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Charm Poster


Closed October 15, 2017

New play about LGBTQ youth, based on a real Chicagoan, is utterly charming

Chicago Tribune

Why See Charm?

The New York premiere of a charming play

Part of the 2017/18 MCC Theater season, this New York premiere is one of five plays that explores social issues of those most excluded from the mainstream. Charm by Philip Dawkins first premiered at Chicago's Northlight Theatre in 2015, and is based on a true story; that of a 67 year-old black transgender woman who starts her very own Emily Post-style etiquette classes at a community center for LGBTQ youths. Inspired by a 2012 feature on Miss Gloria Allen and her work with trans youths in the Tribune, the play has been well-received by LGBTQ groups and the wider press.

What is it about?

When Mama Darleena Andrews sets out to teach proper etiquette to disadvantaged trans youths, it turns out that it opens a huge can of worms. Using the curriculum as set out by the idealistic, but outdated methods of Emily Post, she finds herself challenged by her students - all of whom face very real-life problems such as poverty, prejudice and identity confusion every day. When old-fashioned values conflicts with real struggles, it makes for a spirited conversation about privilege and asks them to support each other when the rest of the world seeks to destroy them.

With almost universal acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of LGBTQ issues ("CHARM is a beautifully drawn portrait of pain, kindness, and an LGBTQI community"- Saint Paul Magazine) and realistic struggles, Charm encourages genteelness and kindness for all of us.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 31 August 2017


Suitable for ages 13+

Run time

Two hours and twenty minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.

And before you stop reading

Image taken from the 2015 Chicago production by Michael Brosilow

Cast and Creative




By Philip Dawkins
Directed by Will Davis

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