in 1980.
Transvestite and performer Candy Darling was one of Warhol's "superstars," perhaps the most famous to bear that manufactured label. Like Day, he was from Brooklyn. Born James Slattery, Candy began appearing in drag at an early age, adopting several names before settling on Candy Darling. He met Warhol in 1967 and soon started appearing in his experimental films. Other films and plays followed, but major stardom proved elusive. Darling died of leukemia on March 21, 1974, at the age of 29. She was memorialized in Lou Reed's songs "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Candy Says" and was played by Stephen Dorff in the 1996 film "I Shot Andy Warhol."
I f I were Candy Darling, and someone asked me why I changed my name, I would say, "Slattery will get you nowhere."