On Her Shoulders: June 18 at 6:30PM

On Her Shoulders is pleased to present a FREE staged reading of SEX by Mae West, directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar on Wednesday, June 18th; doors open at 6:30pm.The Play in Context, which situates the script in its historical time and place, kicks off the evening at 6:45pm with an Introduction by dramaturg Celia Braxton. Running time, including a post-performance Q&A is 2.5 hours. The performance is at The New SchoolWollman Hall65 West 11th Street. R.S.V.P to OnHerShouldersReservations@gmail.com 

MARY JANE “MAE” WEST (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter and pioneering “sex symbol” whose genius with a double entendre made her a legend. West started performing in vaudeville at the age of fourteen, and in 1918 was cast in the Shubert Brothers Broadway revue Sometime. She began writing her own plays and in 1926 had her first starring role on Broadway with Sex, which she wrote, produced, and directed. The theater was raided, and West was arrested and prosecuted on morals charges; she served eight days in jail. Undeterred, West continued to write plays and they continued to arouse controversy―ensuring notoriety and packed houses. Her 1928 play, Diamond Lil became a Broadway hit and led to a Hollywood contract in 1932. But the Hayes Office heavily censored West’s tough-talking, wise-cracking persona West returned to Broadwayestablishing herself as a Las Vegas star in the 1950s. West experienced a resurgence in popularity at the age of 75, with a 1969 LIFE magazine feature story. Always ahead of her time, she remained active and up-to-date until her death in 1980.

West wrote several bold and highly controversial plays over the course of her career. SEX is the story of Margy, a gutsy prostitute who’s ready to find a “heavy sugar daddy” and leave Montreal and her pimp Rocky for good. When Margy gets the chance to run away with Gregg, a moderately wealthy Navy officer and regular customer, she takes it. But what she doesn’t count on is falling deeply in love with Jimmy Stanton—a wildly wealthy young man who has no idea what Margy is. When Jimmy proposes, Margy is forced to contend with her checkered past, Jimmy’s mother, and Rocky–who shows up again at the worst possible time.

ANEESHA KUDTARKAR (Director) is a Dallas native and graduate of Southern Methodist University’s BFA program where she received the Garland Wright Award for Directing Previous directing credits include: One Universal You (Alvin Ailey Auditorium), Happy Hanukah (INTAR’s American Nightcap), Gruesome Playground Injuries (The Studio @ 620) Living Out, Animals Out of Paper, and Ninety (SMU). Most recently Aneesha was Directing Fellow at Westport Country Playhouse for the 2013 season. She has been part of the administrative team at Signature Theatre, Stage West, Circle Arts Theater, and a teaching artist for Big Thought: an organization committed to bringing creativity to everyday learning. She has also worked as a teaching artist for the Highland Park-based theater group, Jesters, that focuses on making new plays with an acting company of special needs adults. She is a resident director with NPTC’s Women’s Work Short Play LAB.

On Her Shoulders was founded in 2012 to present monthly staged readings of plays by women from across the spectrum of time, with contemporary dramaturgs contextualizing–and in some cases adapting–them for modern audiences. The program seeks to make it impossible to deny or ignore the great tradition and value of women’s contribution to the theatrical canon. OHS became a program of NPTC in November 2013.

NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY (NPTC) is an award-winning, multi-racial company now in its 22nd season. The Company’s mission is to develop and produce new plays and playwrights, especially women and people of color; to present classic plays in a style that addresses contemporary issues; and to extend the benefits of theatre to young people and communities in need. Our aim is not to exclude, but to cast a wider net www.nptnyc.org

THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DRAMA: The creative home for the future of performing arts. Agile. Engaged. innovative. Multi-disciplinary. The New School for Drama is home to a dynamic group of young directors, writers, actors, creative technologists, and award-winning faculty. With a core belief in rigorous creativity and collaborative learning, our programs embrace civic awareness across performance disciplines to create work imbued with professionalism, imagination and social context. For more information, please visit www.newschool.edu/drama


The Play in Context, the dramaturgical and scholarly presentation component to the program, is sponsored in part by the League of Professional Theatre Women, a not-for-profit organization promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in theatre since 1982.


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