Mae West “Dirty Blonde” Timeline

Mae West pictured

Before you Go:

The timeline below contains all of the plays and films referenced in the play DIRTY BLONDE.  If you want to familiarize yourself with the selected plays/films inserted in Claudia Shear’s script, click the link below to take a look at the performance events highlighted in the timeline.

Dirty Blonde and Mae West timeline created by Artistic Associate Tamera N. Izlar


Dirty Blonde will play in the Pyrle theater at Triad Stage January 25 – February 15, 2015.  Make sure to reserve your seats today!

Dirty Blonde

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Welcome to Triad Stage’s dramaturgical site for Claudia Shear’s Dirty Blonde.  This site has been created for actors and audience perusal and will be updated throughout the rehearsal process.  Please click the links below to learn more.

Check back frequently to learn more exciting facts about the production.  Performances are January 25 – February 15, 2015.  We look forward to seeing you at Triad Stage!


About the Composer

About the Playwright

Glossary

Glossary of People and Places

Mae West

Mae West “Dirty Blonde” Timeline

Purchase Tickets

By Production Dramaturge Tamera N. Izlar

Mae West

 Portrait of Mae West in Belle of Nineties directed by Leo McCarey, 1934.

Mae (Mary Jane) West was born on August 17, 1893.  Beginning as a vaudeville and burlesque performer, Mae West would later become an iconic playwright, director, singer, and a noted Broadway and film actress.
At the age of 17, Mae married fellow vaudeville performer Frank Szatkus (stage name  Frank Wallace).  However, their individual performance opportunities pulled them apart and their hasty marriage quickly deteriorated.  Although Mae vowed to keep the union a secret,  years later, she would be forced to confront society’s judgement, expectations, and disappointments.
Mae West showing off her wedding ring adjacent to husband Frank Wallace in 1911
Being exposed to dancing popularized by African Americans, Mae West introduced the “shimmy-shawobble,” a dance isolating movements to the torso, pelvis, shoulders, and breasts to her vaudeville routines.

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Bob Stillman

Writer, Musician, and Actor

Bob Stillman


Welcome to another “DIRTY BLONDE CONNECTION”

Bob Stillman composed the Music and Lyrics for Claudia Shear’s Dirty Blonde.  He also arranged the music.

Education: Bob studied piano and composition at the Julliard and Manhattan Schools beginning at age 9. He went on to graduate with honors in music from Princeton.

Tony Nominations:  He’s been nominated twice for Tony Awards—first as actor, composer and onstage pianist in “Dirty Blonde, (2000)” and later as one of the songwriters for “Urban Cowboy(2003).”

Drama Desk Award Nomination: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (2011)

CD: Checkout his 2003 debut CD “Come Down Angel

Click to view source site and to learn more

By Artistic Associate Tamera N. Izlar

Albatross

Dirty Blonde — Interesting vocabulary

Albatross: A large white ocean bird that has very long wings  Note: Mae West’s play entitled Sex was originally entitled The Albatross.  The title (The Albatross) is in reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem entitled The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Note: Director Edward Elsner was the only one of several experienced directors they approached who liked it (play entitled Sex).  As soon as he read it in her hotel room, he was enthusiastic.  He particularly liked the second act jazz band on stage, a feature all of the other directors had hated.  He told Mae that she had written a great play and she agreed.  Mae changed the title to Sex.  “I don’t think I had a winning title.  People were always asking me what an albatross was.  When I changed the title to Sex, nobody asked me what it was.  It was a simple title for a complex subject.  Many years later, Mae defined sex for film critic and friend Kevin Thomas as “emotion in motion” Source

http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/albie_tcm9-338112.jpg?width=1170&crop=(32,480,2164,1368)

Albatoss

Glossary of People and Places – Dirty Blonde

Glossary of Key Equipment Finance Terms

Welcome!  This site is a dramaturgy resource for Triad Stage’s production of Dirty Blonde and will provide an opportunity for greater discovery.

In Claudia Shear’s Dirty Blonde, the script takes the reader on a historic journey in which a plethora of people and locations are interwoven into the dialogue.  During rehearsals, the Triad Stage actors (Scott Ahearn, Ryan Dunkin, and Catherine Lefrere) and director (Artistic Associate, Bryan Conger) will comb through the script and embark upon independent and collective research.  Similarly, the production dramaturge (Artistic Associate, Tamera Izlar) will research the world of the play and will create/update the online companion site.  Scroll down to view pertinent people and/or places explored in the script.

Note: Names of people and locations are listed in alphabetical order.

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Cypress Hills Mausoleum – Dirty Blonde

A place of reverence many travel from near and far to visit, Cypress Hills Cemetery was founded on November 21, 1848 and officially opened in 1851.

In the play Dirty Blonde, Jo visits the Cypress Hills Mausoleum in Brooklyn, New York to view Mae West’s grave site.  Click to view a video in which you can view her engraved tomb.

In addition to Mae West, other notable figures were laid to rest in the Cypress Hills Mausoleum.   Equal rights figures noted for their work and contributions to the progress of African-Americans such as Elizabeth Jennings Graham (1830-1901), Thomas Downing (1791-1866), Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938), James McCune Smith (1813-1865), and Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) are also buried at the Cypress Hills Mausoleum.

Medal of Honor veterans, Police officers, and fellow artists are buried in the Cypress Hill Mausoleum.

Click to learn more about the other notable figures laid to rest at the Cypress Hill Mausoleum.

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About the Playwright – Dirty Blonde

Learn more about the playwright behind Triad Stage’s upcoming production of Dirty Blonde directed by Bryan Conger, an Artistic Associate at Triad Stage.

Claudia Shear – playwright/ actress
Photo Credit: Broadway.com

Born in Brooklyn in 1962, Claudia Shear (an American actress and playwright) gained notoriety with her 1994 autobiographical play entitled Blown Sideways Through Life.   In 2000, she followed-up with the critically acclaimed Dirty Blonde.

A member of the Sundance Screenwriters Lap and the Dramatists Guild, she continues to work with and support the New York Theatre Workshop.


Did you know?

Claudia Shear starred in Broadway performances of Dirty Blonde (April 2000 – March 2001) and Smell of the Kill (March 2002 – April 2002)?
She also starred in her 2010 play entitled Restoration at the New York Theatre Workshop.

Continue reading →

Vaudeville – Dirty Blonde –

Vaudeville 

Vaudeville is a term you will hear referenced in Triad Stage’s spring production of Dirty Blonde.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, in the United States the term connotes a light entertainment popular from the mid-1890s until the early 1930s that consisted of 10 to 15 individual unrelated acts, featuring magicians, acrobats, comedians, trained animals, jugglers, singers, and dancers.  It is the counterpart of the music hall and variety in England.


Did you know?

The term vaudeville, adopted in the United States from the Parisian boulevard theatre, is probably a corruption of vaux-de-vire, satirical songs in couplets, sung to popular airs in the 15th century in the Val-de-Vire (Vau-de-Vire), Normandy, France.

It passed into theatrical usage in the early 18th century to describe a device employed by professional actors to circumvent the dramatic monopoly held by the Comédie-Française. Forbidden to perform legitimate drama, they presented their plays in pantomime, interpreting the action with lyrics and choruses set to popular tunes. It eventually developed into a form of light musical drama, with spoken dialogue interspersed with songs, that was popular throughout Europe.


 

 “Vaudeville.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vaudeville>.
“vaudeville”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 24 Dec. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/624129/vaudeville>.