Mae West: "Sex" on Broadway

EPISODE 182 Mae West (star of I'm No Angel and She Done Him Wrong) would come to revolutionize the idea of American sexuality, challenging and lampooning ideas of femininity while wielding a suggestive and vicious wit.

But before she was America's diamond girl, she was the pride of Brooklyn! In this podcast, we bring you the origin story of this icon and the wacky events of 1927 that brought her brand of swagger to the attention of the world.The Brooklyn girl started on the vaudeville stage early, following the influences of performers like Evelyn Nesbitt and Eva Tanguay.

She soon proved too smart for the small stuff and set her aim towards Broadway -- but on her terms.West's play Sex introduced her devastating allure in the service of a shocking tale of prostitution.

It immediately found an audience in 1926 even if the critics were less than enamored. But it's when she devised an even more shocking play -- The Drag -- that city leaders became morally outraged and vowed to shut her down forever.

From Bushwick to Midtown, from the boards of Broadway to the workhouse of Welfare Island -- this is the story of New York's ultimate Sex scandal.

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