Dietrich & Chevalier: Falling in Love Again

PlayBlog   Dietrich & Chevalier: Falling in Love Again
 
Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier had adjacent dressing rooms on the Paramount backlot in 1932, and thereby hangs a tale— “their untold love story,” asserts the ads for Dietrich & Chevalier: The Musical, which opened June 20 at St. Luke’s Theatre (308 W. 46th). Jodi Stevens and Robert Cuccioli have the title roles, and Donald Corren rounds out the cast, playing “eight fascinating characters.”


The musical portion of the program consists of a re-spin of 15 of the duo’s signature songs, sandwiched in with a book by Jerry Mayer, who wanted to set the record straight about Chevalier’s lingering rep as a Nazi collaborator. (Aware his wife was Jewish, the Nazis asked him to perform in Berlin. He refused but did perform for French POWs in a German camp where he was interned in World War I.) The dramatic intervention of “Captain” Dietrich at his 1945 treason trial saved his life.

Mayer’s story ends there, but both their lives continued to intertwine into their old age in Paris. “When he came to do ‘Gigi,’ she was working on her Vegas act, and he helped her with it,” Mayer said. And it was at this time that the two sentimentally journeyed to the Hollywood home that was the scene of their initial liaisons.

“She was, sexually, a gymnast. She was in love with Jean Gabin. She was in love with Yul Brynner. She slept with Adlai Stevenson. And during World War II she did sleep with guys going off to battle who could get killed the next day.”

— Harry Haun

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