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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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meet Champagne Til

Since it's Mother's Day, it's apt to mention that MAE WEST really adored her German-born mother Matilda [Dilker] West, whom Mae's father had nicknamed "Champagne Til."
• • Here they are in April 1927, as Mae leaves the women's workhouse, the female prison on Welfare Island.
• • Champagne Til makes her appearance in the serious-minded comedy "Courting Mae West" — — based on true events during the Prohibition Era when Mae West was arrested and jailed — — and this exciting full-length play opens at the Algonquin Theatre (123 East 24th Street, NYC) on Saturday 19 July 2008. Louis Lopardi will direct the seven-person cast.
• • Dedicating her autobiography, "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It," Mae West wrote: "In loving memory of my mother, without whom I might have been somebody else."
• • Emily Wortis Leider writes: "Matilda [West] herself, a soft-spoken native of Bavaria whose stunning hourglass figure reminded people of the ripe and rounded opulence of reigning New York beauty, actress Lillian Russell, had married after a brief stint modeling corsets — — a scant seven years after her arrival in America. She had once harbored hopes for a stage career of her own, but her respectable merchant family, kin to proprietors of a New York brewery renowned for its lager, forbade it. They probably had also discouraged her forays into the corset-modeling profession, which she glamorized with a French word, modiste. ..."
• • Leider's book "Becoming Mae West" is a well-researched and engrossing biography.
• • In January 1930, Mae purchased a marble mausoleum for her beloved late mother in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.
• • In 1980, Mae was interred there with the members of the West family.
• • "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" — — based on true events when Mae West was tried at the Jefferson Market Police Court on Sixth Avenue — — will be onstage at the Algonquin Theatre [123 East 24th Street, New York, NY 10010] July 19th 22nd, 2008.
• • Get ready to come up and see Mae onstage in mid-July 2008.

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• • Photo: Mae West
• • 1927 • •

Mae West.

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