Reading of the salacious-campy classic ‘Women Behind Bars’ at RTP aims to benefit RVA actors
Leave your puritanical, politically correct attitudes at the door.
On Sunday September 6 at 8:00 p.m., Richmond Triangle Players will host a staged reading of the “wildly funny, campy and irreverent” spoof Women Behind Bars to benefit the Richmond Theater Artists’ Fund.
Directed by Michael Hawke and featuring 11 of Richmond’s leading actors/directors, Women Behind Bars was written by playwright Tom Eyen and originally starred Divine off Broadway (seen below).
Hawke has been pestering RTP to produce the show for many years. Phil Crosby, RTP’s Managing Director “finally gave in” and gave Hawke the opportunity to direct this one-evening-only staged reading.
To say Hawke is a fan of the show is an understatement. When close friend George Patterson co-starred in the show’s follow up – The Neon Woman – Hawke became “the show’s biggest groupie.” Divine would say “Here he is againnnnnn…….”
Women Behind Bars is described by Wikipedia as a “black comedy” and “camp spoof of exploitation films” being produced by some of the big studios in the 1950s.
From RTP’s website, “Mary Eleanor, an innocent duped into crime, lands in the Greenwich Village Woman’s House of Detention, presided over by a massive matron with a taste for sadism and female flesh as our heroine, now Caged in the Big House, learns about life The Hard Way.”
Hawke has another connection to playwright Eyen as well. Eyen cast Hawke in a small role in the Showtime movie “The Dirtiest Show in Town” based on Eyen’s script for an off-Broadway show.
Eyen wrote for Bette Midler, Dreamgirls, Mary Hartman Mary Hartman and more.
Hawke loves the idea of a staged reading of this irreverent show. A staged reading can work “in a number of ways,” says Hawke. “Our version will be somewhat ‘bootleggy’ as some performers will only be able to attend one of the three rehearsals. It will be staged, choreographed, controlled chaos. It is virtually impossible to see this amount of talent in a staged reading up until now.”
As director, Hawke will cast, block and stage, provide simple notes, coordinate multimedia, and lights. Much of the “grunt work and video” would be “impossible” without stage manager, Lucian Restivo.
The Richmond Theater Artists’ Fund was created to assist members of the theatre community in times of extreme need. Whether from illness (life threatening or otherwise), injury, or other extenuating circumstances or life-altering situations, members of the theatre community may apply for financial aid, and others may also apply on someone’s behalf.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Fund, should contact The Community Foundation at tcfrichmond.org. Anyone wishing to apply for assistance (or apply on someone’s behalf), can do so at the Richmond Theatre Alliance website at www.rvatheatrealliance.org/
All proceeds will benefit the Actors Fund of Richmond
Top image from Women in Prison by Joan Henry
Julie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is working on her first novel - Two Tickets to Freedom - a semi-autobiographical queer coming-of-age tale. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
“I think drag gave me permission… to find my voice. It was a very healing experience.”March 28, 2017
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