Already closed | 2h 0m | West Village


From 109 member  reviews
Members say: Relevant, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Ambitious, Funny

About the show

MCC Theater presents a new play about a black, sexagenarian transwoman named Mama Darleena Andrews teaching an etiquette class at a Chicago LGBTQ community center. More…

Mama quickly finds that the idealistic teachings of Emily Post clash with the real-life challenges of identity, poverty, and prejudice faced by her students. Inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen and her work at Chicago’s Center on Halsted, Philip Dawkins' 'Charm' asks, how do we lift each other up when the world wants to tear us down?

Member Reviews (109)


Relevant, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Ambitious, Funny
Avg Score

Great acting, Ambitious, Relevant, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a really well written, acted, directed, staged and very topical show. Well done!!

Don't see it if You have no interest in transgender issues or have no patience for anything even approaching political correctness.

Profound, Refreshing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Important

See it if you’re open-minded to LGBTQ—and really, human—issues. Or better, if you’re close-minded, as this is the medicine you need.

Don't see it if you’re looking for more of the same kind of story. This is a refreshing and necessary story told by voices that need to be heard.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Funny

See it if you enjoy a drama with humor and pathos. Some scenes were amusing and others very touching. Good acting and nice use of stage.

Don't see it if you don't like dialogue about gays or transgenders. You can enjoy this show just as a well done drama.

Also I did not expect to enjoy this show as much as I did. The characters s... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Poignant tale of a group of trans homeless youth, their issues and problems, & why they "act out". Strong-willed teacher carries the show.

Don't see it if You'd prefer a musical. (But there's a couple of awesome dance-breaks with music that I'd love to see made into a music video!)

Loveable characters, Absorbing, Entertaining, Relevant, Could have gone deeper

See it if you like being involved in the characters' lives; like good acting, especially Ms. Caldwell; comedic, touching, sweet and full of heart;

Don't see it if Enjoyable for those who believe all people are equal; for those who don't, see it and try to accept; play could benefit from more depth and

Also some improved scene transitions, especially toward the end.

Entertaining, Absorbing, Good casting, Funny, A bit nonsensical

See it if Interested in the lives and stories of people who are often marginalized, told in a touching, engaging way.

Don't see it if Don't want to acknowledge the struggles for transgender people, don't like a little fantasy, don't like the premise.

Nothing really new.

See it if You're interested in transgender plays.

Don't see it if You're not interested in transgender plays.

Also Also very confusing about genders of the characters.

Relevant, Ambitious, Cliched, Indulgent, Stereotypical

See it if you don't mind loud musical interludes, stereotypical trans and homosexual characters; a well-intentioned play which just went over the top

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with these gender types; you need a more concise story line with less fooling around; you dislike loud music.

Also This could have been a much better play. The concept was interesting, ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Relevant, Resonant, Quirky

See it if You enjoy LGBTQ drama.

Don't see it if You DO NOT enjoy LGBTQ dramas, it's about time you did!

Cliched, Disappointing, Entertaining, Overrated

See it if you want to support transgender theatre, which I do.But the plot was trite, most of the acting was weak, script had plot holes.

Don't see it if you were expecting THE play about transgender issues.This tries, but it misses the boat.Worth seeing but not what I had hoped it would be.

Edgy, Ambitious, Lots of heart, Needs trimming and tightening

See it if you enjoy seeing amateur actors in a very personal story, and are sympathetic to trans-gender themes and challenges.

Don't see it if you are expecting a polished script or consistent performances, or are sensitive to lots of yelling and coarse language.

Also This show has so much heart and the performances are sincere, but the ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Funny, Moving, Entertaining

See it if very touching & enlightening story about gender identification with wonderful characters; S. Caldwell was great as the leader of the class

Don't see it if you are close-minded; a little loud & confusing in the beginning (but once you learn more about the characters it is very moving)

Banal, Edgy, Excruciating, Indulgent, Insipid

See it if I believe , if you have nothing good to say.......

Don't see it if Very over the top, and far too many sequins!

Been there, done that, Cliched, Indulgent

See it if you're willing to suspend a lot of disbelief to get an insight into the LGBT community.

Don't see it if You've overdosed on LGBT issues, and are not familiar with current street parlance. Much of it I couldn't grasp, and I felt a bit cheated.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Great staging, Quirky

See it if you have an interest in LGBT issues. The actors bring so much life to the play.

Don't see it if you need a well-formatted story. This one just seems to end. The ill-fitting conclusion negates the emotional climb of the rest of the play.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if Wish to see a sector that's not often represented on stage.

Don't see it if Want a bit more to happen and not a fan of youth.

Entertaining, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You want to see a portrait of a heroine you haven't seen portrayed elsewhere , done with great heart

Don't see it if You have a problem with trans issues

Ambitious, Relevant

See it if you want to see a moving true story of a transgender woman who tried to bring hope and acceptance to a group of LGBTQ lost souls.

Don't see it if the subject matter makes you feel uncomfortable, or you are not interested in seeing portrayals of a group that society considers outcasts.

Entertaining, Quirky, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You're interested in POVs from various members of (and outside) the LGBTQ+ community. You enjoy a small amount of shmaltz with your drama.

Don't see it if You find anything to do with gender identity boring or irrelevant to you as an audience member.

Really funny, Really tragic, Really important truths

See it if You would love to laugh and realize you want to delve into the meaning behind the jokes, the pain and loneliness.

Don't see it if You alienate yourself from the LGBTQ community. You do not want to confront issues in our country around race, sexuality, poverty.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Fluffy

See it if Support hard-working, young actors. Real-world stories with humor and heart.

Don't see it if Close-minded.

Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if transgender teacher helps students feel better about themselves and their worth, and teaches that "charm" will allow one to fit in anywhere.

Don't see it if You are unaccepting of the LGBTQ Community, specifically the transgender community.

Entertaining, Funny, Relevant, Refreshing

See it if You want to see a play dealing with trans issues in a realistic, unsanitized way. There is one character to which everyone can relate.

Don't see it if You're disinterested in trans topics or easily offended.

Also I very much enjoyed the play until the end which I felt came out of no... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Riveting, Funny

See it if you like well written plays beautifully acted. It will make you laugh and cry. Each character is a gem.

Don't see it if you don't want to see Transgender issues on stage.


See it if A moving take on young transgender people and the terrible situations that confront them. The play should be seen by those interested.

Don't see it if The subject matter bothers you and their is little sympathy for transgender, life is hard on them and they need a supporting audience.

September 18th, 2017
"However predictable their arcs, these characters are far more fascinating than the usual lifeboat crew...Whenever 'Charm' focuses on their lives outside of class it maintains at least a documentary interest. But within the class, the noisy action—all shade and byplay—is too often superficial. Th...
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September 18th, 2017
"Dawkins and director Will Davis juggle a colorful array of characters with skill, and the actors, several of whom are transgender, form a wonderfully harmonious ensemble, especially when creating cacophony...Although the play’s ending is somewhat pat, the last scene of its first act—a tense, rev...
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September 18th, 2017
"A truly outstanding company of performers...Davis knits them into a clearly cohesive and affectionate ensemble, while allowing each of them to shine...The intelligence of 'Charm' is that it’s actually structured around Mama's awakening, as much as it is around the the transformation of the Youth...
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September 18th, 2017
"A bona-fide charmer...Davis directs a terrific ensemble cast in this bittersweet fantasy of perfect comity within the LGBTQ community...The characters aren’t as stereotyped as they sound, and the uniformly excellent cast humanizes every last one of them...For all its soft satire and good-natured...
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