GALA Hispanic Theatre presents the Washington, DC premiere of SEÑORITA Y MADAME The Secret War of Elizabeth Arden & Helena Rubinstein by Gustavo Ott English Translation by Heather McKay Directed by Consuelo Trum

 Entertainment   Wed, January 06, 2016 06:20 AM

Washington, D.C.  - GALA proudly continues its 40th anniversary season with the Washington, DC premiere of Señorita y Madame: The Secret War of Elizabeth Arden & Helena Rubinstein, a stinging comedy of the personal and business rivalry of two 20th century female icons by Gustavo Ott. Staged by guest director Consuelo Trum from Caracas, Venezuela, the production will run from February 4 through February 28, 2016 in Spanish with English surtitles. GALA is located at 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010. Discounted parking is available at the Giant Food garage on Park Road, NW.

With biting humor, Ott explores hatred and admiration through the rivalry between the two giants of beauty and business: Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein (known to many as “Madame”). Against the vibrant historical backdrop of the zenith of industrialization, the rise of Fascism, The Great Depression, two World Wars and the invention of advertising, both became pioneers in marketing and influenced how women saw and presented themselves. Both rose from humble beginnings, battled society and each other to become two of the wealthiest and most influential women in the world, and fought for gender equality and against racism, sexism and misogyny, even before women could vote.

Señorita y Madame won fourth place in the prestigious Concours d’Ecriture Theatrale Prix du Paris in 2009.  “I wanted to write about exceptional women, and who could be better than these two great female entrepreneurs who were ahead of their times,” says playwright Ott. “Implementing business strategies that continue to be used today, Helena exploited the concept of beauty as a transcendent and endless desire that still defines femininity. Her clash with Arden revealed how dissatisfaction and competition with someone you secretly admire can lead to success.”

Showtimes for Señorita y Madame are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm, and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm. Noche de GALA and Press Night will be Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 8 pm and will be hosted by Angela Franco, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Student or Group Matinees will be held on February 11, February 12, February 18, and February 19 at 10:30 am. For more information on GALA's Student Matinee programs, please call 202-234-7174 or e-mail

This production is possible with the generous support of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and The Share Fund, a donor advised fund of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region.  The Noche de GALA reception is made possible by El Tio Grill and Edible Arrangements.


Gustavo Ott is a Venezuelan playwright, novelist and journalist who now resides in the Washington, DC area. He has written more than 35 plays, five of which GALA has produced previously, including the commissioned musical Momia en el clóset: The Return of Eva Perón, with music by Mariano Vales, which was nominated for the Charles McArthur Award at the 2009 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical; Pavlov: Dos segundos antes del crimen; Nunca dije que era una niña buena; Tu ternura Molotov; and Divorciadas, evangélicas y vegetarianas. His other plays include Pony; Passport; Corazón pornográfico; Gorditas; and Lírica.

His plays have been translated into English, Italian, Portuguese, German, French, Danish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese, Turkish, Catalan and Creole. Among his awards are the Tirso de Molina International Playwriting Prize (1998, Spain); Ricardo López Aranda International Playwriting Prize (2003, Spain); Venezuelan Ministry of Culture Theater Prize (2007); Third Prize IDB Award “Hispanics in USA” (2010, Washington, DC); and the FATEX Award for Playwriting (2012, Spain).  Mr. Ott participated in the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa (1993), the New Work Program at the Public Theater in New York (2002 and 2003); the Residence Internationale Aux Recoilets (2006, Paris); the Cité Internationale des Artes de Paris Residency (2010); and the Playwriting Program La Mousson D’Ete and La Mousson a Paris in the Comedie Française.


Featured in the cast are Ana Verónica Muñoz from New York as Helena Rubinstein and Luz Nicolás as Elizabeth Arden.  Ms. Muñoz appeared at GALA in Yerma (2005), Los pecados de Sor Juana and Te quiero muñeca; and Ms. Nicolás, a GALA company member, most recently appeared in Yerma, Mariela en el desierto, and Los empeños de una casa (all in 2015). Also appearing in the cast are GALA company members Carlos Castillo, who was seen in Los empeños de una casa and La señorita de Tacna; Lorena Sabogal, who most recently was in Living Out and El desdén con el desdén; and Cecilia de Feo who appeared in Puro Tango II and El desdén con el desdén. Making her first main stage appearance at GALA is Thais Menéndez, who performed in GALita’s Nuevas aventuras de Don Quijote this season.

Consuelo Trum (Director) is a director, actor and producer from Venezuela. Among the plays that she has directed are two other plays by Gustavo Ott: Dos amores y un bicho and Monstruos en el clóset, ogros bajo la cama (Teatro Repico). Other directing credits in Venezuela include Stop Kiss (Ananás Producción); Pedro y el Capitán, La Nona, El zoológico de cristal, Medea, Antígona, Ida y vuelta, La visita (Teatro Repico); La madre pasota, and  La zapatera prodigiosa (IUDET); and La novia es mi hijo and Me sacó la piedra  (Producción Teatrela). She was also Assistant Director for Escrito y sellado (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, New York) and has directed several independent productions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ms. Trum has a Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College in New York, and a Masters in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Scenic and Projections Designer is Christopher Annas-Lee, who designed lighting for Yerma at GALA this season;  Mary Keegan is Lighting Designer;  Robert Groghan, who designed for Cancún at GALA is Costume Designer; Claudia Aponte is Sound Designer and Composer, and Brian Gillick is Properties Designer. Lynda Brice-Lewis is Stage Manager and Rueben Rosenthal is Technical Director. Hugo Medrano is Producer.


Individual tickets are $38 on Thursday, Saturday Matinees, and Sundays; $42 on Friday and Saturday night. Senior tickets are $26 and Students/Military are $20. Additional discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Noche de GALA tickets (including reception) are $50/person, $90/couple, and $15 for subscribers.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Call (202) 234-7174, or visit

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