There is more to the owner of a fancy dress shop than meets the eye in the world premiere of The Glamour House, a play by Lydia Stryk opening Nov. 19 following previews that began Nov. 9 at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.
Set in 1947 in New York's Upper East Side, the play focuses on Trudi Stein, "the enigmatic, recently widowed owner of The Glamour House dress shop." She employs Esther Bayer, an eager-to-please young woman displaced from her native Germany, as her new salesgirl. "No one is more glamorous than Mrs. Stein — fine dresses, painted eyes, round lips, perfect hair," according to production notes. "But behind all of her style and flair, who is she? An insatiable hunger for glamour cloaks hidden emotional needs in The Glamour House, until they are stripped bare."
Victory Gardens' associate artistic director Sandy Shinner stages The Glamour House, Stryk's second Chicago production following Steppenwolf's debut of The House of Lily last spring. The Glamour House features Deanna Dunagan, Anne Fogarty, Cindy Gold, Marc Jablon and Carmen Roman.
Designers are Andre Pluess (sound), Tim Morrison (sets) and Judith Lundberg (costumes). Performances continue to Dec. 23.
* Playwright Stryk is a native of DeKalb, IL, and the author of nine plays, including The House of Lily and Monte Carlo. Stryk's other plays have been heard and seen in readings and festivals around the country, including most recently, Lady Lady at the ACT/Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival in Seattle.
Deanna Dunagan (Trudi Stein) appeared at Victory Gardens in Cahoots, Sidney Bechet Killed a Man and Old Times.
Anne Fogarty (Esther Bayer) is making her VG debut. Her Chicago credits include Metamorphoses, The Idiot and Romeo & Juliet at Lookingglass; Talking About Godard at Curious Theatre Branch; Hellcab for Famous Door; Oleanna at Chicago Dramatists; and The Tempest at Oak Park Shakespeare Festival.
Shinner has directed 38 plays in her 22 years at Victory Gardens, including Claudia Allen's Fossils, Cahoots and Winter, Jeffrey Sweet's Bluff and With and Without, Teresa Rebeck's View of the Dome, Joel Drake Johnson's Before My Eyes, Gloria Bond Clunie's North Star, Stuart Flack's Jonathan Wild and Sidney Bechet Killed a Man.
The Glamour House tickets are $20-$33. The 2001 Tony Award honored Victory Gardens Theater, devoted since 1974 almost exclusively to new works by its stable of in-house writers, is located in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. For tickets or information, call (773) 871-3000, or visit Victory Gardens online at www.victorygardens.org.
— By Kenneth Jones