By Brandon Voss
Originally published on Advocate.com April 01 2014 5:00 AM ET
More than 30 years after writing the Tony Award-winning book for La Cage aux Folles, Harvey Fierstein revisits drag in Casa Valentina, his Broadway play about straight men who congregate in the Catskills to dress and act like women.
"Back in 1962, most men went to the Catskill Mountains to escape the summer heat, but others took the two-hour drive to escape something else entirely: being men," read press notes about the new work, which is inspired by actual events.
"Nestled in the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy sat an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a very special clientele: heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women. It was paradise for these men — white-collar professionals with families — to spend their weekends discreetly and safely inhabiting their chosen female alter egos. But when they got the opportunity to share their secret lives with the world, these 'self-made women' had to decide whether the freedom they would gain by emerging from hiding was worth the risk of personal ruin."
Casa Valentina is Fierstein's first play on Broadway since Safe Sex in 1987. Widely celebrated for his landmark gay drama Torch Song Trilogy, the four-time Tony winner most recently wrote the books for the hit Broadway musicals Newsies and Kinky Boots.
Directed by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Wicked), the world premiere of Casa Valentina begins preview performances tonight and opens April 23 for a limited engagement at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
For tickets and more information, visit the play's website.
Watch a behind-the-scenes look at the new production below.