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|Spring Preview: Theater menu full of LGBT goodies|
|by Jim Farmer|
|March 15, 2012 23:57|
With a world premiere musical, several plays nominated for Tony’s, and a number of campy delights, Atlanta’s spring theater season promises a lot for LGBT audiences.
Lesbian director Sheri Sutton is helming one of the most anticipated productions – Tony-nominated musical “Xanadu” by Douglas Carter Beane at Actor’s Express. It’s a goofy show based on the Olivia Newton John musical from 1980, where an Australian Greek muse comes to help a young man open a disco. One of its stars is openly gay actor Craig Waldrip and some of the campy moments are, fittingly, on skates.
Also at the Express is Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Tony-nominated comedy drama “The Motherf***er With the Hat,” just on Broadway with Chris Rock and Bobby Canavale. Centering on the relationship between a long-time couple in and out of rehab, it is directed by openly gay Actor’s Express artistic director Freddie Ashley. According to Ashley, the drama was not in the company’s original 2011-2012 season but when “The Night of the Iguana” fell out he jumped to do this instead.
The Process Theatre’s “Auntie Mame” also looks to be one of the hot button productions of spring. The hitch here – it’s done mostly in drag, with Topher Payne taking on the character of flamboyant Mame Dennis and DeWayne Morgan playing Vera Charles. Expect lots of camp and scenery chewing. Morgan promises that the comedy, based on the Rosalind Russell movie, will be a lot of fun, in tone with Process’ popular “Designing Women” performances.
The spring sees the return of the LGBT fave Miss Richfield 1981, the Midwestern beauty queen with a big ole bouffant. The Atlanta stop kicks off a national tour of the new “2012: We’ll All Be Dead By Christmas.” Miss Richfield was previously in town last year around this time and was a popular ticket.
Much buzz surrounds The Alliance Theatre’s “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” a world premiere musical featuring a collaboration between two unlikely artists - author Stephen King and musician John Cougar Mellencamp. Called a Southern gothic musical, it takes place in Mississippi, with a 40-year old secret involving the death of two brothers and a girl. Among those in the cast of the world premiere is Justin Guarini of “American Idol” fame.
A smash here two seasons ago, the Tony Award winning musical “Jersey Boys” is returning to the ATL. It charts the rise of the Four Seasons band and has a gay character, that of gay record producer Bob Crewe.
Also returning is a new version of the iconic “The Wizard of Oz,” which bows at the 14th Street Playhouse and is being staged by Curtains Up Inc., with a cast of children and teenagers.
Openly gay Brian Clowdus, artistic director of Serenbe Playhouse, opens his three-season summer season with Rachel Teagle’s unorthodox world premiere version of “Alice in Wonderland,” which he is directing. The season also includes the gay-themed “Time Between Us” later in July.
Finally, the gay-owned Theatre in the Square, assuming it can get out of its financial crunch, will be staging the campy “Tuna Does Vegas,” directed by gay Ed Howard and created by Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston William, also gay. According to Palmer Wells, artistic director of Theatre in the Square, the company has a March 16 deadline to raise money or it will have to close its doors.
‘The Motherf***er With the Hat’
Miss Richfield 1981’s ‘2012: We’ll All Be Dead By Christmas’
‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County’
‘Tuna Does Vegas’
‘The Wizard of Oz’
‘Alice in Wonderland’
Top photo: Miss Richfield 1981’s “2012: We’ll All Be Dead By Christmas” is one of many productions of gay interest playing this spring. (Publicity photo)
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