By Murdoch McBride
04 Mar 2001
Dirty Blonde, the Tony-nominated Claudia Shear play which has lived at the Helen Hayes for nearly a year, closes on March 4. The show had been advertising "last weeks" for some time. Dirty Blonde played 20 previews and 352 performances on Broadway.
Dirty Blonde was originally staged Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop.
The hit comedy opened on May 1 last year, in time for Tony consideration. 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, will next inhabit the Helen Hayes.
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.
The show's future—possibly in London and possibly on tour—is still being determined, but playwright and original "Mae West" Claudia Shear is expected to venture west to San Francisco and open in a Theatre in the Square production of Dirty Blonde this April. Details of that production are still being worked out.
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.
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.