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Queens-based production company bringing ‘Five Women Wearing the Same Dress’ to Maspeth theater

Mar. 8, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

The Queens-based City Gate Productions will be putting on six performances of Alan Ball’s play “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” at the Moose Lodge Theatre in Maspeth from March 24 to April 2.

The production company has also partnered with Queens artist Sandra Vucicevic, whose works representing the characters in the play will be available for viewing at the shows.

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Photo by City Gate Productions

The play follows the titular five bridesmaids at a wedding in Tennessee during the 1990s. Throughout the afternoon of the wedding, they bond over a shared reluctance not to join in the festivities through stories of surprise, humor, irreverence and vulnerability celebrating women’s truth, humanity and heart.

The play marks Amanda Montoni’s directorial debut with City Gate Productions. She originally pitched the play as a passion project to City Gate Productions.

According to Montoni, she first discovered the play while in college as she sifted through the monologue book of a friend of hers. When she came across a monologue from one of the play’s characters, she instantly fell in love with the writing of it, as well as the character’s complexity.

“It is a story of five different women finding refuge from a wedding reception,” Montoni said. “They discover that they’re all very, very different and, in the end, help each other work through some issues. It’s a story of harmony and connection. The cast is just incredible. They’re telling the stories of life essentially.”

According to City Gate Productions Executive Director Thom Harmon, telling this story helps to fulfill their mission of creating exceptional live theater across the borough. He said this play will help challenge the mind, inspire the heart and reflect the diversity of Queens.

“Over last summer we had a call for proposals [for plays],” Harmon said. “A lot of things go into choosing a show. We have to make sure we can get the rights and it’s within a scope that we think we can actually accomplish with the venue partners that we have. But thankfully that all came together with Amanda’s show, because frankly it was our play selection committee’s number one pick from the get-go. It felt very much like a City Gate show: something that was character-driven, something that was funny but also wasn’t afraid to tackle some heavier themes and moments. It’s well-written and it’s an actor piece.”

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Photo by Sandra Vucicevic

Harmon said the idea of partnering with a visual artist like Vucicevic for shows dates back to when City Gate Productions was first founded in 2021. This idea was first put into action during the last play that City Gate Productions put on, “Rabbit Hole.” Original pieces, as well as one inspired by the show, were put out on display at the venue, with many patrons finding that they added so much to the show.

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Photo by Sandra Vucicevic

Due to the success was of “Rabbit Hole,” and the fact that the theatrical and visual artists are promoting each other, Harmon said the intention is to partner with a Queens visual artist for every play they put on. As he searched for the right female artist to work with this play, Harmon was eventually referred to Vucicevic.

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Photo by Sandra Vucicevic

“To me this was very interesting to collaborate,” Vucicevic said. “My work is about finding the connection between two realities: the world that we know and what’s lying behind that world. These five women are like five different worlds that are interconnected. Creating their inner worlds would be my task here. I created five different paintings that are abstract but somehow show their personalities. Even though they are so different, they are also the same.”

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Photo by Sandra Vucicevic

With March being Women’s History Month and with wedding season around the corner, Harmon views this play as being perfect for this time of year.

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Photo by Sandra Vucicevic

Tickets for the play are currently available at Citygateproductions.org. Tickets cost $20 for students and seniors and $25 for adults. Shows are set for March 24, 25 and 31 and April 1 at 8 p.m. and March 26 and April 2 at 3 p.m.

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