Capital Fringe 2014 Review: ‘The Hello Girls: Unknown Heroines of WWI’

(Best of the Capital Fringe)

Ellouise Schoettler enlightens us in her one-woman show.

US history provided little to inform us about the role of women in “The Great War.” However, Ellouise Schoettler illuminates this role in her one-woman show, The Hello Girls: Unknown Heroines of WWI, at the cozy CAOS on F, a particularly nice space for the kick-off of this summer’s Capital Fringe Festival.


When the call went out for French speaking American telephone operators, over 200 women eagerly responded and joined the Army Signal Corp. Schoettler, who is also a fine actressplays three of these gutsy female combatants, Ally, Grace and Millie, who had knowledge of French and a desire to serve their country. Sadly they were not recognized as veterans until the late 1970s.

Hello Girls is their story told with a personal touch by Schoettler who spoke with the audience following her portrayals. Her introduction to these poignant tales originated with an interest in feminism and recognition for women veterans.

Schoettler is a born storyteller and a joy to watch on stage. Her only props were three pairs of glasses for each of the three women she played. The capacity crowd (about 30 in the audience) was charmed by her heartfelt tale, fine for family viewing. It’s a great education resource, and the right place to cheer on The Hello Girls and their story.

Running Time: 60 minutes.

The Hello Girls: Unknown Heroines of WWI plays through July 26 at Caos on F- 923 F Street NW, in Washington, D.C. For performance information and to purchase tickets, go their Capital Fringe Page.


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Carolyn Kelemen
Carolyn Kelemen is an award-winning arts critic and feature writer for the Baltimore Sun, Howard County Times, and Columbia Flier - 45 years and counting. The Columbia resident earned her Masters Degree in Dance at Mills College in California and has taught college and graduate courses at Goucher College, Loyola, the College of Notre Dame and Howard Community College. A professional dancer throughout the East Coast in the late 50s and early 60s, she was trained in classical ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap. Her TV/film career includes MPT’s “ weeknight Alive” and years of local productions in the Maryland/DC area. Carolyn is a longtime member of the Dance Critics of America, the American Theatre Critics Association. She has proudly produced the “A Labor of Love” AIDS benefits since 1988.


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