Not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, playwright Doug Wright (Quills, Grey Gardens) began a conversation with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old German transgender woman who, against all odds, survived two of the most oppressive regimes of the 20th century, the Nazis and the Communists. After hundreds of hours of interviews Wright emerged with this fascinating and breathtaking story of survival and identity.
In this one man tour de force, Wright uses more than 30 characters–all played here by Ben Gerrard (Molly, Wolf Creek 2) – to piece together Charlotte's controversial life. Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.
Ben Gerrard owns the stage from the minute the lights go up. His ease with the non-stop and complex script is total; his command of character is mesmerising... An evening of truly entertaining theatre.
To be as clear as can be: the is a knockout. Absolute highest-quality, runs the emotional gamut, cuts right to the bones of humanity. Nothing short of a masterpiece. Gerrard has been a star right from the beginning of his career... but his prowess here shows promise of a legendary trajectory.
BROADWAY WORLD (Brodie Paparella)
Gerrard is not the first to play Charlotte, be he is surely among the best.
STAGE WHISPERS (Michael Brindley)
Engaging. Evocative. Gerrard gives an astounding performance.
THEATRE PEOPLE (Adam Rafferty)
Captivating. Intimate... sleek... sharp. Gerrard faultlessly jumps between 35 varied characters... draws you in.
MY ABOUT TOWN (Myron My)
Compelling. Achingly real emotion.
ARTS HUB (Richard Watts)
Inspiring. Riveting. An extraordinary performance.
MAN IN CHAIR (Simon Parris)
Ingenious. Engrossing. Subtle, sly, moving.
AUSSIE THEATRE (Katie Purvis)
THE MUSIC (Maxim Boon)
...Mesmerising... Fascinating stuff... Highly recommended.
Doug Wright (Writer)
Doug Wright wrote the book for the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. In 2006, he received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his book for the Broadway musical Grey Gardens. In 2004, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award for his play, I Am My Own Wife. Earlier in his career, Mr. Wright won an Obie Award for outstanding achievement in playwriting and the Kesselring Award for Best New American Play from the National Arts Club for his play Quills. He went on to write the screenplay adaptation, making his motion picture debut. The film was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review and nominated for three Academy Awards. His screenplay was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and received the Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America. For director Rob Marshall, Doug penned the television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, which received seven Emmy Awards. His stage work has been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, London, Stockholm, Bucharest, Krakow, Dublin, Budapest, Brasov, and Viterbo, among other cities. His titles include The Stonewater Rapture, Interrogating the Nude, Watbanaland, Buzzsaw Berkeley, and Unwrap Your Candy. For career achievement, Mr. Wright was recently cited with an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Tolerance Prize from the KulturForum Europa. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America, East, the Screen Actors Guild and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Directing credits include Kiki And Herb: Pardon Our Appearance in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and London. Acting credits include the films Little Manhattan and Two Lovers. Currently, Doug serves on the board of the New York Theater Workshop. He lives in New York with his partner, singer/songwriter David Clement.
Ben Gerrard (Performer)
Ben Gerrard graduated from NIDA in 2006 and returns to I Am My Own Wife after sell out, critically acclaimed seasons in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (Oriel Group), for which he received a Sydney Theatre Award nomination for Best Lead Actor in an Independent Production. Other theatre credits include Buyer and Cellar (Ensemble Theatre), You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Hayes Theatre), Hidden Sydney: The Glittering Mile (Working Management) several seasons of the award-winning Songs For The Fallen (Sydney Festival, Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival), Shakespeare's R & J (Riverside) and Actors at Work (Bell Shakespeare). He is also well known for his television work having starred in Molly (AACTA nominee 2016: Best Supporting Actor TV Drama), Foxtel's sketch comedy Open Slather, ABC1's 2012 sitcom Outland as well as the feature film Wolf Creek 2. Other television appearances include Deep Water (SBS), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel), Jack Irish: Dead Point (ABC1), The Power of Ten: Gallipoli (7), and Chandon Pictures (ABC1). He was also a recipient of the Mike Walsh Scholarship in 2014 and most recently made his directorial debut alongside Sheridan Harbridge directing the World Premier Concert Dahlesque for the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Elise McCann (Producer – Oriel Group)
Oriel Group is a production house for Film, Theatre and Musicals. It is led by acclaimed actor and producer Elise McCann. Elise is most well-known for originating the role of Miss Honey in the Australian production of the Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda for which she won the 2016 Helpmann Award and the 2015 Sydney Theatre Award, and was nominated for the 2016 Green Room Award. Previously she featured in the Channel Seven miniseries Peter Allen – Not The Boy Next Door, playing Peter's sister Lynne Woolnough. A graduate of NIDA, Elise's theatrical credits includes Lucille Ball in the critically acclaimed one-woman show Everybody Loves Lucy (Luckiest Productions) for which she was nominated for Best Cabaret Performance in the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards; Ali in the 10th Anniversary Australian Tour of MAMMA MIA! (Littlestar); Janet McGregor in the Australian tour of South Pacific (Opera Australia/Gordon Frost Organisation); The World Premiere/Australian Tour of Doctor Zhivago (Gordon Frost Organisation); Fruma Sarah in the Australian Tour of Fiddler on the Roof (TML Enterprises); Cordelia in Falsettos (Darlinghurst Theatre Company); Florinda in Into The Woods (Victorian Arts Opera); Little Women (Kookaburra Australian National Theatre Company); My Fair Lady (Opera Australia); Camelot (The Production Company); Side By Side By Sondheim (Enda Markey Presents); June in Musical of Musicals (Tryptech Theatre); In concert with Stephen Schwartz in Stephen Schwartz in Conversation as part of the World Premiere Defying Gravity Concerts (Enda Markey Presents); Sydney Carlton in It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman (Hayes Theatre); and in the World Premiere concert Dahlesque, featuring music from adaptations of Roald Dahl's classic stories, premiering at the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Elise's debut album Dahlesque was released nationally under ABC Music. As a producer, Elise was a co-creator in association with Luckiest Productions on Everybody Loves Lucy. I Am My Own Wife was the first independent venture for Oriel Group, with a sell out and critically acclaimed season at the Old Fitz Theatre in Sydney in 2015 and as a Premier Production for the Midsumma Festival in Melbourne in Jan/Feb 2017. In April 2017 Oriel developed an original Australian work, CARMEN - Live or Dead starring award-winning actor Natalie Gamsu with original music by iOTA. Carmen will next be playing in Sydney in 2018. Most recently Oriel is responsible for creating, developing and presenting the original new concert Dahlesque, which will be performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in April 2018.
Shaun Rennie (Director)
Shaun is thrilled to be one of two recipients of the 2017 Sandra Bates Directors Award at the Ensemble Theatre. Most recently Shaun directed Only Heaven Knows at the Hayes Theatre Co (Luckiest Productions) and a staged reading of Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll (Ensemble Theatre). Previous Hayes productions include RENT (Highway Run Productions) for which he won the 2016 Broadway World Award for Best Director of a Musical, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown for which he was nominated for Best Director of a Musical at the 2016 Sydney Theatre Awards. Due to the success of its initial season, RENT subsequently enjoyed a second sold out return season. Other directing credits include I Am My Own Wife (Oriel Group/Redline) at the Old Fitz; CARMEN - Live or Dead (Oriel Group); Wicked (Freerain Theatre Company, Canberra); Assistant Director on A Christmas Carol (The Tabard Theatre, London); and Resident Director on Once We Lived Here (The Kings Head, London). Earlier this year I Am My Own Wife toured to Melbourne (45 Downstairs) and Brisbane (The Brisbane Powerhouse). As the recipient of the Sandra Bates Directors Award, Shaun is currently working as Assistant Director on two works at the Ensemble Theatre; Neville's Island and Lip Service. In 2005 Shaun co-created Light the Night, an annual benefit concert for leukemia research. Shaun produced and directed Light the Night for 10 years, raising over half a million dollars for research and patient needs. Later this year, Shaun will direct Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson for the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).