Intimate Apparel

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lynn Nottage’s play “Intimate Apparel” tells the story of a 1905 successful African American seamstress who makes revolutionary undergarments for an array of women – from high-society socialites to enterprising ladies of the night. Her business, innovative skills, and utter discretion are much in demand, but at 35, her personal life has taken a backseat. “Intimate Apparel” explores her forbidden relationships with an Orthodox Jewish fabric vendor, her privileged and struggling clientele, and a long-distance suitor who will profoundly change her life.

  • "Intimate Apparel is ultimately a play about hope, and Arizona Theatre Company’s superb production is a testament to the power of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity... "
    - Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway
  • "Tracey N. Bonner’s tour de force performance brings immense depth and gravitas to her role and strikes perfect balances in shaping a character that is possessed of humility, dignity, and tenacity."
    - Herb Paine, Broadway World
  • "Oz Scott’s sharp direction keeps the play gliding along on an exquisite unit set that transforms into the play’s various locales with swift fluidity and definition."
    - Chris Curcio, Curtain Up Phoenix
  • "Nottage is a poetic writer and a powerful storyteller. ATC gives her play the production it deserves."
    - Kathleen Allen, Arizona Daily Star
  • "A must-see production."
    - Herb Paine, Broadway World

The run time of Intimate Apparel is approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission. For more information about our venues, click here.

Three Things to Know:

  1. Intimate Apparel ran Off-Broadway in 2004 and featured Viola Davis as Esther, the main character. 
  2. Lynn Nottage wrote Intimate Apparel as a tribute to her great-grandmother, a seamstress in early-20th-century New York.
  3. Lynn Nottage is the only woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice.

Click to See Performance Dates

About the Play — Intimate Apparel

Esther has spent years with her head down, working as a seamstress designing intimate apparel for women from all walks of life. They come with secrets and romances that she could only imagine. But now, one letter launches the beginning of her own adventure. Esther’s landlady, Mrs. Dickson, delivers the letter from a man named George from Panama. A swarm of questions buzz in her head. Who is George? What has he written? And most of all why has he written to her? The mystery and excitement are more than she can bear.

She finds that the rigorous endeavor of building the Panama Canal has left George lonely and longing for a connection beyond the trenches of his work. For a moment, Esther is hesitant to write back, but with encouragement from her clients, she responds. A series of exchanged letters grows into much more than a simple connection between pen pals as George courts her. For years, Esther has counted herself out of the game of love. Her only correspondence with a man has been with Mr. Marks, her fabric supplier. Their bond over fine fabrics is unique and touching. Even so, societal pressures and cultural traditions limit their ability to make it anything more than a friendship. Plus, after more than a decade of watching young women around her get married off, the promise of a marriage for her became implausible. So, she sewed up her hopes and dreams and began to save money to build a beauty shop for black women like herself.  

However, as George makes his way to the United States, a new dream emerges.
Continue reading …

About the Playwright: Lynn Nottage

Playwright and screenwriter Lynn Nottage is the first, and remains the only, woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice: in 2009 for her play Ruined, and in 2017 for her play Sweat. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world – including here, at Arizona Theatre Company. ATC co-produced Crumbs From The Table of Joy in 2000 with Dallas Theatre Center, for which Nottage did a Phoenix residency.

Most recently, Nottage premiered MJ the Musical at the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway, Clyde’s at Second Stage Theater on Broadway, and an opera adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel commissioned by The Met/Lincoln Center Theater. Continue Reading …

Meet the Director: Oz Scott

Legendary award-winning television, motion picture, and theatrical director Oz Scott returns to the stage to direct ATC’s Intimate Apparel. Scott has nearly five decades of experience directing hundreds of television episodes along with dozens of stage productions, made-for-TV movies, and motion pictures. 

Oz Scott  is an award-winning entertainment industry veteran and highly sought after director whose notable work includes hundreds of television episodes along with dozens of stage productions, made-for-TV movies, and motion pictures. One of the best in his field for nearly five decades, Scott has directed and produced Kingdom Business, Sacrifice, The District, and Black Lightning.  Continue Reading …

Intimate Apparel Cast

Intimate Apparel Creatives

On the Stage

In the Rehearsal Room

A Conversation with Intimate Apparel Director Oz Scott

Watch the video below to see an in-depth conversation with Oz Scott, moderated by Kasser Family Artistic Director Matt August, that took place at the Temple of Music and Art on January 11. Gain exclusive insights into the creation of Intimate Apparel as Scott shares his creative process in bringing a script from page to stage.

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