By Kay Kipling Photography by Howard Petrella June 1, 2011

Behind the Legend

Two things actress Sunny Thompson (onstage in Marilyn: Forever Blonde! at the Asolo Rep June 18-July 10) wants you to know about screen legend Marilyn Monroe: She was “a strong woman, not a victim,” and she was “tremendously witty and funny.” Thompson, who’s played Marilyn to acclaim for four years now, says she did tons of research (she owns more than 300 books on Monroe) before the show, which is told in Marilyn’s own words and features 17 songs and some film/video elements. (She also spends more than two hours in the make-up chair.) When she first starred as Marilyn (in Hollywood, of all places), people who knew the real woman told her, “You’ve got her.” Now we do, too.

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