Dirty Blonde

By Claudia Shear

Directed by Richard Corley

Dirty Blonde, a comedy with music, explores the phenomenon of Mae West, one of America's most enduring and controversial pop culture legends.

Dirty Blonde has been produced on and off-Broadway, in London, and regionally around the United States. Part comedy, part musical, part historical biography, and part vaudeville act, the play was nominated for the Tony and Drama Desk Awards, and received the Drama League Award for Best Play. The play tells the story of Jo and Charlie, two lonely Mae West fans who meet at her grave and form a unique relationship as they swap stories of their hero (and Jo assumes the role of West in song-filled flashbacks).

"Dirty Blonde is a wonderful show to finish up a fantastic season at Madison Repertory Theatre," states Madison Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Richard Corley. "Claudia Shear's play is a funny and remarkable mixture of nostalgia and realism, and we‚ve assembled a terrific cast to bring this remarkable woman, and the people she inspired, to life."

Produced by Madison Repertory Theatre at the UW Mitchell Theatre at 821 University Avenue

Performances: May 6-29, 2005

Students who present a valid Student ID may take 50% off the cost of a full-priced ticket (regular performances only). A limited number of $12 seats are available for every performance.  Be the first to see Dirty Blonde at a special Preview Performance and reception on Thursday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m., sponsored by Isthmus Newspaper. Learn more about Mae West and get a sneak peek at Madison Repertory Theatre's next season at the First Monday Forum on May 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mitchell Theatre. Join Madison Rep on Saturday, May 14 for LGBT Evening at Madison Repertory Theatre, featuring a reception at Opus Lounge beginning at 6 pm followed by two-for-one tickets to the Saturday 8 p.m. performance. Meet the cast at post-show Audience Talkbacks on Sunday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 18. An Artistic Presentation about the production begins 45 minutes prior to the 7:30 pm performance on May 26.

Tickets are on sale now at the Overture Center Box Office, 201 State Street, or by calling (608) 258-4141. Tickets will also be available at the Mitchell Theatre Box Office one hour before each performance. For information on special group rates, First Monday Forums, or LGBT Evenings call (608) 256-0029 x 23.  For more information about Dirty Blonde at the Mitchell Theatre, visit Madison Repertory Theatre's website, www.madisonrep.org.

Call 608-258-4141 for reservations or more information.

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About the Playwright

Claudia Shear is a multiple award-winning playwright whose plays have appeared on and off-Broadway, regionally, and in London. She first gained national recognition in 1993 with her one-woman tour de force, Blown Sideways through Life. Shear has written for television (Friends, Earthly Possessions) and film (Living Out Loud, It Could Happen to You), and also writes for The New York Times, New York magazine, Vogue and Travel & Leisure.

About the Cast

Madison Repertory Theatre's cast for Dirty Blonde includes Martie Sanders (Jo/Mae), Norm Boucher (Charlie) and Madison favorite Jack Forbes Wilson (Frank). Martie Sanders has performed regionally as Lina LaMont in Singin' in the Rain, Janis Joplin in Love Janis, Jenny Diver in Threepenny Opera, and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing. She is a writer and solo performer with The Sweat Girls. A graduate of Michigan State University, she performed on stage with Norm Boucher back in 1982. Boucher, who performed in Dirty Blonde at Mason St. Warehouse in Michigan, has appeared in West Side Story at the Marriott Lincolnshire, Caught in the Net at Drury Lane Evergreen Park, and in the Jeff Award-winning The Liquid Moon at Chicago Dramatists. Boucher appears in the CBS series Early Edition and two Super Bowl spots.  Jack Forbes Wilson, who co-authored and performed in Madison Repertory Theatre‚s season opener, Love is the Weirdest of All: The Music of Peter and Lou Berryman, has appeared in 11 Madison Repertory Theatre productions over the years. He worked at American Players Theatre for 3 years before moving to Milwaukee where he makes his living as a pianist, singer, and actor.

About the Production Crew

Tony Ferrieri (Set Design) recently impressed Madison Repertory Theatre audiences with his design for Mercy of a Storm in 2004. Ferrieri was recently presented the 2005 Robert M. Frankel Award as well as the 2004 Fred Kelly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre. In addition, Tony was recently featured in Theatre Directions magazine and named Set Designer of the Year for 2003 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Ben Marcum (Sound Design) is fresh from his fourth season at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he designed sound for Dracula, A Tuna Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and Uncle Sam‚s Satiric Spectacular, among others. Gail Brassard (Costume Design) recently joined the faculty in Theatre and Drama at UW-Madison, and returns to Madison Repertory Theatre after designing last year‚s Mercy of a Storm. She has designed for Broadway, off-Broadway, regionally and for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus 124th edition. John Frautschy (Lighting Design) has designed lights locally for Madison Opera, Kanopy Dance Co., University Theatre, and Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee. Frautschy is an associate designer with Hase & Associates, including work at Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Opera.