It's Baby Day minus 17--and counting--for pregnant actress Dana Andersen. She's in a race with the stork.
Andersen is due to close her run in Gina Wendkos' "Ginger Ale Afternoon" at the Cast-at-the-Circle Theater in Hollywood on May 25, and she's due to become a mother on June 1.
In the meantime, Andersen, 23, is relishing her stage role--written especially for her--as a rural, young and likewise pregnant woman going through a tough emotional patch with an unemployed husband who adamantly professes not to want their baby.
And if there is any question regarding the authenticity of her condition, Andersen plays the entire show in a beach chair, clad only in a bikini. Pregnancy never looked so real.
"I feel so close to this role," she said in an interview this week. "Everything I deal with in this play is real. I look at my stomach and there's a baby there. Sometimes it kicks when I talk about it."
The only thing she and director-husband William Schreiner ("Just Like the Pom Pom Girls") worried about was the play's emotional effect on the baby.
"At one point (the husband character) used to scream to my stomach, 'I hate your baby.' We finally cut the line. That kind of thing can't be good to hear every night," she said.
Aside from the on-stage Angst , Andersen reports that the past nine months have been a breeze.
"This has been a real easy pregnancy," she said with a laugh. "No morning sickness at all. Except that when I was doing 'Boys and Girls/Men and Women' (last fall), I was really tired, really sleepy. Otherwise, I feel better than I ever did. I used to have headaches--I don't anymore."
Schreiner, she said, supports her every move: "He's been incredible. A lot of men wouldn't like their wives doing this. In this show, (her co-star) rubs lotion on my stomach. I don't know how I would have handled that but Bill's been great."
Lest you think this is a totally rosy picture, the actress does admit to a few pre-birth jitters.
"I'm scared, " she said candidly. "Really scared. But I am excited. I just hope everything goes all right."
Writer-director Wendkos (whose abortion-themed "Gang of Girls" opens May 24 at the Cast) already has a new post-birth play in mind for Andersen, which will include nursing her baby on stage.
But for the time being, said Wendkos, "I'd just love it if her water broke up there."