April 20, 2016

I am My Own Wife

Pulitzer Prize winning drama performed at the DANK Haus

On April 26, 2016 the Chicago Inclusion Project, together with About Face Theatre presents a staged reading of the Pulitzer Prize winning drama “I Am My Own Wife” at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Lincoln Square.

Originally conceived as a one-man play, "I am My Own Wife" explores the astonishing true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a transvestite and celebrated antiques dealer from Germany who successfully navigated the two most oppressive regimes of the past century - the Nazis and the Communists. While openly gay and defiantly in drag, von Mahlsdorf managed to hide from the Nazis in plain sight as a woman. Living in East Berlin throughout her life, she was both hailed as a cultural hero and accused of colluding with the Communist secret police. In an attempt to discern the truth about Charlotte, author Doug Wright has written "at once a vivid portrait of Germany in the second half of the twentieth century, a morally complex tale about what it can take to be a survivor, and an intriguing meditation on everything from the obsession with collecting to the passage of time" (Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times).

Based on his conversations with von Mahlsdorf, Wright developed his play with Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project. It premiered in 2003 and won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The reading is free and open to the general public. There will be a post-read discussion, moderated by a member of The Chicago Inclusion Project. 

Cast of I am My Own Wife reading: Mari Marroquin, Delia Kropp, Linsey Falls, John Taflan


Date:       Tuesday, April 26, 2016 7:00 pm (6:30 reception)

Location: DANK Haus German American Cultural Center

              4740 North Western Avenue

              Chicago, IL 60625

              6th Floor Skyline Lounge

The reading is free and open to the general public. There will be a post-read discussion, moderated by a member of The Chicago Inclusion Project.

Reserve tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2536577 or by phone at (773) 561-9181.

About Face Theatre

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.

Our vision is to be Chicago’s celebrated center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally (LGBTQA) arts and amplify the nation’s leading voices to spark social change. Enabled by broad community support, the organization thrives as an inclusive home where diverse artists, youth, audiences and community partners come together for artistic exchange and cultural dialogue.

The DANK Haus German American Cultural Center

The DANK Haus German American Cultural Center is Chicagoland’s premier German American Cultural Center. It is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization committed to preserving and promoting German and German American culture, heritage, and language through educational and social programming. It is located in Chicago's traditionally German neighborhood, Lincoln Square. Core programming includes German Language School for children and adults, rotating Fine Arts and Museum exhibits, monthly Open Haus, Kulturkueche Cooking classes, German Cinema Now, Kino Kaffee und Kuchen, World Cup viewing, Oktoberfest, and many more. The DANK Haus is a core member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance – a consortium of ethnic museums, cultural centers, and historical societies whose mission is to effect social change through cultural diversity.

DANK Haus is located ½ block from the Western Brown Line stop. Metered parking is available in 3-hour increments on Western Ave. After business hours, guests are welcome to park in the MB Financial parking lot at Western & Gunnison. Bicycles can be secured in front of the building.

CTA: Brown Line Western Stop, Bus #49 Western, Bus #X49 Western Express, Bus #81 Lawrence

Metra: Union Pacific North Line - Ravenswood

DANK Haus is a participating member of the Chicago Cultural Alliance

June 3, 2015

photo credit: Diego Colon



"Why this play?" Michael Thornton asked me, hours before the performance.  The short answer was because I liked it and I wanted to see these actors in these roles.  


The longer answer was in the stage directions, halfway through the first act. When describing the bar the play is set in, Saroyan states that "each person belongs to the environment, in his own person, as himself...It's a good, lowdown honky-tonk American place that lets people alone."  At its best, the stage is this to all Chicago artists.  It is a safe space that allows us to be the complex characters that we are, to play and discover and be. Nick's Pacific Street Saloon is a place where people can dream, where they can reimagine who they are despite whatever stereotype society dictates.  


Katarina, the hooker with a heart of gold, dreams of being an actress named Kitty.  So that's who she is, because Joe chooses to believe it.  Krupp, the well-meaning cop, dreams of pursuing a life beyond his police work which he no longer believes in, and for a moment, he truly becomes more than he is.  Dudley knows his true love will pick up the phone. Any second now.  Despite the economic state, the seedy location, the vast differences in class, the war going on outside, people risk their hearts for the chance that they can fulfill their destiny and find their happiness. If only for a moment.


We wanted to do this classic American play because this was a truly American cast. And a beautifully talented one that proved that non-traditional casting can work and can even enrich the text that's there.  AC Smith, Michael Patrick Thornton, Anthony Fleming III, Ricardo Gutierrez, Bryan Bosque, Blake Russell, Samuel Roberson, Todd Garcia, Alana Arenas, Anish Jethmalani, Jessie Fisher, Delia Kropp, Diego Colon, Frank Sawa, Kevin Douglas, Demetrios Troy, Barbara Robertson, Behzad Dabu, Christine Bunuan, Chay Yew...these are my stage heroes -- people I would pay to see read the phone book, and here they were putting on a piece of art all on the same stage. Incredible artists from so many different communities telling a story they might not normally get to tell together.  In roles they might not normally be called in for.  What a dream.


This is the new stage picture that we are promoting.


 photo credit: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux


We were so honored to co-produce this reading with Chay Yew, Victory Gardens Theatre and The League of Chicago Theatres who all believed in our mission to inspire theater leaders, artists and patrons to open their minds to new possibilities.  And we were thrilled to see so many patrons, artists and artistic leaders of our community show up that incredible Monday night, whether it be out curiosity, support or desire to push the conversation further.  


We wanted to do this staged reading series because it was a way to offer the world what we could be.  That onstage is where we can risk, where we can dream and dream big.  I can't wait to see what's next.  








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