Applause: Stage pink

Queer highlights from the upcoming theater season

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Anticipation should be strong for the upcoming theater season in general. Ambitious shows like Giant, The Tempest, West Side Story and Hairspray all dot the stage horizon.
But we also like to see some of our own up there. As we look over the upcoming offerings from local theater companies, we always ask, “Where’s the gay?”  In addition to Uptown Players’ first  Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival, here are some of the others.

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Fall

Although the Dallas Opera canceled the opera she was set to star in, lesbian soprano Patricia Racette will still perform at a TDO gala. (Photo Devon Cass)

Singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik gave an indie music flair to the musical adaptation of the 1891 play Spring Awakening. Set in 19th century Germany, Awakening follows a group of youths as they discover more about themselves and their rapidly developing sexuality.

The original Frank Wedekind play was controversial in its day, depicting abortion, homosexuality, rape and suicide. Now the show just has an added rock ‘n’ roll score. Along with Sheik’s musical perspective, Steven Slater wrote the book and lyrics in this updated version which debuted in 2006 on Broadway and won the Tony for Best Musical. Terry Martin directs.

WaterTower Theater, 15650 Addison Road., Addison. Sept. 30–Oct. 23. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

It’s almost un-Texan if you’re gay and not familiar with Del Shores’ tales of Southern discomfort.  Southern Baptist Sissies and Sordid Lives are pretty much part of the queer vernacular in these parts, but Shores got his start way back in 1987.

How will those northern folks take to Shores work (And by north, we mean past Central Expressway past LBJ)? Jeni Helms directs Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will for McKinney Repertory Theatre this fall. As the family patriarch suffers a stroke, the Turnover family gathers as they wait for his death. This family may just put the fun in dysfunctional.

McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. Sept. 30–Oct. 7. McKinneyRep.org.

WingSpan Theatre Co. will produce one of the greater comedies of theater-dom this fall: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with Nancy Sherrard sparring over the gay wit’s price bon mots as Lady Bracknell.

Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Oct. 6–22. WingSpanTheatre.com.

Although A Catered Affair might sound a bit like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it has the added flair of Harvey Fierstein’s wit. That’s because he wrote the book for the show alongside John Bucchino’s music and lyrics. The play is based on the Gore Vidal-penned 1956 film The Catered Affair starring Bette Davis.

When Jane and Ralph decide to get married, Jane’s mom Agnes wants to put on an elaborate spectacle of a wedding. The truth is, she can’t afford it and Jane isn’t all too thrilled about a huge affair. As in most cases, the wedding planning is more about the mom than the daughter and Agnes soon realizes the fact. Jane’s Uncle Winston — the proverbial gay uncle — is left off the guest list and is rightfully pissed. But as most gay characters, he rallies to be the voice of reason and support.

Theatre Three, 2800 Routh Street, Ste.168. Oct. 13–Nov. 12. Theatre3Dallas.com.

Lesbian soprano Patricia Racette was going to be featured in the production of Katya Kabanová but unfortunately the show was canceled by the Dallas Opera. But fear not. Dallas will still get to bask in the greatness that is her voice as Racette will perform An Evening with Patricia Racette, a cabaret show with classics from the Great American Songbook for a patron recital.

Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Nov. 9. DallasOpera.org

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Spring

Nancy Sherrard will star as Lady Bracknell in WIngSpan Theater Co.’s fall production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ perhaps the greatest comedy ever written by theaterdom’s gayest wit.

Kevin Moriarty directs Next Fall for the Dallas Theater Center next spring. Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, the play centers on Luke and Adam, a couple with some unusual issues. What’s new about that in gay couplehood? Not much, but when Adam’s an absolute atheist and Luke’s a devout Christian, the two have been doing their best to make it work.
The comedy played on Broadway in 2010, garnering Tony and Drama Desk nominations. And now Dallas gets to see how, as DTC puts it, “relationships can be a beautiful mess.”
Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. April 13–May 6. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

Perhaps the most surprising queer offering this next season is Theatre Arlington’s production of The Laramie Project. The show usually creates quite a stir — at least it did in Tyler, thanks to Trinity Wheeler — so how will this suburban audience handle it? Doesn’t matter. Props to T.A. for taking Moises Kaufman’s play about the tragic bashing and death of Matthew Shepard to its community.

Theatre Arlington, 305 W. Main St., Arlington. May 18–June 3. TheatreArlington.org.

Usually the question with MBS Productions is “what’s not gay?” Founder Mark-Brian Sonna has consistently delivered tales of gay woe and love that are sometimes silly and sometimes sweet, but always a laugh.

This season is no different. Playwright Alejandro de la Costa brings back drag queen Lovely Uranus in The Importance of Being Lovely. The last time we saw Uranus, Sonna wore the stilettos and pink wig in last season’s Outrageous, Sexy, (nekkid) Romp.  This time around, Uranus graduates to leading lady status as the show is all about her as audiences follow her through the changes she makes in her make-up, wigs and men.

Stone Cottage Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. July 16–Aug. 11, 2012. MBSProductions.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

The Westboro Baptist Church Needs A Sassy Gay Friend

OH SNAP — "My friend Hillary created a powerful poster to combat the venomous Westboro Baptist Church protesters in Washington D.C. Friday. Solution to bigotry? A 'Sassy Gay Friend' reference of course!" Like this one. [Hillary Wass via Buzzfeed]


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Arizona Legislature Blocks Westboro Baptist Church Picket from Tucson Shooting Funerals

The Arizona legislature has passed emergency legislation ensuring a 300-ft distance between the Westboro Baptist Church and funerals of Tucson shooting victims this weekend, ABC15 reports:

Phelps Arizona State Representative Kyrsten Sinema said when she heard of the plans, she got downright angry and decided to take action. 

Sinema sponsored Senate Bill 1101 and got some help from fellow legislators. 

"We patterned legislation after Ohio's law which is constitutional, it’s been upheld in court, and I got permission from the speaker and the senate president to wave the rules," Sinema said.

That bill was passed just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, and is expected to be signed by Governor Brewer, tonight.

"The bill requires them to be at least 300 feet away from the funeral from an hour before the funeral starts to an hour after it ends and that way people can grieve and love in peace," Sinema said.

The legislation is said to be similar to what 40 other states have currently adopted. 

Shortly after the shooting, the hateful church announced plans to picket the funerals, accompanied by a video from WBC Fred Phelps. The plans inspired a counter protest to raise funds for the Anti-Violence Project of Southern Arizona.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Westboro Baptist Discovers Cool iPhone Camera Effects Just In Time For Elizabeth Edwards’ Funeral

OH SNAP — Having been granted a permit to protest outside Elizabeth Edwards' funeral today in Raleigh, the Westboro Baptist Church did just that. We spotted this TwitPic uploaded by Megan Phelps. Isn't it nice to see strong women supporting each other?

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Westboro Baptist Falling Behind On Promised Laramie Project Protests

Once again the Westboro Baptist Church's threats of a protest — over Buffalo Grove High School student production of The Laramie Project — end with a no-show by the Kansas-based circus, leaving these Chicago-area high schoolers waving signs around for nobody but reporters' cameras.


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Westboro Baptist Says It’ll Win At The Supreme Court (Thanks To The Law, And God Too)

So how did yesterday's Westboro Baptist/FirstAmendment oral arguments go in front of the Supreme Court? Like this: The justices felt bad for the Snyder family, which had to have the funeral for their military son turned into a public spectacle. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg: "This is a case about exploiting a private family's grief." Elena Kagan: Westboro was "taking advantage of a private funeral to express their views." Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer said they want to see people behind outrageous attacks sued.) But the justices also indicated they were going to be very cautious (and rightfully so) about doing anything that would chip away at free speech rights. (Sonia Sotomayor: "What case stands for the proposition that public speech or speech on a public matter directed toward a private person should be treated differently depending upon the recipient of the speech?")

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—  John Wright

TODAY: Supreme Court Hears Westboro Baptist Church Free Speech Case

The Westboro Baptist Church picketed the White House yesterday in advance of their appearance before the Supreme Court today where the father of a slain U.S. Marine is asking that his M judgment against the Phelps family be reinstated.

Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., took legal action after church members picketed the funeral of his son. “My son and the hundreds of thousands of other men and women who have died for this country worked too hard to preserve our freedom of speech than to have it mocked and cowardly stood behind like this church does,” Snyder said. The church members claim America’s acceptance of homosexuality and abortion are some of the reasons for all of its problems. In 2006, church members demonstrated at Matthew Snyder’s funeral. His father sued and in 2007, a jury ordered the church to pay million US. That penalty was later reduced to million. The verdict and penalty were later overturned on appeal.

Westboro is being represented by the ACLU. If you can bear it, Megan Phelps is live-tweeting the proceedings.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Baptist Press is psyched that Obama admin. is defending DADT

Finally, the apologists and job-seekers who rationalize the Obama administration’s ongoing defense of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have an ally. Yes, Baptist Press, which was “Formed in 1946 by the Southern Baptist Convention,” seems quite pleased that the Obama administration is defending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the courts:

The Obama Justice Department is asking a federal judge to keep the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on homosexuals in place, arguing that rulings in other circuits upholding the ban prevent the judge from issuing a nationwide injunction against the 17-year-old policy.

BP adds a few choice tidbits about why defending DADT is so important:

Supporters of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) warn that reversing it would have a negative impact on military readiness, cohesion, recruitment, retention and religious freedom.

And:

Supporters of the policy say recent news events only strengthen their belief that Christian conservatives and other traditionalists will suffer if the policy is overturned.

Perhaps, the Southern Baptist Convention will file an amicus brief in support of the Obama administration’s defense of DADT when the appeal moves forward. And, I’m sure they’ll all be helping Jim Messina with the reelection campaign’s fundraising and get-out-the=vote efforts, too.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Watch: Adam Lambert Sucks Face for Westboro Baptist Church

Wbc

The "God hates fags" crowd from Westboro Baptist Church was scheduled to protest the Adam Lambert concert in Springfield, Missouri on Saturday night. 

Fans were ready. Two hundred counter-protesters showed up. However, the Fred Phelps clan didn't, Daily Kos reports:

"Still, the openly gay singer (a frequent target of WBC ire) came out to greet his supporters and autograph their protest signs; tweeted his outrage at the 'Westboro Bastard Church of Ignorance'; and kissed a male bandmate during his show, adding: 'Suck on this, Westboro.'"

Watch video of the kiss, and of Lambert's visit to the counterprotesters, AFTER THE JUMP

A visit from Adam Lambert:


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Growing Up a Gay Southern Baptist

Crossposted From RepealNOW.

I was born to very young parents, my mother was eighteen and my father was seventeen. Actually, I was three months old at my fathers High School graduation. The idea of religion was not something that began very strongly in my childhood. My father, after joining the Air Force, moved to Oklahoma and my mother and I soon followed. Being that my parents were young it wasn't until I got older that we began going to church. I remember my first trip to church that I remember with my aunt and uncle. I remember many things from that time, one of them was accepting jesus into my heart.
I spent the next decade trying to be the best christian I could be. My parents had moved back to a small town from which they grew up when I was ten and I began attending Pisgah Baptist Church. Pisgah was a Southern Baptist denominational church led by a great pastor named David. David used to speak to me something fierce. I remember my faith sparkled with passion during that time. Maybe that is why David is today the Executive Director of the Missouri Branch of the Southern Baptist Convention. Now I do not know what Dr. Tollivers personal views are on the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” but I can tell you that I remember these words coming from his mouth at the pulpit.
“Homosexuals CAN not get into heaven, they will burn eternally in hell.”
I remember that moment, and I will never forget it. That was the moment that my personal relationship with what I now call, “so-called” god began to fade.
I continued to attempt to grow as a strong christian. I was good friends with David's son, and actually sang in a praise band with him. His wife Myra was the Choir Director for the church, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in her productions. I loved the missionary trips that we went on and leaned on this family for a while.
I sometimes wonder if had the people in that church known that I was gay would they have treated me as they did? Would they have treated me badly? I know my parents never thought they would have a gay son, and they did not know how to deal with it at first, but they feel much different today. I think, or hope Dr. Tolliver would do the same if his son Adam were ever to come out as a gay man.
This brings me to the present. I am in the army serving in a war zone staring at pictures of the man who's few words propelled me to become the person I am today. Had he not put me on the journey of self-hatred, I would have never studied so much, or questioned so much, and most likely would still be a member of the church.
But there he is, put me in the shoes that I am now, and still trying to take me out of those shoes, now boots. The Southern Baptist Convention is by far the largest group supporting the effort to stop repeal of “don't ask, don't tell.”
“If a policy makes it more difficult–in fact, discourages–one of the groups that provides one of the largest numbers of chaplains to the military from continuing to engage in chaplaincy ministry, that should raise significant concerns for them about the … spiritual well-being of our men and women in uniform,” said Barrett Duke, vice president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

I do not think that all nor most Southern Baptists are bad people, just as I feel about the Mormon Church, but I do believe that the institution of the Church has way too much political power in our daily lives. I spent many years of my life trying to “fix” myself for god. Then I gave up, on god, and the church. Now I am fighting the forces of the same church to serve my country.
When does it end? When do we quit relying on these fables and myths to determine the laws of our country. I am all for freedom of expression, but to an extent. That extent is when it intrudes on my life. When it encroaches my privacy, and my livelihood.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright