ORLANDO — Her story became the subject of a best selling book and then 1981 movie, “Mommie Dearest,” and now it’s being told in a new documentary about her life as the adopted daughter of legendary movie star Joan Crawford.
Christina Crawford, who has become a prominent child abuse advocate and author, will be in Orlando on Thursday, Aug. 30 when she’ll speak at the Footlight Theatre at the Parliament House Resort.
Michael Wanzie, the artistic director at the resort and producer of its Wanzie Presents theatrical productions, said “Ms. Crawford will greet the Footlight Theatre audience with a live on-stage introduction to her new documentary, ‘Surviving Mommie Dearest – From Tears to Triumph.’ ”
The film will be shown there, and then “At the conclusion of the film, Ms. Crawford will engage the audience in conversation, welcoming any and all questions from those in attendance,” Wanzie noted.
Christina was one of four children adopted by Joan Crawford, winner of the Academy Award in 1945 for her role in the classic drama “Mildred Pierce.” Christina has written that her adopted mother had violent mood swings.
After Joan Crawford died in 1977, Christina wrote “Mommie Dearest,” describing what she says is the abuse that she and her brother Christopher were subjected to.
In 1981, a movie version starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford and Diana Scarwid as Christina as a teen and adult was released, and Christina has also published other books — including “Survivor” — and has served as a member of Los Angeles’ Inter-Agency Council on Abuse and Neglect Associates. She’s also campaigned extensively for the reform of child abuse laws.
In 2011, she became the first president of her newly formed Benewah Human Rights Coalition.
Wanzie noted that “Surving Mommie Dearest” is “still in production as of this writing. Based upon the one-woman multimedia play written by and starring Christina Crawford, the documentary’s final footage will be filmed before an audience at the Club Shadows Theatre — located inside The Metro Complex — in Jacksonville earlier in the month of August.”
The newly printed documentary, he added, “and Christina Crawford herself will be whisked to Orlando’s Footlight Theatre for Wanzie Presents ‘A Conversation With Christina Crawford’ and the world premiere of her film.”
The documentary is based on three of the author’s best-selling books — “Mommie Dearest,” “Survivor,” and “No Safe Place” — and will feature never-seen-before home movies, historical archival photos, pictures from private collections, film clips and video interviews of both Joan and Christina Crawford.
It covers nearly 100 years of entertainment and show business history, Wanzie noted.
“Ms. Crawford feels that a documentary is perfect at this time, as the 35th anniversary of her best-selling book, ‘Mommie Dearest,’ is fast approaching,” he said.
A Limited Edition Box Set is expected to be released in the near future, which will include a DVD of the documentary, a musical CD from the play and documentary, and an autographed copy of “Mommie Dearest.”
The documentary is being co-produced by Christina Crawford and Jacksonville businessman and co-owner of the Metro Night Club, Jerry Rosenberg.
“I’m excited to introduce this very talented author, actress and advocate to theatergoers for our Florida premiere in Orlando on August 30 at the Parliament House,” Rosenberg said.
Tickets for the screening at the Parliament House are $25 and go on sale on Thursday, July 26. For an additional $15, a very limited number of guests can purchase tickets to a pre-show reception that will feature complimentary appetizers and a champagne toast, and a brief “semi-private” meet and greet with Christina Crawford just prior to the performance.
It strats at 7:30 p.m. at the Footlight Theatre at 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail in downtown Orlando. Tickets will be $30 at the door, if any are still available.
To learn more or purchase tickets, log on to www.WanziePresents.com.
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