They Make Sure It's Ladies' Day for 'League"
Ellie Weingardt teaches etiquette to a Women's baseball team In "A League of Their Own." Call them the Priss Patrol. When it comes to heinous rules and outdated regulations, two Chicago actresses are in a league of their own. Ellie Weingardt plays the charm school teacher, and Pauline Brailsford is the chaperone of a '40s women's baseball team in the film "A League of Their Own" (now at local theaters). "Sip your tea, don't slurp," Weingardt said in a high-pitched trill, demonstrating her character. "Walk gracefully and grandly. I say, 'Ladies. Legs together. Always.' I looked right at Madonna when I delivered that line."
"No drinking, no smoking, no men in your bedroom," Brailsford said in an English accent Well, some ladies in her group did prefer to be wild women. "Madonna's character poisons my food, so I'm really sick," said Brailsford, laughing. "Then all the women sneak out of the hotel room." Both actresses played actual historical figures. In real life, the women baseball players - mostly farm girls - were put through rigorous charm lessons conducted by cosmetics guru Helena Rubenstein. Adding to their woe was a 24-hour chaperone. "On the set, we read the real rules far the league," says EIlie Weingardt. "I was shocked." No wonder. The women were not allowed to drive outside town limits. Spitting and swearing were forbidden. Male dates had to be approved. And, "ladies did not sweat, they glowed," Weingardt added. "I reminded the girls to fan themselves between innings." Weingardt got her role by dressing the part of a matronly teacher. "I walked into the audition with my hair rolled and even did Joan Crawford eyebrows," said Weingardt, who has appeared in "Shear Madness" and scads of commercials. Brailsford, the former artistic director of Body Politic Theatre, also dressed the part by pulling her hair back severely. Filming took place in Wrigley Field and in Evansville, Indiana. "Tom Hanks would entertain the crowd by singing old sitcom themes," Brailsford said. "Madonna and I got our hair done together," Weingardt said. "We flipped through fashion magazines, just chatting away."