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

Developing Women Leaders in the Fight for Equality

Though wintry weather threatened some travel plans, it could not stop two dozen women from coming to HRC’s headquarters in late January for the third annual Women and Leadership Retreat.

Women are already key leaders in all aspects of HRC’s work. The retreat is just one opportunity for rising stars to develop new skills, and for current leaders to build on their abilities to help move us all closer to winning equality for all.

All of the attendees are current HRC Board and Steering Committee members who came from places like Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles. Utah had representation – two attendees, in fact – for the very first time!

A key theme of the four-day retreat was diversity. Of course, the attendees brought much diversity to the table, in terms of age, background, gender history, race, ethnicity and more. They learned how to navigate through these intersections to unite people around common goals.

The retreat “allowed me to be vulnerable and helped me identify my strengths and growth opportunities to becoming a true leader,” said Cathy Sarky of the Greater Cincinnati Steering Committee. “It inspired me to allow my voice to be heard and empowered me to achieve my hope for true equality for all.”

The women explored topics such as effective communication and the impact of gender bias on the individual. Small discussion groups – which were named for and drew inspiration from innovative leaders such as Jane Addams, Margaret Chung and Sylvia Rivera – allowed the retreat attendees to work on applying what they learned to situations they face in their local HRC communities.

“The most valuable part of the W&L Retreat was meeting the other women and marveling at their tenacity, dedication and spirit in developing into productive passionate leaders in their community,” said Marilyn Abalos of the Greater New York Steering Committee. “Their struggle and survival in life are examples to emulate.”

Interested in attending next year’s retreat? Keep your eye on www.hrc.org/women for details on the application process.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

FDA Panel Says Yes to Keeping Little Gay Boys From Developing Anal Cancer As Sex-Crazed Adults

Back in February we were wondering whether the FDA was going to get behind a HPV vaccine for boys to prevent HPV-causing anal cancer, the same way it does for girls and cervical cancer. Good news!

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  admin

Developing: ‘We’ll Give When We GetEqual’

The GetEQUAL kids just tweeted some pics from outside a Democratic fundraiser in Miami, where both President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are scheduled to speak:

Screen Shot 2010-10-11 At 5.07.26 PmScreen Shot 2010-10-11 At 5.06.09 Pm

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@GetEqual

More to come.

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*UPDATE: I’ve been told that this effort will be growing over the next hour or so. The protest includes these ground signs, weather balloons with banners, and more: BREAKING: GetEqual protesting Obama high-dollar fundraiser in Miami; sending weather balloons over NBA star’s house; more to come [Americablog Gay]

**MORE from Americablog: “Three full boat-loads of press and protesters have now launched, and are heading towards Mourning’s house by sea… ”

Boatpressobama-1

**John Aravosis posted this brief vid:

There are apparently two more boats carrying both protestors and media.

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**The plan, according to GetEqual release: “From the bay abutting Mourning’s home, a second swarm of LGBT activists [will arrive] by boats with two 40 ft. signs and [shout] via bullhorns “End the Discharges Now” and “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”.

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**More from Brad Luna, writing for AmericaBlog:

UPDATE: 5:42PM – Robin McGehee of GetEqual, who is on one of the boats heading for Mourning’s house, has just texted “Mission Accomplished.” We assume this means she has reached the position in the water off of the house, and the action is underway, including bull horns, weather balloons with signs, 40ft signs saying “stop the discharges now,” and an extra large/loud sound system booming quotes of the President himself making gay rights promises. [SOURCE]

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*UPDATE, 6:30: From White House pool report:

As [POTUS] is speaking, air horns can be heard across the bay, and pool is told by a GetEQUAL spokesman that they are activists protesting the administration on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Appear to have several small boats, at one point pool can hear some yelling. Some members of the audience look over but noise is not loud enough to disrupt and POTUS continues uninterrupted.




Good As You

—  John Wright