Stageworks Theatre showcases trans strength in ‘I Am My Own Wife’

RP McLaughlin as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. (Photo courtesy Stageworks Theatre)

TAMPA | Stageworks Theatre will present “I Am My Own Wife” Feb. 9-25, the award-winning play detailing the life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a trans woman who survived Germany’s Nazi and Communist regimes.

The one-person production is a key part of Stageworks’ 41st season and focuses on the art of survival. Among other accolades, playwright Doug Wright’s work won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

“Given the current environment in Florida, Stageworks Theatre believes that sharing stories about the LGBTQ community has never been more important in achieving its mission to ignite the human spirit and be a catalyst in eradicating intolerance through performing arts and education,” the company says. The show is based on Wright’s interviews with von Mahlsdorf, who died in 2002 at 74 years old.

“Prepare to be captivated by the extraordinary tale of survival and identity,” Stageworks’ synopsis reads. “This remarkable one-person play unfolds the life of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an intriguing and resilient figure who navigated the tumultuous periods of Nazi and Communist rule in Germany while preserving her identity as a transgender woman.”

“I Am My Own Wife” stars RP McLaughlin, a St. Petersburg native who uses he/they pronouns and has featured in local productions like “Shear Madness” and “Nunsense: A-Men!” at the Straz Center, “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” at Tampa Rep and “12 Angry Men” at Stageworks. The actor plays over 30 characters in the show, von Mahlsdorf and Wright included.

View rehearsal photos below, courtesy of Stageworks Theatre.

“RP McLaughlin is one of the most brilliantly talented actors I know,” Stageworks Producing Artistic Director Karla Hartley said in a press release. She also directs the production.

“They are the perfect blend of masculine and feminine ideals,” Hartley continued. “This production is about the transformative power of storytelling and its ability to foster empathy and connection among diverse communities.”

Tickets for “I Am My Own Wife” are on sale now and begin at $25. Opening night will include a post-show champagne reception with the opportunity to meet the cast for an additional cost and the Feb. 11 performance will feature a special talkback with Wright himself.

Stageworks’ 41st season will continue with “The Immigrant” March 15-31, “Our Town” April 26-May 12 and the LGBTQ+-centric “Falsettos” June 7-23. Like “I Am My Own Wife,” the company says each of the productions “feature a fresh, new look at one of America’s most well-known plays, along with stories that make a statement in favor of diversity.”

“I Am My Own Wife” plays Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Feb. 25 at Stageworks Theatre, located at 1120 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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