Peel the Limelight brings the life of legendary East-German museum collector turned LGBTQI icon to the stage with the production of the Broadway sensation “I Am My Own Wife” by Doug Wright


Directed by Jaime Zúñiga and starring James Laver, the play is based on the captivating true life story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (the iconic founder of the Gründerzeit Museum in Berlin) who, living as a transvestite, survived two of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century - the Nazis and the East German Communists. The production will open on May 4th and will run every Friday and Saturday of May. A special (free of charge) preview performance is scheduled on May 3rd for teachers and scholars interested in assessing the possibility of bringing a group of students. The show is recommended for audiences age 14 and older.


Born Lothar Berfelde, eleven years before the outbreak of WWII, the story of East German museum collector Charlotte von Mahlsdorf is a hidden pearl of queer history – not exempt from enigmas and controversies. A recipient of the Bundesverdienstkreutz from the German government for preserving the only surviving cabaret from the Weimar Republic in the basement of her museum, she was revered by the LGBTQI community as the legendary “Tranny Granny” while also gaining public condemnation for serving as an informant of the Stasi police during the Cold War. Charlotte passed away on April 3rd, 2002, thirteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall – but in "I Am My Own Wife" her story of survival shines on.

Production history

“I Am My Own Wife” premiered Off-Broadway in 2003 at Playwrights Horizons and transferred to the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway by the end of the year. Playwright Doug Wright received the Pulitzer Prize for the script while the Broadway production won Tony awards for Best Actor and Best Play. The play explores the wondrous journey each of us embark upon towards identity and reveals the blessing and the curse of recording history, particularly if it’s your own! Life is the story we curate from our memories - never an absolute truth, not quite a lie either.


Described as a one woman show performed by a man, “I Am My Own Wife” will feature Peel the Limelight veteran James Laver who will bring more than 30 characters to life in a tour de force performance; his previous roles with Peel include Lent in “The True History of… Julia Pastrana” by Shaun Prendergast and Uncle Peck in “How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel. The production will be directed by Jaime Zúñiga, known in Bangkok’s theatre scene for his role of Executive Producer at Peel the Limelight; his previous directorial works include “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde (Vietnam) and “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza (Taiwan).