Directed by Mara Mills | Starring Thomas Kramer | In collaboration with Peekskill Pride

I AM MY OWN WIFE is the amazing and true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, German transvestite who “Survived the Nazis and the Stasi in a dress.” A lover and collector of objects, she founded a museum in Mahldorf to house not only her beloved clocks and phonographs and other castoffs of German industrial design but the Mulack-Ritze, a gay nightclub established in the time of Willhelm II and under threat of destruction by the Stasi. Here she maintained a “safe-place” for gays, lesbians, and transvestites. Celebrated and vilified, Charlotte’s story is part of untold history. Doug Wright has literally brought to life an amazing character - or as Wright says, “She didn’t just found a museum, she is the museum.” Doug Wright’s story, as playwright and character, is as important as Charlotte’s. From idol worship to disillusionment to understanding and love, we watch the playwright grow as a man and a creator. This one- person show is educational and entertaining. Daring and beautiful and an important addition to history and theater.

2004 Tony Award for Best Play

2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

“Nothing short of breathtaking. A terrific story.” The New York Times

“Don’t even think of missing it.” Washington Post

“A play of heart-stopping beauty.” Journal News

“This show deserves every award there is.” Wall Street Journal

Tom’s note: The importance of Story.

I originally saw I AM MY OWN WIFE in 2003 and was struck by the complexity of Charlotte’s life as well as the importance of her story from both the point of view of history and the struggle that LBGTQ+ individuals face every day. Any individual who has had challenges understanding who they are and their where they fit in society can relate to Charlotte’s embracing her authentic self and living her life as she felt she needed to. Her world was dangerous and often deadly, however she not only lived, but thrived. So, how could I not be inspired?

In 2003, Charlotte’s story was powerful; in 2024, it’s vital that we share it. In a political and social climate that tries to silence or negate those who are different, “those individuals who defy ready classification”, we all MUST raise our voices and demand our rights to not only exist, but to partake in all life has to offer. We need to find allies who will join us in this fight and hope that by sharing the Story of Charlottes von Mahlsdorf we will add to these numbers.  Please join me on Charlotte’s amazing journey.

Mara’s Note: Ten years ago, Tom asked me to direct him in I AM MY OWN WIFE, I did not know then how important this play would be for me, professionally or personally. Professionally, returning to work on an exceptional play; seeing it with new and deeper personal understanding is a gift. Plus working with Peekskill Pride is always an honor. JOIN US and tell your story.


Thomas Kramer (He/Him)

Thomas Kramer (He/Him): Tom is thrilled to be returning to the Role of Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf and all her compatriots for Studio Theatre in Exile. He previously performed the role for Small Town Theatre, directed by Mara Mills Other favorite roles include:  Ben Franklin in 1776, Buzz in Love, Valour, Compassion, Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Arnold in Torch Song Trilogy, Gooper in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Mr. Bumble in Oliver, Ken in Rumors, Mr. Randolph in Sunday in the Park with George and George in Our Town. Directing credits include: at Yorktown Stage: Follies, 1776, My Fair Lady, Gypsy. At Actors Conservatory Theater: Barefoot in the Park, 42nd Street, Our Town, Arsenic and Old Lace, Rumors. At Herbert Mark Newman Theater: Violet, Falsettos, The Grapes of Wrath, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Master Class, Sunday in the Park with George, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Small Town Theatre Company: Copenhagen, A Shadow Box, Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike, Les Liaisons Dangereuse, Talley’s Folly. Regionally: Evita, Chicago, A Little Night Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Tintypes, 1776, Love, Valour, Compassion, Nine, The Miracle Worker, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. As a playwright, the following shows were produced through the Tri-state area: Ain’t Murder a Drag, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Howl.

Mara Mills (Director)

Mara Mills (Director): Mara is best known for her work with original plays and dramaturge work with playwrights. Her commitment to original work, of collaborating with the community to create original work, integration of art forms, and taking on social justice issues makes Studio Theater in Exile @HVMOCA a unique space for theater.

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