[M.I.T., Cross-Dressing:] Tech Show 1927 “West is East.”
Illustrated program for the twenty-ninth annual Tech Show at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; accompanied by an illustrated handbill
Theater program for West is East, a two-act musical comedy produced in 1927 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and featuring an all-male cast including cross-dressers in leading and supporting roles.
Set on an Arizona dude ranch, the play featured such characters as “a striving youth from Beacon Hill,” an “embryo engineer,” “Gonzales…ze gr-greatest man in Mexico,” and “Peg Murphy a Follies girl, gold digging in the West.”
The play was written by two M.I.T. students: Philip K. Bates and G. Elbern Hopkins. The program lists the names of all the Tech-Show players and musicians as well as the production and business crews. There were 17 musical numbers including “She Was Just an Old-Time Girl of Mine,” “Ride ‘Em Cowboy,” “Tango,” and “Danza Salbaje” (Wild Dance).
The roles of all the women were played by men wearing women’s clothing. Cast and scene photos show these men in drag, some rather less than convincing and more Adam’s-appled. The play’s heroine, “Peg Murphy,” was played by Rand B. Jones, Class of 1928. An image of him in character appears on page 30. The color cover illustration, signed W.R.H, shows “Peg Murphy” dancing the tango.
West is East appears to have been a traveling production. The program is accompanied by a handbill advertising a production of the show at the Northampton Academy of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts on April 9th. An illustration on the handbill shows a portrait of Rand Jones in character, wearing a dress and strands of pearls and in full make-up.
Undergraduate comedy from Cambridge enlivened by cross-dressing male actors.
Description: [M.I.T., Cross-Dressing:] Tech Show 1927 “West is East.”
Boston: The Tudor Press, . 32pp. Program. 10 x 6¾ inches. Color pictorial wrappers; stapled. Half tone and other illustrations; ads. Vertical center crease; very good. [sold with:] [Np: np, 1927]. p. Small Broadside or Handbill. 9 x 6 inches. Half tone illustration. Minor wear at top; very good.
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