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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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Much Ado about McAdoo

As the cast of the play "COURTING MAE WEST" prepares for an exciting Staged Reading of a new version, let's revisit the events of 9 February 1927, which are featured in ACT I.
• • With New York Mayor Jimmy Walker briefly out of town on a vacation, Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph B. McKee ordered the police to raid "The Captive," "Sex," and "Virgin Man." The intention was to get Mae West and make a public statement about "dirt plays."
• • The case entered into the court system as The People Vs. William Morganstern, Mae West, et al., # 168495, City Magistrate's Court, 10th District, 2/15/1927.
• • In ACT I, Scene 4, Mae West has dealings with Chief City Magistrate William McAdoo.
• • The prison matron tells Mae: "Save your spit for the court, girl! And don't keep Chief City Magistrate McAdoo waiting!"
• • William McAdoo, as with most references in "COURTING MAE WEST," was a real person. During February 1927, he would have been 73 years old.
• • Irish native William McAdoo [25 October 1853 7 June 1930] was a Democratic Party politician who represented New Jersey's 7th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1883 1891, and served as New York City Police Commissioner in 1904 and 1905.
• • William McAdoo was born in Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland on 25 October 1853.
• • He immigrated to the USA with his parents, who settled in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1865, where he attended the common schools. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1874 and began his law practice in Jersey City. He was employed as a newspaper reporter from 1870-1875. He was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly in 1882.
• • After leaving Congress, he moved to New York City in 1892 and resumed the practice of law. He was appointed by President Grover Cleveland as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and served from 20 March 1893 18 April 1897, when he resigned. He was appointed to serve as New York City Police Commissioner in 1904 and 1905. Later he resumed the practice of law and also engaged in literary pursuits.
• • William McAdoo was appointed by Mayor William Jay Gaynor as chief magistrate of the city magistrates' courts, first division, City of New York on 1 July 1910 — — in which capacity he served until his death in New York City on 7 June 1930.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • "COURTING MAE WEST" — — a Staged Reading of a new version of this play
• • Address: 1501 Broadway [on Broadway at West 43rd Street], New York, NY
• • Room: The Dramatists Guild, the Frederick Loewe Room, Suite 701
• • When: Friday October 17th starting at 5:45 PM — — you must show photo ID to get into the building
• • We have been given a 90-minute time slot and the reading will END at 7:30 PM.
• • The reading is free and open to the public and there are about 50 seats for producers and members of the audience.
• • Portraying various people in Mae West's life, the excellent cast of seven features the scintillating Yvonne Sayers as Mae West and includes: Gloria M. Buccino, Mary Murphy, Neal Sims, Steven Viola (who performed these roles onstage July 19 22, 2008), and Duvall O'Steen and Christopher Yustin.
• • The building, built by Paramount Pictures, was a popular stopping place for Mae West when she was in New York City.

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• • Photo: Mae West
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Mae West.

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