A fascinating look at iconic actress Marlene Dietrich, Marlene strips the mask from the sultry Dietrich to reveal the complicated woman underneath. Excellent acting and a thoughtful script capture a performer confronting both her tumultuous past and an uncertain future.
The one-woman show tells the true story of Dietrich’s return to Germany in 1960 to perform for the first time since fleeing the Nazis in 1939. While discussing her life and career with a journalist in her dressing room at Berlin’s Tatiana Palast Theatre, she must decide whether to sing that night after receiving threats on her life from Nazi sympathizers.
Playwright Willard Manus examines the dichotomy of the sexy though home-yearning Dietrich, unabashed and proud of following her own path of free love, risky adventure and patriotic support of America.
Director Judtih Rose shows an actress constantly in motion, whether flirtatiously performing for a journalist, preparing to go onstage or facing down threats. She builds a nice rhythm and pacing to proceedings, and tells the story as much through song as prose.
Cindy Marinangel magically brings Dietrich to life, revealing a sensitive woman employing her wits, seductiveness and strength to get ahead. Her juicy performance runs the gamut from wistful sadness to passionate exhibitionism, with expressive singing rounding out the character.
Fine production work enhances the dreamy nature of Dietrich’s reminisces, with voiceover and lighting accentuating her memories and power on audiences.
Marlene blends first-rate acting and production work to reveal Dietrich’s hidden depths.
Write Act Repertory presents “Marlene” Sunday nights at 7pm through August 27 at the Brickhouse Theatre located at 10950 Peach Grove St. in North Hollywood. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets.com/event/3034406 or at the door.