Sometimes a man wants to dress like a woman. CASA VALENTINA, the play currently at the Pasadena Playhouse, talks about an inconspicuous bungalow colony nestled in the Catskills that allows men to do just that. CASA VALENTINA was written by Harvey Fierstein and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2014. At the Playhouse it is directed by Emmy Award winner David Lee (NBC’s Frazier).
Set in 1962, CASA VALENTINA is a haven that allows heterosexual men to gather where they can leave ties and suits behind and instead wear make-up and dresses. The resort is run by George, also known as Valentina, (Robert Mammana) and by his wife Rita (Valerie Mahaffey), a “GG” (genetic girl) that accepts and deals with the complications of her husband’s preferences. At CASA VALENTINA heterosexual men gather to display a feminine side, to be “girls,” as they call themselves, who support one another and who can discuss anything from fashion to political movements.
The play is witty. Albert’s banter (also Bessie, played by Raymond McAnally) is full of sharp Oscar Wilde quotes. But CASA VALENTINA has a serious goal. With it author Fierstein wants the viewer to know that in this big world of ours there are heterosexual men who find joy and authenticity when dressing as women, and they do it for a plethora of different reasons. Amazingly, our society knows little about them.
Between witty lines CASA VALENTINA opens a window into the world of transvestites that most of us know little about. With the exception of a Mexican food joke that is rather out of place within a world that asks for tolerance and acceptance, the play is enjoyable and eye opening. It will certainly be good to live in a world in which we no longer judge one another.
CASA VALENTINA performs at the Pasadena Playhouse until April 10, 2016. Visit http://www.pasadenaplayhouse.org for more information and tickets.
Photo: (L-R): Lawrence Pressman, Raymond McAnally, Mark Jude Sullivan, Christian Clemenson (standing), John Vickery and Robert Mammana (standing) in “Casa Valentina” at The Pasadena Playhouse. Photo by: Jim Cox Photography
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We hope you enjoyed reading Dena’s post about men dressing as women at the Pasadena Playhouse. We enjoy her reviews very much, and on more than a few occasions have changed plans to attend one of the events she’s discovered.
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