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Act A Lady

Act A Lady
by Michael Friedman, Jordan Harrison

Productions (29)
  • Comedy
  • 90 - 100 minutes
  • 3 f, 3 m
  • Set: A red velvet curtain and footlights.
  • Standard Edition ISBN: 978-1-62384-059-4

Act A Lady
by Michael Friedman, Jordan Harrison

(0)
Productions (29)
  • Comedy
  • 90 - 100 minutes
  • 3 f, 3 m
  • Set: A red velvet curtain and footlights.

When the men of a small Prohibition-era town decide to put on a play dressed in "fancy-type, women-type clothes," the whole community is affected: gender lines blur, eyebrows raise, identities explode, and life and art are forever entangled. A thoughtful and exuberant Midwestern fable about the woman in every man, the man in every woman and the power of theatre to uncover both. Accompanied by accordion. Read More

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Pricing Information

Min. Performance Fee* $100
Standard Edition $9.99
Stage Manager Edition $18.99

*The per performance fee begins at $100. Your per performance fee will be provided during the ordering process.

Play Details

When the men of a small Prohibition-era town decide to put on a play dressed in "fancy-type, women-type clothes," the whole community is affected: gender lines blur, eyebrows raise, identities explode, and life and art are forever entangled. A thoughtful and exuberant Midwestern fable about the woman in every man, the man in every woman and the power of theatre to uncover both. Accompanied by accordion.

(This play is also available in the collection Humana Festival 2006: The Complete Plays.)

Music composed by Michael Friedman is available for this play; contact Playscripts for details.

  • Comedy
  • 90 - 100 minutes
  • 3 f, 3 m
  • Set: A red velvet curtain and footlights.
  • Standard Edition ISBN: 978-1-62384-059-4

Published Reviews

"The [2006 Humana] Festival's most uproarious comedy, a farce of outlandish proportions, takes on and celebrates the art of theater itself...Part Waiting for Guffman and part Dangerous Liaisons, Act a Lady's dizzying gender-bending explores the theater, the fallibility of stereotypes and the joys of accordion music with a deft wisdom..."

Tony Brown, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"In Act a Lady...the transforming power of the creative imagination is both a source of camp pleasures and a fount of social commentary...Harrison sweetly revels in anachronistic imaginings. He is no kid simple, but is possessed with a kaleidoscopic turn of mind and a clever sense of how costumes and makeup take on amusing lives of their own."

Randy Gener, American Theatre

"Harrison creates a delicious world of ordinary men who dress up as glamorous women for a charity show. His warm, imaginative comedy addresses enduring questions: Who are we really? Can art help us to appreciate our hidden prospects?"

Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri)

"Although it's a farce, with all the silliness and hyper-drama that implies, Harrison's two-act play has a sophisticated structure and is wittier and more complex than one might expect from a 28-year-old playwright. With "Act a Lady," Harrison ambitiously juxtaposes two kinds of language: the plain-spoken, everyday talk of Midwesterners in the early 20th century; and the exaggerated wordiness of an 18th-century French melodrama... Marvelously constructed."

Judith Egerton, Louisville Courier-Journal (Kentucky)

"'Act a Lady' turned out to be the most smoothly entertaining of the bunch, a good-natured comedy set in 1927 about the men in a small Midwestern town doing drag for a local play. The script shows an appealing imaginative streak."

Gordon Cox, Variety

"For me, the best play of the festival was Jordan Harrison's Act a Lady, a delightful and silly exploration of gender roles that's set in a play within a play in the Midwest of 1927. Harrison's deliciously funny script unveils each of their personalities and motives as each man comes face-to-face with his male persona (which the three actresses portray) while in drag."

David Hurst, NEXT Magazine

Production History

Sort by Most Recent
Production Group
Location
DEC 01, 2017 - DEC 09, 2017
Theater Department, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
New York, NY United States
Theater Department, Brooklyn College, City University of New York New York, NY United States
MAY 13, 2017 - MAY 21, 2017
Staged Right Theatre Company
Lawrenceville, GA United States
Staged Right Theatre Company Lawrenceville, GA United States
MAR 11, 2016 - MAR 13, 2016
Sayre School
Lexington, KY United States
Sayre School Lexington, KY United States
NOV 06, 2013 - NOV 10, 2013
Shippensburg University Theatre
Shippensburg, PA United States
Shippensburg University Theatre Shippensburg, PA United States
JUL 12, 2013 - AUG 04, 2013
The Hub Theatre
Fairfax, VA United States
The Hub Theatre Fairfax, VA United States
MAY 25, 2013 - JUN 08, 2013
Iron Crow Theatre
Baltimore, MD United States
Iron Crow Theatre Baltimore, MD United States
JAN 16, 2013 - JAN 27, 2013
La Mama
Carlton, VIC Australia
La Mama Carlton, VIC Australia
NOV 03, 2011 - NOV 20, 2011
Azuka Theatre
Philadelphia, PA United States
Azuka Theatre Philadelphia, PA United States
JUN 20, 2011 - JUN 20, 2011
Off The Shelf Reading Series
Denver, CO United States
Off The Shelf Reading Series Denver, CO United States
MAY 12, 2011 - MAY 13, 2011
Riverfield Country Day School
Tulsa, OK United States
Riverfield Country Day School Tulsa, OK United States
JUL 08, 2010 - AUG 08, 2010
Nebraska Repertory Theatre
Lincoln, NE United States
Nebraska Repertory Theatre Lincoln, NE United States
APR 16, 2010 - MAY 01, 2010
Theatre On Fire
Charlestown, MA United States
Theatre On Fire Charlestown, MA United States
JAN 16, 2010 - JAN 16, 2010
Linesville High School
Linesville, PA United States
Linesville High School Linesville, PA United States
MAR 20, 2009 - APR 26, 2009
New Conservatory Theatre Center
San Francisco, CA United States
New Conservatory Theatre Center San Francisco, CA United States
FEB 09, 2009 - FEB 09, 2009
Theater Schmeater
Seattle, WA United States
Theater Schmeater Seattle, WA United States
JAN 16, 2009 - FEB 14, 2009
Theater Schmeater
Seattle, WA United States
Theater Schmeater Seattle, WA United States
DEC 21, 2008 - DEC 21, 2008
Manbites Dog Theater
Durham, NC United States
Manbites Dog Theater Durham, NC United States
DEC 04, 2008 - DEC 20, 2008
Manbites Dog Theater
Durham, NC United States
Manbites Dog Theater Durham, NC United States
JUL 28, 2008 - JUL 31, 2008
Oakton Community College
Des Plaines, IL United States
Oakton Community College Des Plaines, IL United States
DEC 14, 2007 - DEC 16, 2007
Palm Canyon Theatre
Palm Springs, CA United States
Palm Canyon Theatre Palm Springs, CA United States
SEP 21, 2007 - OCT 20, 2007
Convergence-continuum
Cleveland, OH United States
Convergence-continuum Cleveland, OH United States
MAR 23, 2007 - APR 29, 2007
Sacred Fools Theater Co.
Los Angeles, CA United States
Sacred Fools Theater Co. Los Angeles, CA United States
FEB 23, 2007 - MAR 17, 2007
Illusion Theater
Minneapolis, MN United States
Illusion Theater Minneapolis, MN United States
JAN 28, 2007 - MAR 11, 2007
Portland Center Stage
Portland, OR United States
Portland Center Stage Portland, OR United States
MAR 07, 2006 - APR 02, 2006
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Louisville, KY United States
Actors Theatre of Louisville Louisville, KY United States
JAN 10, 2006 - JAN 10, 2006
Playwrights Horizons
New York, NY United States
Playwrights Horizons New York, NY United States
JUL 30, 2005 - JUL 30, 2005
PlayPenn Conference
Philadelphia, PA United States
PlayPenn Conference Philadelphia, PA United States
JUL 17, 2005 - JUL 17, 2005
JAW/West Festival, Portland Center Stage
Portland, OR United States
JAW/West Festival, Portland Center Stage Portland, OR United States
JUL 07, 2005 - JUL 10, 2005
Illusion Theatre
Minneapolis, MN United States
Illusion Theatre Minneapolis, MN United States
Sort by Most Recent
Production Group
Location
DEC 01, 2017 - DEC 09, 2017
Theater Department, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
New York, NY United States
Theater Department, Brooklyn College, City University of New York New York, NY United States
Sort by Most Recent
Production Group
Location
JUL 12, 2013 - AUG 04, 2013
The Hub Theatre
Fairfax, VA United States
The Hub Theatre Fairfax, VA United States
MAY 25, 2013 - JUN 08, 2013
Iron Crow Theatre
Baltimore, MD United States
Iron Crow Theatre Baltimore, MD United States
NOV 03, 2011 - NOV 20, 2011
Azuka Theatre
Philadelphia, PA United States
Azuka Theatre Philadelphia, PA United States
JUL 08, 2010 - AUG 08, 2010
Nebraska Repertory Theatre
Lincoln, NE United States
Nebraska Repertory Theatre Lincoln, NE United States
APR 16, 2010 - MAY 01, 2010
Theatre On Fire
Charlestown, MA United States
Theatre On Fire Charlestown, MA United States
MAR 20, 2009 - APR 26, 2009
New Conservatory Theatre Center
San Francisco, CA United States
New Conservatory Theatre Center San Francisco, CA United States
DEC 21, 2008 - DEC 21, 2008
Manbites Dog Theater
Durham, NC United States
Manbites Dog Theater Durham, NC United States
DEC 04, 2008 - DEC 20, 2008
Manbites Dog Theater
Durham, NC United States
Manbites Dog Theater Durham, NC United States
FEB 23, 2007 - MAR 17, 2007
Illusion Theater
Minneapolis, MN United States
Illusion Theater Minneapolis, MN United States
MAR 07, 2006 - APR 02, 2006
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Louisville, KY United States
Actors Theatre of Louisville Louisville, KY United States
JUL 07, 2005 - JUL 10, 2005
Illusion Theatre
Minneapolis, MN United States
Illusion Theatre Minneapolis, MN United States

Awards (3)

Kesselring Prize Nominee

Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Award, Second Prize

Weissberger Award Finalist