DIETRICH AND THE RED SPY
music by Stephen Keeling
lyrics by Jonathan Miles
book by Jonathan Miles and Stephen Keeling

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Working in Berlin theatre in the mid-1920s, Marlene Dietrich falls for the playboy Communist, Otto Katz. Dietrich also introduces the timid and somewhat ugly Greta Garbo to the bi-sexual decadence of Berlin. When Garbo is whisked off to Hollywood by MGM and Otto is called to Moscow to train as a spy, Dietrich – a young mother – is stuck in Berlin. Otto dreams – though it is impossible to establish – that he is the father of Marlene’s child. This preoccupation haunts him for the rest of his life. Soon, Hollywood beckons Marlene Dietrich where she is hailed as ‘Paramount’s answer to Garbo’.
During the early 1930s, Dietrich and Katz – on opposite sides of the world - keep in contact by letter while both seek diversion in endless sexual adventure. In Hollywood, Garbo tries to avoid Dietrich, yet both bi-sexual stars dabble on the fringes of Hollywood’s secret lesbian network, ‘The Sewing Circle’. When the exotic lesbian playwrite, Mercedes de Acosta, arrives in Hollywood Garbo is interested but eventually abandons Mercedes to return to Sweden. Hollywood scriptwriter Salka Viertel throws Mercedes into Marlene’s arms at exactly the moment that Otto Katz - sent by his spymasters - arrives in America. He poses as an anti-Nazi freedom fighter but is, in fact, fund-raising for Moscow. He vividly presents his exploits to Hollywood - a star turn performing to the stars…




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