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“Dirty Blonde”: the power of attitude

San Antonio, Texas. ART Magazine.

By Carolina Betancourt

The attitude that resonates from Claudia Shear’s “Dirty Blonde” is enough to fill the lightly furnished stage of the Cameo Theatre.

“Dirty Blonde”, directed by Matthew Byron Cassi, puts a spotlight on sultry and candid Mae West. West is played by Christie Beckham, who easily embodies West’s infamous body language, attitude and even some of her hidden vulnerability.  The audience gets to travel back and see memorable and spunky moments of West’s life, including part of her relationship with her husband Frank Wallace and even some of the downsides of trying to be the girl that all men love.  West is brought back to life in the 90′s through two of her biggest fans, Jo (Mandy Whitlock) and Charlie (Kevin Murray).  Their relationship features West as their constant companion, while they discover through various surprises, that everyone has a little bit of flair inside.

The various characters that go in and out of West’s life are played by two actors.  Tony Gloria portrays her husband Frank Wallace, Joe Frisco, and others characters, while Derek Berlin plays fellow actor Harry Woods and adds his own memorable attitude as Armando, one of Mae’s faithful gay friends.  The mood of the 20′s and 30′s that envelopes “Dirty Blonde” is set by the musical notes of accompanist Darrin Newhardt.

The appeal of “Dirty Blonde” is in the fact that this small group of performers captures and shares the influences of the people that crossed paths with her life and ultimately became part of the long lasting impression she left behind.

“Dirty Blonde” will run till May 13th at the Cameo Theatre.  For information on tickets and times visit www.cameotheatre.org or call 212-5454.

About the author  ⁄ Haydeé Muñoz De la Rocha

Haydeé Muñoz De la Rocha earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Haydeé studied painting in Florence, Italy under the internationally renowned artist Eva Rorandelli. She also had the honor to study under Malaquias Montoya, a major figure in the Chicano Art Movement of the 1960s-70s, at UTSA. Haydeé Muñoz is also an international art promoter. Last January, she directed the promotion of Pancho Villa’s “Last Saddle” auction throughout México. Last year, Muñoz curated and organized the international exhibition Mexico: Rolando Rojas, Amador Montes, and Daniela Sacramento. Muñoz is currently working on an MBA in International Business at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The Founder and Director of ART Magazine is also a conrtibutor for artdaily.org and Kindform.

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