Blue Pianist/Singer

We're making an independent film about the forgotten queer history of the 1920s. Our crew is made up of people who are queer, nonbinary, trans, or POC, and/or combinations of the above. We are a very thoughtful crew who'd like to shed light on this forgotten history, by highlighting the talents of people today. We're looking to cast someone to play the role of Gladys Bentley in our short film.

Gladys Bentley was a celebrated pianist and singer in Harlem in the 1920s who was famous for performing in tuxedos, and singing saucy songs about dating women. She married a woman in the 1920s and call herself a lesbian. She also identified herself as someone who "inhabited that half-shadow no-man's land which exists between the boundaries of the two sexes.” Gladys didn't have the language then, but based on her masculine-presenting appearance on and off stage and this comment about existing between the sexes, we wonder if Gladys might have identified as a trans man by today's standards, or perhaps as nonbinary. We're not sure if we'll ever know, but Gladys Bentley as a performer and queer icon is something of a forgotten treasure, and we'd like to bring Gladys' memory to life by filming someone lip-sing one of her songs: Boogie N My Woogie on a piano in a venue. 

Ideally, the person would play piano, and physically look similar to Gladys, as well as be able to either sing & play the piano, or lip-sing a performance to one of her recorded songs. Because Gladys' gender identity is a bit ambiguous, this role could go to someone who identifies as a woman, a nonbinary person, a trans person, or who performs as a drag king.

Production Info: We plan to recreate a performance scene at a venue in NYC with no audience, in a fully covid-19 protected venue in early August. It'll be a half-day shoot in total. In terms of compensation, it's an indie production, but we're doing our best, and everyone on our crew has agreed to be paid the same $250 rate for their day. So, the rate for the performer who plays Gladys is $250 for the half-day that they'd be needed, plus transport and lunch. Hair & makeup would need to be done by the performer on the day of the shoot. We'll take care of the costuming. Please email a video clip (shot on an iPhone is fine) of you performing one of Gladys’ songs to: [email protected]. The sooner you send the clip, the better, because we'll need to outfit you asap! If we like the video, we’ll contact you with further details. Thank you! MC

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