THE STORY: When Mama Darleena Andrews—a 67-year-old, black, transgender woman—takes it upon herself to teach an etiquette class at Chicago’s LGBTQ community center, the idealistic teachings of Emily Post clash with the very real life challenges of identity, poverty, and prejudice faced by her students. Inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen and her work at Chicago’s Center on Halsted, CHARM asks—how do we lift each other up when the world wants to tear us down?
“CHARM is an uplifting LGTBQ fairy tale…[an] urgent dialogue about identification and acceptance…CHARM is a celebration, a story rooted in reality but touched with a kind of optimist fantasy: It is attempting to create the world it wants us to live in.” —New York Magazine. “…[a] funny, heart-warming play…[a] bona-fide charmer…The playwright’s command of language puts a nice kick in his dialogue.” —Variety. “…bold and tender…CHARM is inspired by the real-life work of Miss Gloria Allen, but it is richer and more complex than mere homage. Dawkins…juggle[s] a colorful array of characters with skill…” —Time Out NY. “[CHARM] is that rare play that is simultaneously funny, smart, and emotionally gripping…Dawkins leaves us swimming in crucially relevant questions:…at what point does etiquette become less about fostering comfort and respect, and more about enforcing an exclusionary class system?…CHARM exercises our brains, [hearts], and our funny bones, resulting in a very satisfying night at the theater.” —TheaterMania.com.