SOUTH PORTLAND — The Portland Players will start off the new year with a presentation of a play unlike any other: “Casa Valentina,” which runs from Jan. 24 to Feb. 9.

Nestled in the Catskills — 1962 land of dirty dancing and Borscht Belt comedy — an inconspicuous bungalow colony catered to a special clientele: heterosexual men who delighted in dressing and acting as women. These white-collar professionals would discreetly escape their families to spend their weekends safely inhabiting their chosen female alter-egos. But given the opportunity to share their secret lives with the world, the members of this sorority had to decide whether the freedom gained by openness was worth the risk of personal ruin. Based on real events and infused with Fierstein’s trademark wit, this moving, insightful and delightfully entertaining work offers a glimpse into the lives of a group of “self-made women” as they search for acceptance and happiness in their own Garden of Eden.

The production is directed by Charlie Marenghi, who most recently directed “Our Town” for Portland Players, as well “The Boys Next Door.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Ticket prices are $20, adults; $18, senior citizens; $15, students and children. Sunday, Jan. 26, is Student Sunday: all student/child tickets to the 2:30 p.m. matinee performance are $6. An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance will be presented at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2. Tickets are available online, or by calling 207-799-7337. The Portland Players, Maine’s oldest community theater, is at 420 Cottage Road. For more information, visit

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