Rainbow Theatre Project Mounts Paula Vogel's The Oldest Profession

Jun 4, 2015
The Oldest Profession

Just in time for Capital Pride, The Rainbow Theatre Project is capping its sophomore season with a fully-staged production of The Oldest Profession, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel's (How I Learned to Drive), over two weekends in June in the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint.

One of Vogel's earlier works, this heartfelt comedy centers on a group of Golden Girl-aged working girls who must start facing the physical, financial, emotional and social realities of "the Life" as the Reagan era dawns. Stakes and laughs increase when this non-traditional family of unconventional women is forced to learn a few new tricks to keep them ahead of the game.

Rainbow's Artistic Director, H. Lee Gable says "Not only is Paula Vogel is one of the best playwrights in the country, she's a strong member of the LGBTQ community, and we've wanted to produce one of her plays since day one. We were looking for a play that showcased strong female roles to close our season and as soon as I read The Oldest Profession, I knew I had found the right play for us: five meaty and memorable characters for women; a funny, poignant script; and an unconventional structure complete with music. Who could ask for anything more?"

Elizabeth Pringle returns to Rainbow, this time as director, to helm the production. Pringle studied with Paula Vogel in her Playwriting Boot Camp at Arena Stage in 1999, and definitely feels this piece resonates today as much as it did when it was written in 1981: "The Oldest Profession tackles a sex work, Reagonomics, aging and death with lightness, comedy and profound wisdom from five aging prostitutes. Their story as sex workers living outside social norms has very much been the story of the LGBTQ community. These women have faced similar prejudice and harassment from the law, as well as from America's ideas of appropriate sexual behavior, that has been shaped culturally by repressive social/sexual norms that excludes those who live outside these norms."

The production stars five seasoned local actresses, all making their Rainbow Theatre Project debuts: Charlotte Akin (WSC Avant Bard, The Keegan Theatre) as the girlish Vera; Desire' Dubose (Restoration Theatre, H Street Playhouse) as Edna, the "good time girl"; Diana Haberstick (Paper Mill Playhouse) as the "belle-of-the-ball," Lillian; Tricia McCauley (Washington Stage Guild) as the imperious Ursula; and Emily Morrison (American Century Theater) as Mae, the matriarch. Greg Stevens, who was recently up for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Set design for Factory 449's The Amish Project, is creating the sets and costumes.

The Oldest Profession will be presented in the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint, located at 916 G Street, NW, in Washington, DC. The venue is approximately two blocks from both the Metro Center and Gallery Place Metro Stations. Street Parking is also available.

Tickets for the show are just $35 and may be purchased in advance through the company's website (rainbowtheatreproject.org/tickets.html) or at the door on the evening of the performance. Cash and credit cards will be accepted for tickets purchased at the door. Seating is general admission for both events. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and seating begins at 7:30 p.m.

Performances are scheduled for: Tonight, June 4, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 5, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Monday, June 8, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 19, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.