1300 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, Fl 33122
Performing at Arsht Center Ziff Ballet Opera House (Oct 4 - Oct 21)
By Ron Levitt
Florida a Media News / ENV Magazine
MIAMI -- There are only a handful of South Florida actors who can pull it off, depending only on their own talent, lighting, sound, set and artful direction to do a one-person show. Michael McKeever, Ken Clement, Lela Elam, Barbara Sloan come to mind for recent fantastic single actor performances. Now, one can add the name of Tom Wahl to that esteemed list. Wahl accomplishes that one-must-rave-about solo performance in Zoetic Stage ‘s season opener at the Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts in Miami – I Am My Own Wife.
Anchored by comfortable cabaret seating, the audience gets to see Wahl --for the most part in feminine attire -- charm, beguile and earn the respect as he takes us to East Germany during both the Nazi era and Communist takeover and the political and human effect these regimes have on a trans-gendered real individual,.
For the most part, the audience is tuned into Wahl’s magnificent performance, and his ability to go from one character to another in seconds – 40 characters in in all. It is theatrical knowhow at its best, ably directed by Stuart Meltzer who also is responsible for the amazing sound design. Meltzer – along with the scenic design by Zoetic’s Michael McKeever and the lighting by Luke Klingberg and costuming by Alberto Aroyo add to this special achievement. All of these technicians – aided by the Technical Direction of Bombshell Productions (Meredith Lasher) make I Am My Own Wife such a unique theatrical encounter.
I Am My Own Wife is a play by Doug Wright based on his conversations with German Charlotte von Mahlsdorf -- the real transgendered individual. The one-man play premiered Off-Broadway in 2003 It opened on Broadway later that year. Wright received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work. It has played before in South Florida but Wahl’s performance take it to a new level.
I Am My Own Wife (or I Am My Own Woman) is also the English title of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf's autobiography, first issued in 1992, translated in 1995. The play. meanwhile, has received numerous awards including the 2004 Drama Desk Award for Best New Play,The Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Solo Show, the2004 Tony Award and numerous honors for acting, direction and dramatic literature.
Simply, I Am My Own Wife is an examination of the life of German antiquarian Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, born Lothar Berfelde, who killed her father when she was a young child and survived the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin as a transgendered person. But, there is nothing simple about Wahl’s role or Meltzer’s direction. They make this character and production as real as he (she) really was in this era of recent German history.
"The most stirring new work to appear on Broadway!" - The New York Times
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife is the astonishing story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a Berlin transvestite, who survived first the Nazis and then the Communists - as a woman.
With Carbonell-Award winning actor Tom Wahl portraying the elegant Charlotte and more than 30 other characters, I Am My Own Wife is a remarkable one-man tour de force - strikingly political and beautifully humane.
The Adrienne Arsht Center embraces excellence, celebrates differences, renews the spirit and engages diverse communities through the power of the performing arts.
As a focal point of Greater Miami-Dade’s diverse cultural life, the Adrienne Arsht Center enlightens,
educates and entertains our community through transformational arts and cultural experiences.
The Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is located on Biscayne Boulevard between N.E. 13th and 14th streets, in Downtown Miami, just north of the I-395 interchange.