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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lexus series adds queer event to upcoming season of musicals
What’s gay about ‘Jersey Boys’? The GLBT Broadway subscriber series at the Winspear will tell you.
The Lexus Broadway Series offers a muscular lineup of shows that feature classic stories and contemporary rock ‘n’ roll. But they go one step further in the 2011-12 season with the stage equivalent of special edition DVDs, featuring enhanced performances and pre-show engagements for subscribers — including its gay patrons.
Dallas Voice Life+Style Editor Arnold Wayne Jones will host a conversation every second-week Tuesday about 45 minutes before each show. The series, called GLBT Broadway, will highlight the appeal for queer audiences for the shows in the series. The discussion will touch on issues of gender identity and sexuality in regards to the show and the teams behind them. Some — such as the season lead-off, Hair — might be easier to analyze from a gay perspective than, say, Jersey Boys, but that’s part of the fun of the series.
The season starts with Hair, which won the Tony in 2009 for best musical revival. Youth in 1960s America are all about peace, love and understanding — including nudity and homosexuality — in this iconic musical. Sept. 20–Oct. 2.
The epic Les Miserables follows with a new 25th anniversary production. Dec. 20–Jan. 1.
Best musical Tony winner In the Heights details the immigrant experience as characters find a new life in their new country. March 13–25.
Alt-rockers Green Day went Broadway with American Idiot, touted as a mashup of a rock concert and staged musical. May 8–20.
The season concludes with Jersey Boys and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Classic hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” tell the tale of this well-accomplished music group from the ‘50s. June 12–July 15.
Other subscriber series include Broadway University, hosted by SMU theater professor Kevin Hofeditz which will explore themes of the show and its place in theater history (every second Saturday matinee) and Broadway Uncorked (every second-week Wednesday), where an expert sommelier will host a wine tasting based on the show. We wonder what American Idiot’s wine will be.
— Rich Lopez
For more information on the Lexus Broadway Series and its enhanced performances, visit ATTPAC.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.
Uptown Players has announced its full 2012 season, which includes a bonus show at the Rose Room and the annual Broadway Our Way fundraiser. And the mainstage season will be at the Kalita Humphreys for a third year.
Take Me Out, Feb,. 3–19.
Broadway Our Way, March 16–25.
The Silence of the Clams, April 27–May 20 (at the Rose Room)
The Divine Sister, starring Coy Covington, pictured, July 13–29
The Producers, Aug. 24–Sep. 16
Hello Again, Oct. 5–21.
Read the full coverage in this week’s edition of Dallas Voice.
It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.
Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)
Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”
The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.
“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.
Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.
The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.
Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.
Lady Bracknell is one of the zoom-bang greatest characters in all theater, the pinched, appearances-heavy doyenne on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. The ladies, of course, always get this juicy role. Until now.
Gay actor Brian Bedford donned a frock as the director and leading lady of the current revival of the play, now on Broadway and up for three Tony Awards later this month. But you don’t need to go to New York to see it. The Angelika Film Centers in Dallas and Plano are screening the direct broadcast of the actual play three more times this week: Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Angelika Mockingbird Station, Sunday at 2 p.m. and Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Angelika Plano.
Uptown Players is begging for money again, but that’s good news because it means the return of Broadway Our Way. A star-studded night of local theater peeps combine their talents to bring an evening of fab showtunes, but with some major twists. Because we all know Uptown Players isn’t gonna play it straight — and that’s a good thing.
DEETS: Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Through May 15. $40. UptownPlayers.org.
• Billboard reports that Melissa Etheridge will step into Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s role in the Broadway rock musical American Idiot. The show is based on the band’s landmark album. Armstrong agreed to do the show himself for a run of 50 dates in spurts, but is now taking a small break:
Etheridge, best known for her song “Come to My Window,” will play drug dealer “St. Jimmy” from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6. Armstrong, the composer and co-author of the musical, returns Feb. 10.
The high-octane show follows three working-class characters as they wrestle with modern life. One joins the Army, one becomes a father and one descends into a drug-fueled life – thanks to St. Jimmy.
Says director Michael Mayer: “This character is seductive, thrilling and dangerous. Melissa Etheridge is all that and so much more.”
On the cover of the new issue out Wednesday (Jan. 19), John and Furnish are photographed with their new bundle of joy, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.
“I’ve never felt anything like it in my life,” says John of holding his son for the first time. “You’re so awestruck. What can you say? You take it in. The feeling, the joy, the warmth of his body, his breathing … I will never forget that experience ever.”
- Spider-Man lead Natalie Mendoza is permanently leaving the accident-plagued show, citing continuing dizziness from a concussion suffered during the first preview. In other incidents, one actor broke both his wrists, another broke both his ankles. Mendoza’s replacement has not been announced. The show continues in previews towards a February 7th official opening.
- Tony nominee John Leguizamo’s new solo show, Ghetto Klown, begins previews at the Lyceum on February 21st for a 12-week limited run.
- Andrew Lloyd Weber will launch a U.S. reality show search for the lead in his stateside production of The Wizard Of Oz. His West End production opens in February with added numbers by Weber and his longtime collaborator Tim Rice.
- Women On The Vergewill close three weeks early this Sunday.
-Well-known Manhattan cabaret performer David Gurland died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Wednesday. Gurland, a frequent performer at The Duplex and Don’t Tell Mama, is survived by his partner Rob Maitner.
- Billy Crudup and Raul Esparza will star in the revival of Tom Stoppard’s stage comedy, Arcadia, which begins a limited run on February 25th.
- The creators of South Park come to Broadway on March 24th with their musical look at the founding of the Mormon Church, The Book Of Mormon.
- Sunday’s blizzard did a number on Broadway attendance, with even tickets for the eternally sold out Wicked coming available at the last minute. Still, a number of houses did record-breaking business for the holiday week.
- Ann Harada (Avenue Q, Les Miz) will star with the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus at their gala fundraiser on February 28th.
Broadway actress Daphne Rubin-Vega is the latest New Yorker to join the Human Rights Campaign’s “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” campaign. Rubin-Vega lent her voice to the campaign with two videos, one in English, and the first Spanish language video of the series. Both new videos, and the entire campaign, can be viewed online at www.hrc.org/NY4marriage.
“There is nothing more important to me than the love and commitment that a family brings,” said Rubin-Vega. “That’s why I support equal marriage rights for all.”
With the eight and ninth installments of the series; Rubin-Vega joins Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Mayor Bloomberg, Moby, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, actress Fran Drescher, Julianne Moore and designer Kenneth Cole to support marriage equality in the state. In the coming weeks and months HRC will continue the series of prominent New Yorkers speaking out in support for marriage equality to include: Whoopi Goldberg, David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Ethan and Ryan Hawke, Christopher Meloni and Joan Rivers.
A marriage equality bill failed last year by eight votes in the New York state Senate despite having the support of the Governor and being passed in the Assembly. HRC’s Campaign for New York Marriage has worked tirelessly this election and had big wins throughout the state. Check out our election results page to find out more about our victories in New York.