The Marie Dressler Musical
Book and Lyrics by Diane Sampson
Music and Lyrics by Lauren Mayer
Based on an idea by Tim Heitman
"What a tuneful and engaging way to learn about this fascinating and gifted woman! She faced obstacles similar to those still present today, and did so with courage and panache. I was at once entertained and inspired!"
Gayle Donsky, Film Producer
"The Most Unlikely Star is a gift to older fans who remember Marie Dressler as a brilliant actress/comedienne and Hollywood star. But her story's relevance will move and uplift audiences of all ages - for today's socially conscious young people, the show is an inspirational tribute to a passionate, forward-thinking woman who broke barriers and transcended social and gender stereotypes."
Jan Pickering - board member, Hillbarn Theatre
"Marie Dressler, the great and beloved entertainer of vaudeville, early Broadway, and talkies, has been neglected in show business history. With sparkling songs and a script faithful to her amazing life and career, The Most Unlikely Star brings Dressler to the musical stage at long last. For us long-standing aficionados, all I can say is thank you, welcome, and Long Live Queen Marie!"
Matthew Kennedy, author, Marie Dressler: A Biography
Marie Dressler was a wildly popular vaudeville, stage and film star from the 1880s to the 1930s, and yet few people today have even heard her name. She was a dynamo whose offstage life was as thrilling and varied as the roles she played on stage and screen, and she broke all sorts of norms in ways that are still relevant:
-She became a beloved celebrity despite not conforming to traditional beauty standards
-She stood up for the underdog (starting the union which became AEA, selling more war bonds for WW1 than any other performer)
-She had romantic relationships with men and women
-She was the first true female comedy star
-She achieved her greatest success in later life (and to this date is the only performer, male or female, to be declared ‘top box office draw’ over the age of 60)
-After decades as a slapstick comedienne, she finally achieved her goal of playing serious roles, winning an Academy Award at the age of 62.
Many of the obstacles Marie faced are still present in our culture, particularly for older women (like the show’s writers), and the question of why she’s so forgotten today raises all sorts of important issues. But her story isn’t all drama – it also includes comedy, toe-tapping musical numbers, and fascinating elements of history. All of that combines to create a show which can appeal to a wide range of potential ticket-buyers, from fans of classic musical theater, to history buffs, to newer audiences who will appreciate the contemporary issues, to general arts supporters who will enjoy being in on a brand-new work.
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