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|Gay fare prominent in local theater this season|
|Written by Jim Farmer|
|Friday, 16 September 2011 00:00|
The fall theater season includes many productions with significant LGBT interest making their local bows.
A few of the hot button productions will appear at 7 Stages, which produced the gay-themed “Mr. Universe” earlier this spring. First up is Dale Daigle’s “All Blues,” set in the Jim Crow South, which runs Sept. 22 – Oct. 9.
It’s based on the true story of Ray Sprigle, a white journalist who disguises himself as a black man for a month to report on the black experience first-hand. Out actor Patrick McColery is in the cast —ironically, he portrays the role of a racist in the drama. The show is making its world premiere here.
Gay performance artist Tim Miller will also be making a return engagement to the ATL after a long absence with his “Lay of the Land” at the Little Five Points company, Nov. 10 -13. Of course, he will have lots to say of a political nature.
“‘Lay of the Land’ friskily gets at that feeling of gay folks being perpetually on trial, on the ballot, and on the menu!” says Miller.
As he is also frequently naked onstage, expect him to find a way to drop trou as well. The last time he was in town he was faced with the fact that his male lover was about to be deported, so expect updates on that front too.
One of the other stand-out shows of the season is expected to be Georgia Shakespeare’s “The Glass Menagerie,” by gay playwright Tennessee Williams, set for Oct. 6–30. It stars Mary Lynn Owen as Amanda Wingfield and Bethany Anne Lind as Laura. It will be curious to see how Tom (played here by Joe Knezevich) is portrayed – in some productions his sexual orientation is more than hinted at.
It was just announced, though, that the company is in a financial crunch and might not be able to produce the show unless it receives $150,000 by Sept. 23. Let’s all hope the company can climb back.
Sarah Ruhl’s “In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play,” being staged by Synchonicity from Oct. 28 to Nov. 19, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and three Tony Awards. It’s a sex comedy, as well as a period piece set in the 1880s, with a feminine awakening sensibility as well as lesbian moments between its female characters. And it has the best title of the season.
Actor’s Express never shies away from LGBT issues. Openly gay Freddie Ashley directs “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them,” Oct. 27 – Nov. 26. Written by A. Rey Pamatmat, it’s a coming of age drama about a 16 year old boy, taking care of his sister on a rural farm, who falls in love with his male best friend.
Elsewhere, gay actor Glenn Rainey, off of a celebrated turn in Theater of the Stars’ “Guys and Dolls,” comes to the Aurora Theatre for “Grey Area” to play a theater critic/radio announcer who gets kidnapped after he makes an unflattering on-air comment. Set for Oct. 6–30, it’s directed by Sherri Sutton, who is lesbian. Gay playwrights (and couple) John Gibson and Anthony Morris are also expected to open their political comedy “Tea Party” in October.
Musicals are popular this fall both in local and traveling productions. Fabrefaction, one of the newest companies in town, will stage gay composer Stephen Sondheim’s masterwork “Sweeney Todd” (Oct. 25 – Nov. 13). Among traveling shows, two of the notables are Atlanta mainstays. “Mamma Mia” is back Nov. 2– 6; of note, besides the infectious Abba music, is that one of the male characters turns out to be gay. “Wicked,” the predecessor to “The Wizard of Oz,” opened Sept. 14 at the Fox Theatre and runs through Oct. 9. On Broadway, it made stars of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.
This is just the tip of the fall theater iceberg – check local listings for complete schedules.
“The Glass Menagerie”
“Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them”
“In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play”
“Lay of the Land”
Top photo: Gay performance artist Tim Miller brings his ‘Lay of the Land’ to Atlanta’s 7 Stages in November. (Publicity photo)
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