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BY AJ TRAGER
ROYAL OAK – Harvey Fierstein’s fiery Broadway play, “Casa Valentina,” will come to Detroit in May 2016.
Performed by 2nd Stage, Stagecrafters Contemporary Theatre in an intimate blackbox theater design, “Casa Valentina,” directed by longtime theater enthusiast and ACLU LGBT Special Projects Attorney Jay Kaplan and written by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, will follow the lives of nine individuals as they trade in their ties for tights and step out of the closet into corsets.
Casa Valentina is a get-away destination based on a 1960s resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York where married, white-collar men would spend time away from their everyday lives and do what makes them feel most comfortable: dressing up and acting as women.
“It’s funny with lots of drama,” Kaplan said. “Many of the cross-dressing men are heterosexual. It is interesting intersection in their lives.”
The play premiered on Broadway in 2014 and closed after 79 performances. Fierstein wrote the play after a book written by Michel Hurst and Robert Swope titled “Casa Susanna.” Hurst and Swope found a large number of albums of preserved snapshots taken of a group of cross-dressers during the 1950s-1960s.
“Casa Valentina” will be the third production in 2nd Stage Theatre’s show program. Kaplan will begin casting in March. He is excited to be putting on another show in black box theater style. Kaplan says that he loves the intimacy of the space and that it commands the audience to use more of their imagination when watching the show.
“I hope the audience gets a greater understanding about these men, what motivates them and a greater understanding about what gender means. We have a tendency to pigeon hole people, and when people don’t fit into those slots, that’s where we have prejudice and discrimination,” Kaplan said.