From Library Journal
The research behind this substantial work is exceptionally impressive. It spans ancient times to modern ones, exploring cross-dressing and drag culture in theater and performance practice, with related references to art and world traditions. Senelick (drama, Tufts Univ.) presents hundreds of examples that dissect the subject with its various underlying myths, meanings, and customs, studying the historical significance and sexual implications of each. From the Greeks and Shakespeare to the lineage of female impersonators to the more current M. Butterfly, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Barry Humphries's most popular Dame Edna Everage, Senelick studies so many facets of the topic that many readers will be startled by its enormity. Despite such eye-catching chapter/section titles as "Skirting Christ," "Stages of Sodomy," "Putting on the Drag," and "Queens of Clubs," as well as the provocative nature of the subject matter itself, this is definitely a serious scholarly work with all of the trimmings and should be of prime interest to large academic, theater, and entertainment history collections.DCarol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Changing Room
is the first major history of cross-dressing in theater. Award-winning theater historian and critic, Laurence Senelick, synthesizes a vast array of material from archival reserach and a lifetime of theater-going to provide a monumental record of cross-dressing on the stage. With 100 rare photographs, The Changing Room
offers a voyeuristic vision of a lifestyle watched by many, but lived by few, and a compulsively readable, authoritative account of the theater at its most sexual.
Senelick...has written a work whose comprehensiveness, depth, and originality are only hinted at in the catchy title..Choice, April 2001
Senelick's strong opinions, his focus on performace as fundamentally erotic, make the book absorbing and provocative..Choice, April 2001
...every serious scholar will want this book and every library collection in the field must own it..Choice, April 2001
Hard-bitten libertarians and libertines alike will delight in this encyclopedic work from respected scholar of all things stagy and gay, Laurence Senelick. This is a book that doesn't make a demand for tolerance, just common sense. His prose [is] always droll and incisive. [A] superb piece of research..Metrotimes