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|Spring Theater: Plenty of gay on local stages|
|Written by Jim Farmer|
|Friday, 15 April 2011 00:00|
Theater fans looking for LGBT-themed shows this spring won’t be disappointed. From Oscar Wilde to naked bodybuilders to puppets, the season is hopping.
Gay playwright Jim Grimsley’s “Mr. Universe,” presented by 7 Stages May 26 to June 12, is one of the don’t-miss shows of the next few months. Grimsley’s 1987 play is about a hooker and two drag queens who find a naked man in the streets of New Orleans, alone and bleeding, and decide to take him home.
The production stars Doyle Reynolds and Don Finney, both openly gay, and is directed by Del Hamilton. According to Grimsley, this is the first local production of the play since its original bow at 7 Stages.
Actor’s Express is staging the gayest play the company has done in a while: David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss” (May 12 – June 11).
Dealing with the relationship between Oscar Wilde and his lover Bosie during Wilde’s indecency trial, it stars Ashley and Clifton Guterman and is directed by David Crowe — all three are gay. This is Crowe’s first show at the Express since the gay-themed “Beautiful Thing,” and Ashley is excited about Crowe’s return and his own role as Wilde.
“It’s my first time on stage in seven years,” he says, “and it’s great to be directed by David.”
Atlanta audiences apparently can’t get enough of “Avenue Q.” The naughty musical with a human and puppet cast, as well as a major gay character, will be performed at Horizon Theatre May 20 – July 3, a year after being staged at Cobb Energy Centre, this time with a local cast.
“Rent,” another beloved show, is back June 10–26, courtesy of Atlanta Lyric Theatre. East Village twenty-something artists, some gay, fill the cast in a musical that holds up remarkably well.
Another popular musical making an encore this summer is “The Color Purple,” adapted from the book from Alice Walker. Unlike the movie of the novel, the lesbian relationship between Celie and Shug is not watered down. The musical had its world premiere at the Alliance, then moved to Broadway and won a Tony for actress LaChanze. It stages June 15–19 at the Fox.
No LGBT content is present in the touring version of “Hair” but its tale of hippies midst the sexual revolution of the turbulent ‘60s will draw crowds May 17–22 at the Fox. It’s coming to town via the Broadway Across America series.
After the success of their long running “Peachtree Battle,” John Gibson and Anthony Morris are opening a new play called “Tea Party” in June. It’s a world premiere comedy with a political backdrop and laughs, says Gibson.
Also be on the lookout for Onstage Atlanta’s “The Great Trailer Park Musical” June 17 – July 16, directed by DeWayne Morgan, which combines high camp and musical hijinks.
Top photo: Atlanta gay playwright Jim Grimsley’s ‘Mr. Universe’ opens in May. (via Facebook)
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