Broadway Dresses Up…

CASA VALENTINA

We saw a play Tuesday night that incites dialogue. That is what an inspiring, well written and acted Broadway play should do. Casa Valentina dresses up the cast and then strips them bare.

Casa Valentina was inspired by events that took place at the Chevalier d’Eon Resort in the Catskill Mountains in 1962. The men portrayed in the play are not drag queens or female impersonators. Their intense need to dress and identify as females is the driving force

The Catskills, the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy, was home to an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a specific clientele of heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women.

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It was paradise for these professionals with families to spend their weekends discreetly and safely inhabiting their chosen female alter egos. When they had the opportunity to share their secret lives with the world, these “self-made women” had to decide whether the freedom they would gain by emerging from hiding was worth the risk of personal ruin.

What ensues is a reflection on the prejudices and the personal conflicts that challenge these characters.

The cast of cross-dressers in Casa Valentina, l to r: Nick Westrate, Tom McGowan, Gabriel Ebert, Patrick Page, Reed Birney, John Cullum, Larry Pine  Photo/nytheater.me
The cast of cross-dressers in Casa Valentina, l to r: Nick Westrate, Tom McGowan, Gabriel Ebert, Patrick Page, Reed Birney, John Cullum, Larry Pine Photo/nytheater.me

The cast, consisting of many accomplished Broadway actors (John Cullum, Patrick Page, Mare Winningham, Reed Birney, Gabriel Ebert) is impressive and their portrayal of cross dressers, sincere and believable.

Patrick Page, Mare Winningham  Photo: nytimes.com
Patrick Page, Mare Winningham Photo/nytimes.com

Mare Winningham hits just the right notes as the wife of resort owner, George, as well as a patient and compassionate partner to his alter ego, Valentina.

Casa Valentina is the world premiere play by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, who has won 4 Tony’s in 4 categories. He is the author of the Broadway smash musical, Kinky Boots, as well as Newsies, Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage aux Folles. The play is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello.

Casa Valentina has been honored with four Tony Award nominations for Best Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Best Featured Actress in a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play.

If you are interested in a compelling story that will keep you talking after the curtain goes down, then see Casa Valentina at the Samuel Friedman Theater 261 West 47th Street. Tuesday at 7 pm, Wednesday at 2 and 7 pm, Thursday-Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8pm, Sunday at 2 pm.

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Breaking News… TKTS, located in the center of Times Square at 47th Street was packed on a Tuesday night. I enjoy Tuesday night performances because they commence at 7 pm instead of 8 pm and the lines are usually short, especially for the separate “Play” window. Tuesday night it was packed and a good seat was difficult to secure. which tends to be the norm once summer arrives.

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Beautiful, the Carole King hit musical…read my review at: http://ifthedevilhadmenopause.com/feeling-beautiful/ is now off the TKTS boards so you can only purchase at full price.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring the multi-talented, Neil Patrick Harris, is sold out through June with tickets on sale only through August, although, if NPH is willing, it will be extended.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder…read my review at: http://ifthedevilhadmenopause.com/murder-can-entertaining/, After Midnight, Bryan Cranston in, All The Way, Tyne Daly ‘s, Mothers And Sons, Sutton Foster starring in Violet, Pippin, Once, Rocky are all at TKTS at 50% off. The Bridges of Madison County is closing this month even after good reviews.

If you are in New York, you MUST see a Broadway show.

nph

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