July 1, 2024

Issue Ten: A Requiem for 'Lempicka'

“A painting is not a woman” criticizes Fillipo Marinetti (George Abud) in Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould’s Broadway musical Lempicka, a telling of the life and times of the artist Tamara de Lempicka (Eden Espinosa), whose signature Art Deco paintings you have no doubt seen graced on a wall in a friend’s living room, or on a mug or bedsheet. And though the titular character protests “But I’m painting a woman,” Marinetti mansplains to her nonetheless: “A painting is a flat surface covered with paint. Colors ground to dust suspended in oil, smeared across cloth. That’s all. Everything within your control.” She scoffs, “Wouldn’t that be nice?”
When I was first approached to write a piece about Lempicka, I asked dear friend and Tony Award-winning singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell to write it with me. We’ve both worked quite intimately with Rachel Chavkin, Director of Lempicka, on the Broadway musical Hadestown, which Anaïs wrote. I forget when Anaïs and Rachel first met, but I became the Associate Choreographer on Hadestown in 2016, and we’ve all worked together since.
I had an affair with Tamara de Lempicka. It was both one-sided and long after her death. I met her onstage as the survivalist protagonist in a musicalized retelling of her life, aptly named Lempicka by Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould that was–blink-if-you-missed-it-because-Broadway-is-the-mean-streets–absolutely fucking fantastic.

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