Ben Brantley, The New York Times
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A nance, according to Webster's Dictionary, is "an effeminate or homosexual man." In the world of 1930's burlesque, a nance was a wildly popular character, a stereotypically camp homosexual man, most times played by a straight performer.
In The Nance, playwright Douglas Carter Beane tells the story of Chauncey Miles (to be played by Nathan Lane), a headline nance performer in New York burlesque, who also happens to be a homosexual.
Integrating burlesque sketches into his drama, Beane paints, with humor and pathos, the portrait of a homosexual man, living and working in the secretive and dangerous gay world of 1930's New York, whose outrageous antics on the burlesque stage stand in marked contrast to his messy offstage life.
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