Skinner, Nees, Shiffman Will Conjure West and Her Fans in VA Dirty Blonde

News   Skinner, Nees, Shiffman Will Conjure West and Her Fans in VA Dirty Blonde
Tony Award nominee and Signature Theatre favorite Emily Skinner will play the dual roles of Mae West and Jo, the star's greatest fan, in Signature's new production of Claudia Shear's play with music, Dirty Blonde, Aug. 11-Oct. 4.
Emily Skinner
Emily Skinner

Skinner (Broadway's Dinner at Eight, Side Show, The Full Monty, Signature's Ace and Witches of Eastwick) will co-star with three-time Helen Hayes Award nominee Hugh Nees, who plays Jo's friend Charlie and characters ranging from W.C. Fields to West's trial judge. Three-time Helen Hayes winner J. Fred Shiffman takes on seven roles including Frank Wallace, Mae's abandoned husband and director Edward Elsner, and plays the piano as well. Dirty Blonde plays the Ark Theatre in Signature's Arlington, VA, home. This launches the troupe's 20th season. Signature Theatre is the recipient of the 2009 Regional Theater Tony Award.

Nominated for five Tony Awards in 2000, Dirty Blonde will be directed by Signature artistic associate Jeremy Skidmore.

The biographical comedy reveals the spirit behind Mae West's sexy celluloid façade and examines why individuals like Jo are so mesmerized by the provocative sex goddess, according to Signature notes.

Skinner said in a statement, "Mae West always played the woman who men desired, had the last word, and who won. What actress wouldn't be drawn to a play an icon with such wit, humor, and utter confidence?"

Playwright Claudia Shear writes this in her script: "She was my teenage fantasy, my mother's revenge. She had my favorite quality, attitude."

Set design is by Dan Conway, costume design by Helen Huang, lighting design by Dan Covey, and sound design by Matt Rowe.

Opening night is Aug. 18. For tickets call Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT (7328) or visit


Signature's 20th anniversary season continues with Show Boat, I Am My Own Wife, Sweeney Todd, [title of show], the world premiere of Sycamore Trees, and the world premiere run of "First You Dream" The Kander & Ebb Concert.

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