MAE WEST's gay play "Pleasure Man" had a $200,000 box office advance when it premiered at the Biltmore on 1 October 1928. The police raided the show, however, and shut it down the same night. Perhaps this was an easy target, since the theatre was on the same block as the precinct: 47th Street, west of Broadway.
• • The infamous raid at the Biltmore is dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West," which will have its final performance on Tuesday 22 July 2008 at the Algonquin Theatre [123 East 24th Street] in Manhattan.
• • The Algonquin's manager Mark Sportiello, who attended two performances, has become a big fan of both the play and the talented cast. "Courting Mae West is what great theatre is supposed to be!" said Sportiello, whose brother Tony is an award-winning playwright.
• • In "Courting Mae West," Texas Guinan [portrayed by Eileen Glenn] visits Mae West [portrayed by Yvonne Sayers] backstage at the Royale Theatre to warn her about the raid.
• • MAE WEST: Tex, isn't there a way to trouble-shoot this?
• • TEXAS GUINAN: Honey child, the problem with trouble-shooting is that, invariably, trouble shoots back!
• • In addition to battling a hex by legal voodoo, Mae West was in enormous physical pain during 1928.
• • The usually healthy, resilient, durable actress had begun to experience fierce abdominal agony, perhaps from stress. When the infamous raid at the Biltmore Theatre occurred, New York's bulldog of a district attorney was threatening her with another jail term.
• • Seized by the talons of legal eagles, Mae was rescued (somewhat) and got a jolt of good news from her savvy attorney Nathan Burkan. Burkan had convinced a judge to allow Mae to continue touring in "Diamond Lil."
• • Adding more relief to Mae's life was the fact that the Shuberts had just bought out Mark Linder, who had staked a claim on "Diamond Lil" because he suggested the locale.
• • Info and showtimes are here — — and we invite you to come up and see Mae.
• • "COURTING MAE WEST" opens at 6 o'clock on Saturday night July 19, 2008 at the Algonquin Theatre [East 24th Street and Park Avenue South].
• • "COURTING MAE WEST" — — showtimes
• • July 19th, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 20th, 2008 — — 2:00 PM matinee
• • July 21st, 2008 — — 6:00 PM
• • July 22nd, 2008 — — 9:00 PM
• • Tickets to "COURTING MAE WEST" are $18 per adult.
• • Theatermania.com sells the tickets — — http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/144297
• • Phone 212-352-3101 and get a ticket.
• • The play is 95 minutes.
• • Get ready to come up and see Mae West, Texas Guinan, and the gang onstage in mid-July 2008.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West cast • • Yvonne Sayers and Eileen Glenn • •