Thursday, March 1, 2012




WHEN: March 17, 24 at 8 PM; March 18, 25 at 3 PM; March 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 PM
  Alexander Kasser Theater on the Montclair State University campus, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair
TICKETS: $15 and are available at the Alexander Kasser Theater Box Office, by calling 973.655.5112 or online at (PHOTOS BY LUK MONSAERT)

Harvey Fierstein aside, most productions using transvestites and transsexuals as performers or subject matter are usually presented in small, offbeat theaters.  However, Peak Performances again challenges convention, this time by presenting Gardenia, a uniquely moving production based on the real lives of its cast of transgenders, all of whom are between 55 and 65, and each of whom had been or continues to be a professional performer. 

Unlike musicals such as La Cage aux Folles in which transvestites sashay across stage as harmless, childlike creatures and lovable entertainers,  Gardenia uses song and dance to express the raw pain of their marginalization and loneliness, as well as the wit and ways that the artists held on to their dignity in face of ridicule and physical violence. 

Starring the well-known Belgian playwright and director Vanessa Van Durme, who was one of the conceivers of the production, Gardenia was inspired by Sonia Herman Dolz's Yo soy asi, a compelling, feature-length documentary that chronicled the lives of the aging performers at the closing of a transvestite cabaret in Barcelona.  Premiered in June 2010 in Ghent, Gardenia has been performed in major cities in Europe including at the Sadler's Wells in London.  It is directed by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke, who head Les Ballets C de la B in Belgium.

To learn more about les Ballets C de la B, please visit:


Charter bus service is provided from New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal—arcade on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues—to the Alexander Kasser Theater ($10 per person, roundtrip) for all Saturday and Sunday performances. Bus reservations may be made by calling 973.655.5112 or by visiting For train service, available only on weekdays, go online to or call 973.275.5555.

For restaurants close to the Alexander Kasser Theater, visit

Programs in Peak Performances’ 2011/2012 season are made possible in part by funds from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; New England Foundation for the Arts; Discover Jersey Arts; Alison and James T. Cirenza; and The Honorable Mary Mochary.