Signature Theatre presents Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®, starring Helen Hayes Award-winner Andrew Long and directed by Alan Paul, January 12 through March 7, 2010 in the company's intimate ARK Theatre.
I Am My Own Wife is the mesmerizing real-life story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who managed to survive both Nazi rule and the repressive East German Communist regime. "The most singular, eccentric individual the Cold War ever birthed" (in the words of playwright Doug Wright), Charlotte is the proprietor of a museum of unappreciated German bric-a-brac who gives tours in her housedress and pearls. Fascinated by Charlotte, Wright interviews her about her life and is taken with the triumph of pluck over the evils of a brutal father, wartime violence, and government oppression, topped off by her generous protection of other "undesirables." Then the Communists' files open and Wright's admiration transforms into an exploration of the slippery nature of truth and the challenge of keeping one's moral compass in a world where survival means compromise. Wright's fixation on Charlotte's life became a play that in 2004 The New York Times called "the most stirring new work to appear on Broadway."
In a tour-de-force of acting Andrew Long plays all 33 characters in I Am My Own Wife, from Charlotte, her aunt and her father, SS commanders and Stasi officials, to international reporters and the playwright himself. One of the leading actors in the Washington, DC area, Long won a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in Frozen at Studio Theatre and recently played Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra in repertory at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, a company where he has performed numerous roles. At Signature Theatre Long has played Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady and Asa Keyes in Saving Aimee.
At the age of 25, director Alan Paul is making his regional main stage directing debut at Signature Theatre. Paul is a native Washingtonian who has lived in the area all his life, outside of earning a degree in theatre at Northwestern University. He grew up seeing plays throughout the Washington region, and now is in his third year as Resident Assistant Director at Shakespeare. In Washington, Paul has been assistant director to Michael Kahn, Moisés Kaufman, Molly Smith, Rebecca Taichman, Gale Edwards, Mary Zimmerman, Jonathan Munby, and Maria Aitken.
Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer stated, "I Am My Own Wife is a play that I always felt belonged on the Signature stage. Washington favorite Andrew Long came to mind to take on this challenge after his wonderful work in My Fair Lady. In looking for the right director for the show, the very talented young director Alan Paul seemed exactly right, especially because Signature has always been about giving people opportunities to young artists. I'm thrilled that Alan will be collaborating with Andrew Long on this special show."
Joining Alan Paul on the creative team of I Am My Own Wife are scenic designer Wilson Chin, costume designer Kathleen Geldard, lighting designer Colin K. Bills, and sound designer Veronika Vorel.