Courting Mae West

The play "COURTING MAE WEST: Sex, Censorship & Secrets" is based on true events during the 1920s when actress MAE WEST was arrested and jailed in New York City for trying to stage two gay plays on Broadway. Maybe she broke the law - - but the LAW couldn't break HER!

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Location: New York, New York, United States

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mae's Arrest: 2 February 1927

As a child, MAE WEST took the role of "little Mary" in the stage version of Ten Nights in a Bar-Room. That popular temperance melodrama focused on a family torn apart by demon alcohol. In real life, her father's bar-hopping had always concerned Mae. Unfortunately, by the time she was in her teens, Beverly (Mae's sister) had also turned to drink. One night, when the sisters were in Bridgeport, Connecticut, demon alcohol ignited another kind of domestic drama.
• • Saloon scholar Beverly attracted the press's attention at the premiere of Mae's play "The Drag" by cavorting up and down Poli's lobby in boozy abandon. After the show, when they returned to their rooms at the Arcade Hotel, Beverly and Edward Elsner continued celebrating.
• • At 5 o'clock in the morning on Tuesday February 1st, Mae West was arrested along with her sister and the director Edward Elsner. The charge was "disorderly conduct" and it was widely reported in many tabloids on February 2nd, 1927. What a nightmare.
• • This turmoil was the start of Mae's most notorious headlines in the newspapers.
• • Russian-born Sergei Treshatny, the husband of Beverly West, began divorce proceedings due to this arrest. How unseemly it was, felt the wronged spouse, that his 26-year-old wife was found drunk by the police in the hotel suite of a married man.
• • These real life events in Bridgeport, CT are dramatized In Act I, Scene 2 of the play "Courting Mae West."
• • Come up and see Mae onstage:

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• • Photo: Mae West in "Sex" • • 1926 • •

Mae West.

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