THE NANCE Gets Star Billing at The Stagecrafters

by Patricia Bradford

Chauncey Miles, the headliner at the Irving Place Theater, a burlesque house in late 1930s New York City, excels in playing the “nance”, a stock character depicting an exaggeratedly effeminate gay man. The thing is, in real life he IS a homosexual, at a time when it was accepted to play one, but very hazardous to be one! Chauncey’s laughter-creating clownery on stage stands in sharp contrast to his dreary life away from the bright lights. The play, at once poignant and high spirited, deftly re-creates the on-stage and backstage worlds of vaudeville and burlesque, both widely attended by stage audiences of the era, with the secretive gay lifestyle as an on-going subtext. As one reviewer put it bitter-sweetly: “… an especially powerful show that captures all our emotions. … indeed, it’s full of laughs and gaiety, but you may find yourself wiping away a tear or two.” (Arts Stage – Seattle Rage).

Douglas Carter Beane (b. 1960), American playwright and screenwriter, has chalked up a multiplicity of distinctive plays to his credit over the decades. Among his better-known works are included The Little Dog Laughed (2007), which received the Tony nomination for Best Play, and As Bees in Honey Drown (1997), which enjoyed an extended run in New York, and was produced at The Stagecrafters in 1998. The Nance premiered in 2013 at Lincoln Center, featuring Nathan Lane in the title role, receiving five Tony Award nominations, and winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play. One example of widespread favorable commentary on the play sums it up: “… a definite must-see production … a magical mix of theatre, hilarious comedy show, and burlesque all rolled up into one unforgettable experience. …” (Seattle Gay News). A film version was screened in movie theaters in 2014.

Production performance dates are November 23rd thru December 9th: Thu, Fri, Sat @ 8 pm, Sun @ 2 pm. Tickets are available at $21.00 Online (no service charge), $25.00 At-door. (Thu. & Fri. eve performances 2-for-$32 Online, 2-for-$35 At-door). Students with valid ID $15.00 At-door; seniors $22.00 At-door. Groups of 15 or more are offered a reduced rate of $15.00 a ticket, paid in advance. The box office opens 45 minutes before each performance. For information call 215-247-8881; for reservations-direct call 215-247-9913. The theater is located in the heart of Chestnut Hill at 8130 Germantown Ave. Visit website for details:

Special NOTE: A “Meet the Cast and Director” Q & A session will be held following the performance on Friday, Nov. 30.

Theater/Organization The Stagecrafters
Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: 8130 Germantown Avenue Chestnut Hill Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19118 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (215) 247-8881

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