FASHION: Americana

from the play by ANNA CORA MOWATT

At first the premise seems perilously cute. The time is "nippy fall, 1973," and the ladies of the "Long Island Masque and Wig Society" gather to run through a rehearsal of their latest production — a musical based on an 1845 play, Fashion; or Life in New York, by Anna Cora Mowatt, who was America's first woman playwright. So this is the 19th century Americana of Mrs. Mowatt's quaint, forgotten classic refracted through the 20th century Americana of suburban matrons in amateur theatricals. Except that the players in Manhattan's McAlpin Rooftop Theater are all...