There was a time that not a single person in this country didn’t know the names Eva Tanguay and Julian Eltinge. Sadly, these two remarkable and revolutionary celebrities have all but disappeared from the annals of pop culture.
Writing The Headliners was more than just a reclamation project, though. As I fleshed out the characters of Eva and Julian in order to dramatically imagine their one joint stage act — a publicity stunt, during which they announced their “betrothal” — I discovered a story of two complex people caught in the crossfire of societal expectations about gender roles.
Today, we live in a world that seems worlds away from New York in the early 1900s. As we continue to see the suppression of LGBTQ expression, the weaponization of sexuality, and a continued debate about gender fluidity, though, I realize we may not be too far removed from it after all. We may even be backsliding. I do hope you’ll enjoy this story about two of the greatest entertainers of the early 20th century; but, I also hope this play makes you want to actively engage in the conversations we so desperately need to have in the here and now.
I’d like to thank the generous and talented production and administrative teams here at Cherry Creek Theatre, who helped to finally realize this play after its four-year development journey. I’d also like to dedicate this production to the memory of Doug Langworthy, without whom the play would never have been written.