CONTACT: Charlie Rohlfs
email@example.com 805.965.5400 x103
ETC Presents the Pulitzer Prize
and Tony Award Winning Masterpiece
I am my Own Wife
January 18, 2016 – Santa Barbara, CA – Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) at the New Vic is delighted to present playwright Doug Wright’s masterpiece, I am My Own Wife, a dazzling one-man production featuring renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival Company Member John Tufts. Tufts will bring life to more than 30 characters in a stunning tour de force portrait of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old transvestite who, against all odds, survives the Nazis, the East German secret police, and her own vicious father. Directed by Jenny Sullivan, I am My Own Wife plays February 4 through 21, 2016. Opening night is February 6.
Set against the fall of the Berlin Wall, I am My Own Wife tells one of World War II’s most remarkable stories of survival. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the elegant and eccentric 65-year-old founder of the Gründerzeit Museum (Museum of Everyday Things) in Berlin, survives the Nazi Genocide, the oppressive East German Secret Police, and her own vicious father, all while living publicly as a transvestite. Told in the words of Charlotte and more than 30 other unique characters, I am My own Wife weaves together touching moments of vulnerability, profound insights of life in Nazi Germany, and Charlotte’s own joyous self discovery, all colored by her unique and cheeky sense of humor.
Yet as Charlotte’s story comes to light, questions arise that cast a shadow on her extraordinary life’s story. To what lengths did Charlotte go to survive? How could one transvestite living so boldly in public survive in Nazi Germany when thousands others perished? Did others pay the price for Charlotte’s survival? This one-of-a-kind work is hailed as “A true tour de force” by The New York Times, and “unfailingly smart and elegant” by Variety.
Playwright Doug Wright’s work has received substantial praise and multiple prestigious awards including a Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, GLAAD Media Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award. His screen adaptation of Quills was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review and nominated for three Academy Awards. Doug was cited by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and awarded the Tolerance Prize from the Kulturforum Europa. Currently, he serves on the board of the New York Theatre Workshop and serves as Secretary on the Dramatists Guild Council. Doug’s other plays include Interrogating the Nude, Quills, Unwrap Your Candy, Grey Gardens, The Little Mermaid and The Pavilion (2009).
I am My Own Wife was originally developed with Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project, the company behind the creation of the critically acclaimed production, The Laramie Project.
Making his ETC debut is Oregon Shakespeare Festival Company Member John Tufts, portraying the production’s 30 plus characters. In 11 seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mr. Tufts has gained a reputation as a remarkably versatile and captivating performer. At OSF, he tackled the challenging role of Henry in Shakespeare’s trilogy of Henry V, Henry IV, Part One and Henry IV, Part Two. Lending his comedic talents to OSF, he repeatedly brought down the house as Chico in The Cocoanuts, and Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods. His other OSF credits include Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew, Robin Hood in The Heart of Robin Hood, Ravelli in Animal Crackers, Sharpe and Ensemble in Equivocation, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and many more. Mr. Tufts has taken the stage at numerous prestigious venues across the country including Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, the Humana Festival, and the Mint Theater Company.
“We’re pleased to present this beautiful portrayal of one person’s strange odyssey through tumultuous times,” said Jonathan Fox, ETC’s Executive Artistic Director. “That the story is told by one actor playing multiple characters heightens its theatricality. I’m thrilled it brings both the marvelous John Tufts and director Jenny Sullivan to ETC.”
Director Jenny Sullivan’s previous ETC credits have been met with much critical acclaim. Her recent direction of Good People was hailed as “Magnetic and sassy” by the Santa Barbara News-Press, and The Mystery of Irma Vep was praised as “truly hilarious” by the Santa Barbara Independent. Under her direction, The Lion in Winter and The Clean House were honored as Indy Reward recipients. Other ETC credits include The Year of Magical Thinking with Linda Purl, Tea At Five, Dublin Carol, and The Memory of Water. Her critically acclaimed production of Simon Wiesenthal Nazi Hunter is the recipient of an LADCC award and received three Ovation nominations.
“Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf was one of the most courageous, enigmatic and impossible characters to emerge from the war in Germany,” said Director Jenny Sullivan. “We are so lucky that our actor that has taken on this remarkable character is the massively talented John Tufts.”
Returning to ETC are scenic designer Keith Mitchell, costume designer Alex Jaeger, and lighting designer Pablo Santiago. Joining ETC for the first time is sound designer Chris Moscatiello.
The 2015-16 ETC Season has been generously sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation. Additional support for I My Own Wife comes from Elaine and Mike Gray and Elaine and Herbert Kendall.
Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theatre company. Under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country. The 2015-16 Season is its third in the New Vic, ETC’s newly renovated 294-seat performing arts venue. Season tickets are on sale now for the 2015-16 Season, which continues with Bad Jews (April 14 – May 1, 2016) and Noël Coward’s Fallen Angels (June 9 – June 26, 2016).
Performances for I am My Own Wife run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 and 7:00 pm, with a Saturday 4:00 pm matinee performance on February 13 and a Tuesday 7:00 pm show on February 9. Youth tickets are available for age 29-and-under for only $20.00 each. Single tickets are available through the ETC box office at (805) 965-5400, or online at etcsb.org. For group sales information, please call (805) 965-5400. The New Vic is located at 33 W. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara CA, 93101.
WHAT: I am My Own Wife
AUTHOR: Doug Wright
DIRECTED BY: Jenny Sullivan
THEATRE: The New Vic, 33 WEST VICTORIA STREET
DATES: February 4 – 21, 2016
One actor plays 30 characters in this stunning tour de force portrait of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old transvestite who, against all odds, survives both the Nazis and the East German secret police.
Thursday, 2/4/16 8:00pm – Preview
Friday, 2/5/16 8:00pm – Preview
Saturday, 2/6/16 – 8:00 – Opening
Sunday, 2/7/16 – 2:00pm/7:00pm
Tuesday, 2/9/16 – 7:00pm
Wednesday, 2/10/16 8:00pm – Preshow Talk
Thursday, 2/11/16 – 8:00pm
Friday, 2/12/16 – 8:00pm – Martini Night
Saturday, 2/13/16 – 4:00pm/8:00pm
Sunday, 2/14/16 – 2:00pm
Wednesday, 2/17/16 – 8:00pm – Preshow Talk
Thursday, 2/18/16 – 8:00pm – Talkback
Friday, 2/19/16 – 8:00pm
Saturday, 2/20/16 – 8:00pm
Sunday, 2/21/16 – 2:00pm/7:00pm
TICKET PRICES: $35 - $65. Discounts available to Seniors, Groups, and those under 30 years old.
TICKETS/INFORMATION: 805-965-5400 x109 or online at www.etcsb.org
BOX OFFICE LOCATION: 33 West Victoria Street in Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District
BOX OFFICE HOURS: Monday – Friday, 1pm – 5pm*
*On days with performances, the Box Office opens one hour prior to curtain and will stay open until show time.