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Cindy Marinangel Brings Marlene Dietrich Essence to The Stage

Cindy Marinangel Brings Marlene Dietrich Essence to The Stage
Cindy Marinangel

Cindy Marinangel photo by Sylvia Hoke

When I first saw Willard Manus one women show Marlene, starring the highly watchable Cindy Marinangel, there were problems. The direction was sub par, the writing needed to be honed and the show was too big for the theatre. A year later at the Triad Theatre, with new direction (Gary Swanson for half of the show), tighter script and the still winning Ms. Marinangel, the show shines much brighter, though I would still tweak the script and get Mr. Swanson to work on the second half.

Russell Daisey, Cindy Marinangel

Russell Daisey and Cindy Marinangel Photo by Rose Billings

Marinangel embodies the legend know as Marlene Dietrich. It is May 1960 and Dietrich dressed as a man, enters the stage door of Berlin’s Tatiana Palest Theatre. She is there to put on a concert, the first since fleeing the Hitler regime in 1939. She has received death threats from Nazi sympathizers, who resent the Hollywood star for spending much of WWII entertaining American soldiers on the front lines. In their eyes she is a traitor. As Dietrich gets ready for her show, gun in hand a reporter enters, threats are made, ghosts emerge and songs are purred as only Dietrich could do.

Cindy Marinangel, Catherine Ball

Cindy Marinangel, Catherine Ball Photo by Rose Billings

In a time where it wasn’t “PC” correct to speak against political dissension, Dietrich was outspoken about her political views and though she loved Germany, left. This German actress who was known for her sultry femme fetal persona was more noted for her humanitarian efforts during the war. For her work on improving morale on the front lines during the war, she received several honors from the United States, France, Belgium, and Israel. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Dietrich, the ninth greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema. Marinangel draws the audience into Dietrich’s world, filled with vulnerability and fear.

Russell Daisy, Cindy Marinangel, Errol Rappaport, Nellie McKay, Dr. Judy Kuriansky

Russell Daisy, Cindy Marinangel, Errol Rappaport, Nellie McKay, Dr. Judy Kuriansky Photo by Rose Billings

As she prepares for the evening’s performance in her dressing room we are invited to learn about this fascinating woman. We stay with her until that winning performance, that she wins the audience over.

Cindy Marinangel, Errol Rappaport,

Cindy Marinangel, Errol Rappaport Photo by Rose Billings

Russell Daisey brings the musical selections to life and Marinangel’s college best friend Catherine Ball, does a mean German accent.

Nellie McKay

Nellie McKay photo by Rose Billings

Marinangel has learned to channel Dietrich and I would love to see her go even farther with the poses that made Marlene, so renown. Marinangel sultry performance brings this bi-sexual woman who often preferred women to men, to life. She brings out the coldness and vulnerability in equal measures. Your eyes are dawn to Marinangel, who embodies that “it” factor illusive quality, just as Marlene did.

Kudos Dr Judy Kuniansky, Errol Rappaport, Paul Sladkus and Lou Martinez, who filled the Triad to capacity. This show has a life and brings back a legend, a star a woman to be remembered.

Marlene: The Triad Theatre, closed.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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