In 1927, Mae West was arrested for "corrupting the morals of youth" with her Broadway show Sex. The media attention all but ensured that Hollywood would come calling, and by 1935, West's double entendres made her the second-highest paid person in the United States, right behind William Randolph Hearst. After Hollywood's Motion Picture Production Code went into effect, Mae's screenplays were heavily censored, and realizing that "when she was good, she was very good, but when she was bad, she was better," Mae abandoned the movies in 1943. She did not return until 1970, when times (and the censors) finally caught up with her. Claudia Shear's bio/musical comedy Dirty Blonde recounts Mae's successes (there were many) and failures (there were more than you might suspect) as seen by two of her super fans. Jo, a would-be actress, and Charlie, an archivist, find one another through their shared love of Mae, but they also discover themselves as they relive the life of the woman once dubbed "the eighth wonder of the world." Dramatic License Productions presents Dirty Blonde at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (September 15 through October 2) at Dramatic License Theatre (291 Chesterfield Mall, Chesterfield; 636-220-7012 or www.dramaticlicenseproductions.org). Tickets are $22 to $25.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Sept. 15. Continues through Oct. 2, 2011