• • No cameras were rolling in an Astor Place audition room in lower Manhattan when a New York City director was conducting a talent search [in 2005] for the starring role of Mae in the play “Courting Mae West” — — but the dare-to-bare urge was in the air. The casting crew and the stage manager were astonished to see how many aspiring actresses interpreted the director’s suggestion to “have fun with Mae’s bawdy dialogue and be bold” as a green light to go blue.
• • Actor Richard Kent-Green, while playing a waiter in the opening scene, found himself adrift in fishnet hosiery and female garments as an Australian actress tossed her black apparel around. Ever the improv expert, Kent-Green anchored these cast-aways on a folding chair and stayed in character. Is Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction becoming a trend? Kent-Green admitted to a roving reporter that he had seen, in one night, more curves than a coastal highway.
• • Comedienne Louise [“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”] Lasser said it’s unfortunate when an actress puts her faith in the casting couch instead of her talent. Being bold during an audition, observed Lasser, used to mean you showed some sass. Mae West may have had the two biggest props in Hollywood but she’s remembered because her wit titillated not her . . . well, you know.
• • Get ready to come up and see Mae onstage during July 2008.
Courting Mae West
• • Photo: Courting Mae West • • Maebill • •