Born on 12 January 1884 in Waco, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan played a gun-slinger and rode bareback in silent films, took New York by storm in 1906, and earned a salary of $700,000 as a speakeasy hostess. Here are highlights from a life led at full speed until 5 November 1933. Meet TEXAS GUINAN!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Texas Guinan: Mae & Money

The past is another country — — and Texas Guinan's friend MAE WEST was most comfortable there.
• • However, in her Broadway blockbuster "Diamond Lil" [1928] Mae's aim was not to resurrect the naughty nineties — — but to present that bygone decade's sins in shifty soft focus. The world of Diamond Lil, restrained by Victorian morality despite a certain cheeky daring, was a backwards glance to a time of innocence, picturesque entertainment, well-behaved wildness, corset-clad temptresses, The Police Gazette's seductions, and 5-cent beer.
• • Drama critic Stark Young [1881—1963] analyzed Mae's clever maneuvers in his article for The New Republic:
• • "Diamond Lil" is as daring in the end [as 1926's "Sex"], the same sexy morsels, embraces, interventions of the law with rank suspenses, frank speeches, underworld, and so on. But it is more covered, continuous, and studied than the other production, and the crowd of characters, the costuming and vaudevillistic intervals, pull the whole of this later play into a more familiar style, less crudely, and sheerly singular than "Sex" appeared to be [excerpt from The New Republic — 27 June 1928].
• • Louis Lopardi, who will direct "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship and Secrets" in July at the Algonquin Theatre, also feels enriched by the past. His own production — — The Purgatory Project, Part 2 — — reimagined the lives led by four famous historical figures: Sigmund Freud, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Lee Harvey Oswald.
• • A history buff as well as a thespian, Lopardi especially enjoys plays with a classical echo, texts rooted to a mythic past. For instance, he found "Metamorphoses," a play based on the Greek poem Metamorphoses by Ovid, fascinating and he relished the modernized adaptation written by Mary Zimmerman a few years ago. Ovid works onstage because those depictions of yearning and confused desires are timeless, feels Lopardi.
• • Since he has frequently decanted Ovid's ancient songs, he noticed right away the mythic skin underneath "Courting Mae West" — — the Brooklyn bombshell's story reimagined as the metamorphosis of King Midas. How you get the golden touch is one of the subtle sub-plots here. As Mae's career goals recalibrate her box office appeal, she will earn her hard cold slice of success — — but at a cost.
• • "I like a multi-layered comedy," admits Lopardi. "The best shows make you laugh for an hour and a half — — and then, untethered from your Playbill, you mull it over at home."
• • Bringing "Courting Mae West" to an audience requires funding. To support A Company Of Players, a non-profit theatre group established in 1979 to present meaningful theatre, please click on this link — —
• • A Company Of Players is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 type organization, and donations to the group are considered a charitable, tax-deductible contribution.
• • Contribute through "Pay Pal" or you can mail a check to: A Company Of Players, 545 Eighth Avenue, #401, New York NY 10018-4307.
• • "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" — — which features Texas Guinan in the cast — — will be onstage at the Algonquin Theatre [123 East 24th Street, New York, NY 10010] from July 19th 22nd, 2008.
• • Get ready to come up and see Mae West and Texas Guinan onstage in mid-July 2008.
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• • Photo:
Mae West and Texas Guinan • • 1930 • •

Texas Guinan.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Texas Guinan: Casting Call

"COURTING MAE WEST" — — which features the arrest and trial of Mae West at the Jefferson Market Court House and the character of Texas Guinan — — will have a table reading in the month of March [2008], under the direction of Louis Lopardi, at The Producers Club.
• • A Company of Players will read the script aloud in preparation for a short Workshop Production in Manhattan.
• • Seeking the next Mae West!
• • Meanwhile, the search continues for the right actress to portray Mae West [1893—1980] — — in this serious-minded comedy that offers a star-making role. During the Prohibition Era, the Brooklyn bombshell was in her thirties. The ideal audition candidate is 2530 with serious stage training and industrial strength charisma.
• • Rehearsals begin in June 2008 in Manhattan.
• • Resumes and photo to:
• • A Company of Players
• • Attention: Louis Lopardi, Artistic Director
• • 545 Eighth Avenue [Box # 401]
• • New York, NY 10018 - 4307
• • Send Email via the web site — —

• • The Producers Club is located at 358 West 44th Street [between 8th-9th Avenue], New York, NY 10036.
• • Meanwhile, a fundraising effort is in progress. Matching funds have been promised for every dollar raised.

• • "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" will be onstage at the Algonquin Theatre [123 East 24th Street, New York, NY 10010] from July 19th - 22nd, 2008.
• • Get ready to come up and see Mae West and Texas Guinan onstage in mid-July 2008.
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• • Photo:
Mae West • • 1927 • •

Texas Guinan.

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