Intimate Apparel crosses several genres. It's a romance. It's a race drama. There are even moments of humor. Most of all, says Bloom, it's a story about "an indomitable African American spirit." And that's what intrigued him. The poor and illiterate protagonist, Esther, makes fancy lingerie for clients, both upscale (bored white socialites) and not-so-upscale (a black prostitute who longs for something better). A young Orthodox Jewish immigrant, a friendly landlady, and meddling, well-meaning customers round out the roles. "They're historical American characters," says Bloom. "It's a traditional immigrant tale about African American and white immigrants making their way through the world."
Best of all, says Bloom, Nottage's play, first performed in 2004, is a classic piece of American theater. "It has an optimistic spirit," he says. "In a way, it's about ordinary people who are tremendously willful, strong, and intelligent."
Feb. 7-8, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thu., Feb. 23, 1:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 7. Continues through March 5