“Courtesan” is one of those words that’s due for a comeback. Stage one: feature it prominently in a cultural artifact likely to be widely disseminated. Dangerous Beauty, a new musical opening for previews this Tuesday, is poised to do just that. Adapted from the New Regency screenplay The Honest Courtesan (which itself is based on a scholarly book of the same name), Dangerous Beauty tells the (mostly) true story of Veronica Franco, a courtesan-poet in 16th century Venice. Veronica, forced into the profession when her family’s fortune evaporates, finds that the courtesan lifestyle offers her a great deal of cultural capital: education, access to influential figures, etc. Though things aren’t so great in Venice (war, plague, the Inquisition), Veronica does pretty well for herself—until she’s tried for witchcraft. Intriguing!
Tuesday, February 1 – Sunday, March 13
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena
$29 – $100; pasadenaplayhouse.org; 626.356.7529