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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Monday, March 24, 2008

Mae West: A Sex Encounter

The audience had finished their last round of applause and MAE WEST was heading towards her dressing room when she spotted some young men — — but these were no star-struck stage-door johnnies. Instead this was a uniformed detail from New York City's vice squad taking stock of Daly's 63rd Street Theatre on 9 February 1927. The cast and crew of "Sex" were herded into Black Marias and hauled downtown to Jefferson Market Police Court on Sixth Avenue. Mae West, the last one escorted in the paddy wagon, was forced to stand all the way to West Tenth Street.
• • Two other plays would be raided the same evening.
• • Hours earlier, some police stenographers sat in the dark writing down all of the dialogue.
• • In this scene from "Sex: A Comedy Drama" [1926] prostitute Margy LaMont (who has been dating the well-heeled Jimmy Stanton) tells off society lady Clara Stanton. Listen to how angry the playwright (Mae West) is towards the hypocrites who comprise the tony upper-crust league in Connecticut.
CLARA: I'll not listen.
MARGY: Oh, yes you will. You've got the kind of stuff in you that makes women of my type. If our positions were changed
— — you in my place, and I in yours — — I'd be willing to bet that I'd make a better wife and mother than you are. Yeah, and I'll bet without this beautiful home, without money, and without any restrictions, you'd be worse than I have ever been.
CLARA: No, no
— —.
MARGY: Yes, you would. You'd do it and like it.
CLARA: For God's sake stop it, I can't endure any more
— —
MARGY: Now you're down off your pedestal. You're down where you can see — — it's just a matter of circumstances. The only difference between us is that you could afford to give it away.
• • Dialogue between Margy LaMont, a prostitute, and Clara Stanton, a wealthy woman, from Mae West's play Sex, a Comedy Drama, 1926. Published by Routledge, New York.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The serious-minded comedy "Courting Mae West" by Greenwich Village playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo, set during 1926 1932, explores Mae West's legal woes. Act I, Scenes 3 — 4 dramatize both the police raid on 9 February 1927 and the tense aftermath at Jefferson Market Police Court.
• • Using fictional elements, the text is anchored by true events and has several characters who are based on real people: actress Mae West; Beverly West; Jim Timony; Texas Guinan; Mr. Isidore, a news seller on Sixth Avenue and West 9th Street; and Sara Starr, based on the Greenwich Village flapper Starr Faithfull, whose death inspired John O'Hara's novel "Butterfield 8" and a dozen other books.
• • "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" will be onstage at the Algonquin Theatre [123 East 24th Street, New York, NY 10010] by July 19, 2008.
• • Get ready to come up and see Mae onstage in mid-July 2008.

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• • Photo: Mae West at 33 years old
• • February 1927 • •

Mae West.

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