That, Shear says, is just a way to reach a diverse audience. "People simply respond to the flawed, the imperfect, standing up, raising the flag and yelling "Excelsior!' " she says. "Look at 'The Full Monty.' Almost everybody feels they're not perfect. They can relate."
Indeed, "Dirty Blonde" is most effective in intercutting scenes between the perfectionism of the West-ian cosmos--in which sex has no consequences, one always wins, and love is a commodity--and the clumsy world of Jo and Charlie. Yet, as the all-too-human couple move toward connection and intimacy, the image of the calcified West, now in her 80s and living in a dream world in her Hollywood apartment, is revealed as ludicrous and false. The play quotes from a scathing review of "Sextette" in the New York Times that Mae was "like a plump sheep that's been stood on its hind legs and smeared with pink plaster." But Shear is adamant that the play does not mean to judge West's choices. "I wouldn't presume to judge her, to analyze her," she says fiercely.