MSU Theater Department Opens True Story of French Spy | MSUToday


The Michigan State University Department of Theater successfully concludes its 2021-22 season with “Monsieur d’Éon est une femme,” a biting political comedy and sexy, swashbuckling antics that tell the story of the true story of Charles d’Éon de Beaumont, an 18th century soldier, spy and diplomat for the French courts of Louis XV and XVI. The production runs April 21-24 at the Pasant Theater at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. Masks are optional but encouraged for members of the public.

Charles d’Éon de Beaumont was a member of the king’s secret society, the elite of dragoons, a freemason and reputedly one of the best swordsmen in France. d’Éon lived 49 years as a man and 33 as a woman, and the mystery of d’Éon’s gender was the subject of great debate (and bets) in London and Paris. Always an expert in espionage, d’Éon maintained the mystery, and it persists today. With guest appearances from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, King George III, the Marquis de Sade and Madame de Pompadour, this play presents the heroic and tragic story of a complex and fascinating character.

“d’Éon herself is a historical example of the modern phenomenon of public figures being bombarded with questions about their love lives and sexuality,” says Abby Grantham, a playwright student and sophomore arts and humanities major. “This piece offers a timely examination of our own judgment and questioning of others’ gender identities and sexualities while examining the political climate that still exists today.”

The opening night will include an after-show discussion on the evolution of female warriors in modern French literature with Valentina Denzel, Associate Professor of French Literature in the Department of Romantic and Classical Studies at Michigan State University.

Tickets for “Monsieur d’Éon est une femme” are $23.50 for general admission, $21.50 for MSU faculty and staff and seniors, and $13.50 for students. Tickets are available online at, at the Wharton Center box office or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.

Content Notice: This production includes violence, sexuality, adult language, fog, haze, gunshots and the sound of gunfire.

For more information about the show and other MSU Theater Department productions, visit


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