Casa Valentina

Casa Valentina

By Harvey Fierstein

Directed by Joe Mantello

Originally produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, NY.

April 1, 2014 through June 15, 2014

(Photo of playwright Harvey Fierstein.)

About the Premiere Production

Back in 1962, most men went to the Catskill Mountains to escape the summer heat, but others took the two-hour drive to escape something else entirely: being men. Nestled in the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy sat an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a very special clientele: heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women. It was paradise for these men—white-collar professionals with families—to spend their weekends discreetly and safely inhabiting their chosen female alter egos. But when faced with the opportunity to become an official organization, these "self-made women" had to decide whether public recognition would help them gain a place in open society or spell their own personal disaster.

Artistic Statement

MTC has made a passionate commitment to cultivate new collaborations that broaden our roster of talented writers. Our tireless efforts to seek out new work help to keep theatre exciting and challenging both for our artists and our audiences. Casa Valentina is Harvey Fierstein’s first play in 30 years and his first-ever collaboration with MTC, and we are truly proud to be producing this compelling and unique story. Infused with Mr. Fierstein’s trademark wit, Casa Valentina is a moving, insightful and delightfully entertaining new work that offers a glimpse into the lives of a group of unforgettable characters as they search for acceptance and happiness in their very own Garden of Eden. While this production takes place in the early 60’s, the themes of sexual identity and social acceptance outside conventional gender roles speak also to current times, notably the recent violence toward gays in the New York area as well as antigay sentiment in Russia. These events connect with the themes in Casa Valentina including the issues that relate to true freedom within society, and making a distinct point about how far we have come, and how far we still have to go.

Grant Statement

With nine characters, Casa Valentina has a particularly large cast for an MTC production. With numerous actors and many moving parts to this play, including complete transformations from the actors’ male characters into their female personas, it is paramount that the actors are provided the critical extra time to work individually with director Joe Mantello to better develop their roles. Harvey will also work closely with Joe and the cast to provide his expertise and insight on these intricate performances. A grant to support additional rehearsal time will greatly help us accomplish this creative task.

Director: Joe Mantello

Set Design: Scott Pask

Lighting Design: Justin Townsend

Sound Design: Fitz Patton

Costume Design: Rita Ryack

Award Wins and Nominations

Tony Award®
Best Play
2014 Nominee
Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Barry Grove, Executive Producer)
Produced by arrangement with Colin Callender , Robert Cole , Frederick Zollo and The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)
Written by Harvey Fierstein
Best Performance By An Actor In A Featured Role In A Play
2014 Nominee
Reed Birney
Best Performance By An Actress In A Featured Role In A Play
2014 Nominee
Mare Winningham
Best Costume Design Of A Play
2014 Nominee
Costume Design by Rita Ryack

Drama Desk Award

Outstanding Featured Actor In A Play
2014 Winner
Reed Birney


The 2014 Tony Nominations: Casa Valentina

The Wire, April 29,2014


Broadway Box-Office Analysis, March 31-April 6: The Velocity of Autumn and Casa Valentina Bring Two More Plays to the Boards, April 8, 2014


WATCH: Inside Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina, April 1, 2014


They're All Dolled Up! Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina Begins Performances on Broadway

Broadway Buzz, April 3, 2014


Top 5 New York shows this week: Nathan Lane, Estelle Parsons

The Star-Ledger, March 31, 2014