LGBT youth group in Rio Grande Valley to protest Abbott’s support of HB2

Aqui estamosAquí Estamos, a youth-led LGBTQ organization in the Rio Grande Valley, will lead a protest against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation and spreading hateful rhetoric against the LGBTQ community. Texas Freedom Network, South Texans for Reproductive Justice, Curando RGV, Valley AIDS Council, PFLAG Harlingen, and Call To Action RGV will also demonstrate.

The community is disappointed with Abbott allying himself with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and supporting North Carolina’s HB2 that targets transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals from using public facilities.

Sofia Peña, organizer for South Texans for Reproductive Justice, said, “South Texans for Reproductive Justice understands LGBT rights, immigrant rights and reproductive rights are all inherently closely linked but especially in the wake of harmful legislation around the nation. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is notorious for undermining the rights of innocent, marginalized communities under the guise of protecting family values.”

Ruben Garza, leader of Texas Freedom Network in the Rio Grande Valley, added, “We will be protesting against Greg Abbott because he has continuously worked to restrict and undermine the rights and liberties of Texans. He has become a vocal opponent of legislation and ordinances that protect the rights and liberties of the LGBTQ community, and transgender people. Greg Abbott is a roadblock in the path to justice, liberty, and progress. Texas deserves better leadership, and he must go!

Protesters will gather in front of R Communications, where Abbott will be hosting an event. The protest will be followed by a short program to highlight LGBTQ lives lost because of the hate Greg Abbott is spreading.

The May 26 protest begins at 3 p.m. outside R Communications,
1201 N Jackson Road #900, McAllen.

—  David Taffet

DVtv: Resource Center open house, Part 2

Screen shot 2016-05-25 at 11.01.03 AM

As promised, here is Part 2 of the DVtv coverage of Resource Center’s grand opening/open house on Saturday, May 21. Thanks again to our on-air talent, Brad Pritchett, our camerawoman/editor Haley Richter and DVtv producer Israel Luna.

If you missed Part 1, watch it here.

—  Tammye Nash

DVtv: Resource Center shows off its new building

Part 1

Dallas Voice and DVtv were there Saturday, May 21, when Resource Center opened its gorgeous new facility to the public. You can David Taffet’s photos of the open house here. And watch Part 1 of DVtv’s coverage — that’s right, there was so much goodness it took two videos to cover it all — below.

Then watch Part 2 here.

—  Tammye Nash

New community center opens on Saturday

IMG_8224This is the picture I wanted to use for this week’s cover: Cece jumping for joy over the completion of the new community center.

We chose a different picture because either we lost her jumping or we lost the building. The picture is oblong and the paper is more square. And Cece didn’t want her stomach showing on thousands of copies of the paper distributed across the area.

One thing I didn’t get into the story is the donation wall, just inside the front door. Everyone who contributes to help pay off the remaining $344,000 will get their names on the donation wall. Cox said that they thought of cutting off the list at $100 or $250 or more, but this is a community center, built by the community and every donation is important. So she decided every name of every person (or company or foundation) that contributes belongs there.

Open house is Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m.-noon. Stonewall Democrats holds a fundraiser and open house on Monday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m. Community groups are encouraged to use the facility. Contact the community center (the number’s the same: 214-528-0144) to reserve space.

Here are some more pictures of the new center:

—  David Taffet

No more wire hangers — ever! Come see ‘Mommie Dearest’ in the theater!

mommiedearestscarwiddunaway

 
There are bad movies that flop (Last Action Hero, John Carter) there are bad movies that are disasters (The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Cutthroat Island). And then there are once-in-a-lifetime travesties: Movies that aren’t just bad, and don’t just bomb at the box office, but that really change the face of culture in their awfulness. Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra (bankrupted a studio). Heaven’s Gate (coined a still-in-use template for failure). And chief among them: Mommie Dearest.

Why, more than 35 years after its release, are we still talking about — and watching! — this work of artistic and career hara kiri? Based on the scandalous tell-all by Joan Crawford’s daughter Christina, it features Faye Dunaway — at the time, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but also one of its most notorious pains-in-the-ass — in an impersonation of the imperious Golden Era glamazon, brutalizing her daughter, crazed with ambition, eyebrow-plucked to the point of cosmetic distortion. It’s perhaps the campiest performance ever captured on film, riotously at odds with the seriousness with which La Dunaway treats her. Every dramatic moment is gloriously hilarious; every abusive slap incongruously elicits peels of laughter.

And that’s why we watch it still: Because gays looove their camp icons. We revel in the excess, the lack of self-control (or self-awareness), the kitchiness dressed up in shoulder pads.

Dallas Voice presents a screening of Mommie Dearest at the new Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the Cedars on May 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 and you can order full-service dine-in-moviegoing from Vetted Well. For tickets. visit Drafthouse.com/dfw.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A shot at stardom

Why it took 25 years for Whit Stillman to become an overnight sensation

Whit Stillman

Whit Stillman recently visited Dallas. (By Arnold Wayne Jones)

 

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

Love-infoAt age 64, Whit Stillman is aware that his days as a wunderkind of indie cinema are behind him. And frankly, he’d appreciate a little mainstream success.

His new film, Love & Friendship, goes wide this weekend, showing eventually on more than 900 screens; that’s a far cry from the 63 prints of his debut film, 1990’s Metropolitan, which he roadshow’ed around the art houses of North America on its way to an impressive $3 million gross. (“And that was on old ticket prices,” he insists.) Does this feel like a change? I ask.

“I certainly hope so! I could use one,” he excitedly offers.
Success for Stillman, however, looks like it will come not by directing the latest comic book movie, but in putting one of Jane Austen’s few unadapted stories in the cinemas: Love & Friendship is based upon Austen’s epistolary novella Lady Susan, above a conniving widow who puts her own comfort about her daughter and those in her charismatic orbit. Leave it to Stillman to “go big” with an 18th century comedy of manners.

It’s just one of the quirks that has made the writer-director — who has made only four other feature films in more than 25 years — such a compelling figure in filmdom. His writing is smart, precise and whimsical, his visual style languid but deceptively simple. He’s like a Wes Anderson without all the matte shots and bravado.

LandF

‘Last Days of Disco’ co-stars Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale reunite for a very different period piece, the Jane Austen comedy of manners ‘Love and Friendship,’ also directed by White Stillman.

And this time around, he’s also like Stanley Kubrick. For real.

I tell Stillman that Love & Friendship triggered in me a recognition that his style is similar to Kubrick: They both make comedies with an underlying sense of awfulness. And L&F in particular echoed Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, based on the Thackeray novel. Stillman nods.

“It was hard to avoid it — just was one of the problems we faced,” he acknowledges. “We were very aware at every phase that we didn’t want to hit the third rail [of seeming too similar]. There were a few Kubrickian touches: It’s a period film, a very literary adaptation; we were shot in Anglo-Ireland, [Lyndon] was about Anglo-Ireland; and we both love baroque music so there was that. Kubrick used Handel’s ‘Sarabande’ and we used that [on the rough cut] until we found Purcell’s ‘Funeral March for Queen Mary.’”

It may seen odd that Stillman would fret about recalling a 40-year-old art film that — more than likely — most moviegoers wouldn’t know anything about. But that’s not how he sees it.

“All the people who will be commenting on our film will have their claws sharpened,” he says. (We talked before the reviews started pouring in; so far, the majority have been ecstatic raves.)

It’s not surprising that Stillman would be so sensitive to the vagaries of public opinion. When you work for half your life in the indie film world, successes are measures in teaspoons, not oceans. Stillman seemed relieved the learn that I enjoyed his last film, Damsels in Distress, which, he claims, got savaged by segments of the film critic community.

But as much as he craves mainstream acclaim (despite an Oscar nomination for Metropolitan, and art-house hits with Barcelona and Last Days of Disco), Whit Stillman remains, unrepentantly, Whit Stillman. He writes with more intelligence than you expect from a run-of-the-mill summer-movie fan. He makes casual references in conversation to Henry James and admits he doesn’t know what “heavy metal music” is.

And he returns to working with actors with whom he develops a rapport and who fit well in his aesthetic, including a here reunion with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, who play the anti-hero and her best friend in Love & Friendship.

“I initially wrote [the role in Disco] for Kate because I liked her in Cold Comfort Farm, and then I thought of her right away for this,” he says. “On set, there’s no real direction going on [with the actors] — in the auditions you see the actor doing all the right stuff [with the script],” and turn her lose, he says. And he casts equally imposing figures like Stephen Fry, who has a supporting role here, not for box-office draw but for the glory of working with them. (“Stephen Fry is the most impressive person I’ve ever met — totally intimidating. Enormously tall and funny,” he says.)

Stillman’s prickliness may be what has kept him from churning out a new film annually like Woody Allen does; he’s lived much of the last two decades in Paris, and he’s quick to mock moviemaking trends he disagrees with. (Long, single tracking shots? Hates them… though he admits it was well-used in Goodfellas. The minimalist Dogma 95 aesthetic developed by some European filmmakers? “So stupid … but what a good gambit it was. I would love to do some idiotic manifesto filled with pretension, but I couldn’t keep a straight face pitching it.”) No, if Whit Stillman is going to be an overnight sensation, it will be on his terms … even if it takes 25 years to achieve it.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

MUSIC REVIEW: Original Broadway Cast Recording of ‘Bright Star’

300_brightstar

The opening fiddle strains on “If You Knew My Story” — the first song from Bright Star original cast recording, now available for download and on CD next week — sound like something from a Ken Burns documentary: melancholy and rural, with a bluegrassy aroma that conjures backwoods of Appalachia, where the musical is set during the first half of the 20th century.
“If You Knew My Story” is a rich and lovely way to kick off what, from the recording, sounds like a heartfelt chamber musical. Then comes the second song (“She’s Gone”), and the third (the title number) and the eighth (“Asheville”) and 15th, and you see how Bright Star progresses musically like an extended folk ballad.

It’s not surprising how many stringed instruments are plaintively plucked throughout; the score was co-written by Steve Martin, perhaps the premiere proponent of banjo-playing since Earl Scruggs died. But is this thematic consistency or repetitive sameness?

The jury is still out on that point. Most songs are solos or languid duets, some punctuated by background vocals that recall a church choir more than a Broadway chorus line. And the plot of the show, which jumps between two timelines, is perhaps too complicated to be captured solely through the music.

But what’s undeniable is how beautiful and evocative the score is, co-written with Martin by Dallas native Edie Brickell. There’s no bombast here; it sounds less of traditional Broadway musical than of a disc you might stream over the bluegrass channel on Pandora: Tightly orchestrated, cool and refreshing, like water from a mountain creek.

It’s probably just as well. Bright Star (like virtually every musical opening on Broadway in the last 12 months) had the misfortune to arrive just as Hamilton — the biggest monster to hit New York City since Hurricane Sandy — swept up all the oxygen in the theater universe such that nearly every other show has all but suffocated. But Bright Star and Waitress — another score by a composer (Sara Bareilles) better known for pop concept albums than musical theater, both nominated for the music and lyrics Tony Award that Hamilton will surely win next month— offer a distinctly quirky take on what the scope of musical theater is — and better yet, can be.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Women in love

Director Garret Storms tackles a celestial love affair in quirky ‘Bright Half Life’

left-to-right-Kenneisha-Thompson-and-Kelsey-Leigh-Ervi-in-The-Bright-Half-Life-photo-by-Karen-Almond-at-WaterTower-Theatre

Vicky (Kenneisha Thompson) and Erika (Kelsey Leigh Ervi) meet-cute on a Ferris wheel and undergo 45 years of ups-and-downs in the nonlinear play ‘Bright Half Life’ at WaterTower. (Photo by Karen Almond)

 

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

Bright-infoEver wonder how someone gets selected to direct a play at a theater? If you’re Garret Storms, it goes something like this: The artistic director calls and says, “Hey, we’re interested in you directing a script for us — why don’t you familiarize yourself with the script, look at your schedule and tell us if it’s something you’d be interested in.”

And in the case of Bright Half Life — the latest production in WaterTower Theatre’s new Discovery Series — his answer was a definite “yes.”

In some ways, Storms was an unlikely choice for the play: Written by an African-American female, with a cast of two women in a lesbian relationship, it was first produced by the Women’s Project Theater, and spans 45 years in the life of the characters.

“Yeah, it is very interesting,” Storms admits. “We have a completely male production team, other than the cast, and when I realized that I went ‘Oh! This is a thing.’”

But in other ways, Storms was a natural choice.

At just 27, he’s one of the busiest, and most talented, actor/directors in North Texas right now. His first professional play as a director was Stage West’s production of Orlando, Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending time-hopping story; and his most recent work as an actor was WTT’s The Big Meal, which also took place over the full scope of a relationship from courtship to death. But when I mention that Storms apparently specializes in working on nonlinear plays, it first seems to catch him unawares. And then he admits it’s true.

“I think that’s just kind of how it’s gone for me,” he says. “It’s interesting to me the ways in which life doesn’t seem linear. In our experience it is, but in the way we remember it and communicate it and research our past… there doesn’t seem to be as much direction.”

Bright Half Life concerns Vicky (Kenneisha Thompson) and Erika (Kelsey Leigh Ervi; see sidebar) from meet-cute to U-Haul rental, marriage to divorce, parenting to middle age, all in 75 breathless minutes that hop from timeline to timeline like binge-watching Quantum Leap. Storms was immediately drawn by the uniqueness of the storytelling, as well as the focus on women’s lives.

“It’s a cleverly written story — there is metaphor without being heavy handed about it; it’s specific in that it’s about these characters, but it’s also just about life. And it is a love story between two women, which we don’t see very, often especially on Dallas stages, but while gender is very much a part of the story, there’s [a universality to it]. It’s a love story about the birth, death and rebirth of what it takes to move on [in a relationship]. I think it is a terribly human play, and there are slices that all of us will say, ‘I remember my first kiss’ or ‘I recall when I saw the one that got away’ or ‘yeah, the night I heard my parents say that.’”

The script (by Tanya Barfield) is sparse, and suggests keeping the production as minimal as possible, but Storms was intrigued by the imagery of the cosmic throughout, which he has decided t0 emphasize.

“There’s this through line of a celestial metaphor — the birth of stars, constellations, galaxies. I’m embracing that quality and running with that,” he hints. “But you don’t want to force the audience into a box — you want them to use their imagination so they walk away with something unique to them.

…………………………

We get to see more of Ervi, at least for a while

Kelsey Leigh Ervi
Garret Storms isn’t the only insanely busy theater professional working on Bright Half Life: One of his cast members, Kelsey Leigh Ervi, is also in the thick of things.
We wrote about Kelsey in January, when she was directing Lord of the Flies at WTT; and again when she was supervising the 24 HR Play Festival, part of the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. She also acts, writes and co-hosts a theater podcast. But we thought we might not be seeing as much of her anymore when she announced on Facebook she would be departing this summer to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in graduate school.

Well, academia will have to wait. This week, Ervi was named the new associate artistic director at WaterTower. This comes on the heels of the recent departure of Terry Martin as artistic director and the appointment of Greg Patterson as the company’s new managing director. Ervi says her goal is still to eventually attend grad school, but until then, college’s loss is our gain.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ask Howard • 05-20-16

How to do the wrong thing right

_Howard-Russell-logo-copy

We have quite of lot of angst this month over young men looking for daddies and daddies looking to be taken as something other than a wallet with a penis. Let’s get right to it.

Dear Howard,
I’ve a fossil-crush on one of my SMU professors. He’s, like, every gay freshman’s wet dream: late fifties, maybe even early sixties (I purposefully haven’t Googled him yet); he sports a gray lumberjack beard, shaved head and geeks-out a bulging pant zipper that I — apparently — am laser-focused on class: Dr. ____ smiles during his lectures when he catches me looking. A couple of times, he’s even winked my way as I’m leaving class. I’ve tried every hormonal ruse I can think of to seduce Dr. Pencils-In-His-Shirt-Pockets, short of literally scrawling, “Will you fuck me, please, master?” across the top of my essays. Then, finally, the other day when I was dawdling behind, wiping my forehand with my shirttails — just so Doc would, hopefully, notice the invitational, fuzzy blond “happy trail” snaking down my abs. I was the last student exiting his class, as usual, and he totally grinned at me, all initiation-like, but sighed, “Robert, not only is it professionally unethical, but I’m old enough to remember all the blonds who died first.” WTF? Howard, I’ve been racking my 3.8 brain ever since, trying to figure out what that even means: Your code-breaker assistance, please? — Bob

Dear Robert,
You’re over-racking, too hard, that encrypted-blond brain, Bobby: He means he still “geeks-out” too many painfully harbored memories of former blond friends and/or lovers, who are no longer with us for him to enjoyably accept your not-so-subtle invitations. Bob, my dear ignorant boy, a huge swath of sexually-active blond gay men born between, say, 1950 through to 1965, is tragically now gone, taken too young. After all, as you well know, blonds are pretty much required to be bottoms in our culture —the younger the blond, the more bottom he’s prettily required be: “All the blonds died first” is your prof’s way of saying he’s lived through too much loss to spend much effort on another blond. Try, dizzy boy, dying your “happy trail” brunette; maybe you’ll get to sample Dr. ___’s professorial bulge then.

Dear Howard,    
I’m 58 years old. I was lucky in love for a little while: I got to enjoy the one true long-time partner of my life for a too-brief, 14-year span: He passed away in 1996, on the cusp of the new lifesaving meds just coming out. During these two decades since, I’ve occasionally dated, and twice even met someone who I thought might be worth making a commitment to again, but both times things fizzled after only a few months: My “ignition” spark wasn’t there. I’m not clinically depressed, apparently — enough shrinks have told me as much. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a sort of sea-change in the way men I’m attracted to behave around me: all of them expect me to foot every bill, irrelevant of whether it’s a dinner date that I’m asked out on by another man or whether it’s just a bar that I’m hanging around in, talking up a cute guy ordering drinks. Suddenly, I’m the old fool required to reach for his wallet first, no matter what! I hate, hate, hate, growing older, being gay and single. You have any hook-up recommendations for a man my age to follow— a list, maybe, sans being too overly brutal towards me? I look great for my age. — Bert

Dear Berthold,
“Overly brutal” … moi? I assume these days you’re now capable — while pushing 60, Miss Havisham — of no longer confusing brutality with honest candor? If so, have you truly looked in a mirror since last the love of your life tragically departed way too soon some 20-plus years ago back? Have you reset your personal calendar ahead during these two decades since of dating evolution, “great” though you may indeed look (for your age)? You now must pay to play, sweetie, or else you jerk off to laptop porn alone; or you can be that old lech lurking in a bar’s dark corner — the one who always tried picking you up at 2 a.m. back when you were but 23.

Ain’t no man your own age, Beatrice — no matter how hot you still think you are, or he is — who’s going to give you the time of day anymore. At 58, face it, single gay men have but three options remaining for getting laid in old Gayville: 1) Are you wealthy enough to afford gold-digger boy toys who’ll pretend they love you, in direct relation to the correlating value-amount of gifts and prizes you bestow upon them? 2) Are you minimally well-off enough to hire, for an hour or two, the occasional male escort who’ll actually justify keeping your Viagra prescription refilled? 3) Are you at least willing to cruise the local bath houses from the hours of 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. and pray you snag that horny stud muffin desiring to just desperately get-off fast, and beat the hell out of there quickly, no matter what sleazy sorts of fossils still lurk about such unholy corridors as he’s hornily strutting at zero in the morning?
Cheer up, Bertie: A 21st-century gay man being 58 and single isn’t fatal, in and of itself. As last resort, there’s always, oh, OurTime.com, or MatureSinglesOnly.com, or, SingleAndOver50.com … or, of course, everyone’s tried-and-true, favorite hookup site, Grindr. A few slutty boys out there go for daddies exclusively, so long as you take “ignition” charge, and don’t whine. Always be a bit flexible. You’ll thrive, Bert.
— Howard Lewis Russell

Do you have a question — about etiquette, love, life or work — that needs an answer? Send your problem to AskHoward@DallasVoice.com and he may answer it.

—  Dallasvoice

Master of his domain

From playing a naive twink on ‘Queer as Folk’ to the lurid Master of Ceremonies in a national tour, Randy Harrison’s life has been one long ‘Cabaret’

CabaretProvidence Performing Arts Center

WILKOMMEN | That’s Randy Harrison as the Master of Ceremonies in “Cabaret,’ one of the most sexualized roles in modern musical theater. Harrison will perform the role in a all-new tour of the Broadway hit, which opens this week at the Winspear Opera House. (Photo courtesy ATTPAC)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

Cabaret-infoWhen Randy Harrison first shot to fame, it was as the under-aged twink Justin on the cultural-touchstone cable drama series Queer As Folk. One of the few openly gay actors on the show, we watched Justin and Randy as they developed and matured over five seasons.

But that was — brace yourself — well more than a decade ago. Harrison has continued to mature (brace yourself again: Next year he’ll turn 40). For one thing, he’s worked extensively on the stage, even taking over the role of Boq in the Broadway production of Wicked. But it’s another iconic musical role that brings Harrison to North Texas this week: The lurid Master of

Ceremonies in the national touring production of Cabaret.

“This is the first time I’ve toured,” he says during a telephone interview from the road. “It’s great, but it was exhausting at first. It took me a while to figure out of how to maintain [my exercise and diet] and sleep well. It’s in my bones a bit now. It’s a thrill — I see how it’s addictive. You get to experience America, especially for a show like this.”

What about Cabaret, exactly, makes the experience unique?

“It’s so relevant,” Harrison says. “It’s challenging in ways that different regions of the country react to differently.”

While Cabaret is now 50 years old, and set even 35 years before that, its message of a society in decay — one in which good people do nothing while demagogues gain political power and ruin lives — resonates loudly in an election year.

“I like material that’s challenging for an audience,” Harrison says. “I like things that talk about big issues in intelligent ways, that deal with sexuality and gender — these are important parts of my life and things I think about [daily]. I like doing shows that discuss those issues instead of things that just are entertainment.”

Harrison,-Randy

Randy Harrison

A lot of that position probably relates to Harrison’s own coming-out process, which occurred during a highly politicized era.

“I came out the same year that Angels in America won the Pulitzer, I did a master class with [author] Tony Kushner at that time,” Harrison recalls. “He told me, ‘Every artistic act you make is a political act, and if you try to make it non-political that itself is a political decision.’” (Interestingly, that’s largely the central theme to Cabaret.) Harrison says he has kept that idea close to his heart, and tries to incorporate it into his stage work.

He can get away with it as the Master of Ceremonies — a lascivious ringmaster with a slightly demonic edge, who oversees the seedy nightclub where Germans fiddle as Berlin burns.

Harrison gets to interact most directly with the audience, frequently breaking the fourth wall.

“My scene partner is the audience,” he says. “It’s a show where you want audience involvement, especially at the start — the audience is a huge part of the show.” That offers Harrison the opportunity to improvise and feel out the room in a way no one else in the cast really gets to.

“There are a handful of different options I have discovered that get the most laughs, but it will depend on whether I am in San Francisco or South Carolina. But the entr’acte, when I dance with an audience member, I never know what I am going to do.”

He took it to a proudly political degree recently while the production was in North Carolina. “North Carolinians that I know are hugely humiliated by what’s going on there,” he says. “So I actually improvised a line in the entr’acte: I always come out and ask, ‘Did everybody have a drink and go tinkle?’ But then I added, ‘I tried to go, but they wouldn’t let me in.’ Every time, it stopped the show in Durham. Everybody wanted to discuss the elephant in the room.”

While the show in this incarnation has been around 20 years, Harrison acknowledges that some people are still surprised by the overt bawdiness of the material.

“If people are completely surprised it’s because they didn’t do even a little big of research, though,” he winks. “Some people leave [during performances], which is fine. If it’s not their thing, they shouldn’t be there. I think most often people are in need of it, in a way. It’s a very smart show, a very adult show. I don’t think everyone necessarily goes to the musical theater season of their presenting house expecting to be challenged in this way, or titillated in this way.”

On rare occasion, even his fans are alarmed by how sweet little Justin has grown up. For his part, Harrison says he can only do what he has to as an actor.

“Uncle Vanya is one of my dream roles,” he says, though he knows he’s probably too young for it right now. “I wanna play Hedwig [in Hedwig and the Angry Inch], and Beckett is my favorite. I want to play both the roles in Godot and definitely Hamm in Endgame. So I find that people who still see me as [Justin] refuse to see me as anything else — I could be in

Trainspotting with a needle I my arm, and come out the stage door and they will treat me like I am 18.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones