Mae West Goes Way West: Shear Opens in San Fran Dirty Blonde, April 18

News   Mae West Goes Way West: Shear Opens in San Fran Dirty Blonde, April 18 Playwright and original "Mae West" Claudia Shear will venture west to San Francisco and open in a Theatre in the Square production of Dirty Blonde this April.

Playwright and original "Mae West" Claudia Shear will venture west to San Francisco and open in a Theatre in the Square production of Dirty Blonde this April.

Details of the production are still being worked out by producers at this writing.

Theatre in the Square's Hillary Reinis confirmed that the press opening for the Claudia Shear run is scheduled for April 18. Preview dates and the length of the engagement are not finalized.

Meanwhile, on Broadway, Dirty Blonde will close at the Helen Hayes Theatre on March 4. The show has been advertising "last weeks" for some time now. After a run Off-Broadway, the comedy started previews on April 14, 2000 and opened two weeks later on May 1. The show's run included 20 previews and 352 performances

As reported, Dirty Blonde was originally staged at the New York Theatre Workshop. In all, Dirty Blonde garnered five Tony nominations: Best Play, Best Director, Best Performance by a Leading Actress and two for Best Performance by a Featured Actor. It won no awards. The one-man Hershey Felder show, Gershwin Alone, is expected to inhabit the Helen Hayes next.

Producers and staff met Feb. 20 in New York City to determine the future of the play. News of the San Francisco run resulted from that meeting . Plans had been considered for either a London run with playwright and original star Shear, or certain interim touring options. The latter idea was floated after London venues were deemed unavailable.

Further details on the San Francisco run shortly .

*

Kevin Chamberlin, the original co-star of Dirty Blonde, gave his final performance in his Tony nominated role on July 5, 2000 at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Chamberlin went on to join the cast of The Seussical, which opened on Broadway Nov. 30. Replacing Chamberlin in Dirty Blonde was Tom Riis Farrell, who assumed the role on July 6 last year.

Kathy Najimy assumed the dual role of Mae West and a Mae West fan on Jan. 9.

Claudia Shear (playwright and star) and James Lapine (director) co conceived the show and shepherded its move to Broadway. The play marked Shear's return to NYTW, where she triumphed in 1993 with her one woman "tour de résumé" Blown Sideways, a 64-job search for employment. That piece earned her an Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination.

Dirty Blonde involves two single New Yorkers who meet at Mae West's grave site and goes on to trace the couple's changing relationship while simultaneously tracking West's career.

Broadway tickets for Dirty Blonde are $65. The Helen Hayes Theatre is located at 240 W. 44 St. For tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250.