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.

……………………….

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

………………………….

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

Stevie Nicks tonight at Verizon

Goth queen for days

Save for Fleetwood Mac’s 2003 Say You Will, Stevie Nicks has been a bit off the radar until this spring. Now she’s on tour in support of her newest album In Your Dreams. The feathered and frocked queen of classic rock maintains her goth flair but still manages an air of relevance.

DEETS: With Michael Grimm. Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 8 p.m. $35–$250. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Clay Aiken at Verizon Theatre last night


Last night we ventured out to the Clay Aiken show at Verizon Theatre. To be honest, I am not a big fan of his music, but I’m certainly a fan of him. We had a good interview for this piece in this week’s issue which started endearing me to him, but when he turned on the ‘tude last night and chatted up his elder audience, he had all the makings of a sassy queen. Several precious moments were to be had as he threw people under the bus, made fun of top 40 radio and took delight in the lack of men in the audience — or at least had fun with it when he cited only six men in the front rows.

“Did she drag you here?” he would ask. Pretty great.

My apologies to any people behind me as I tweeted the night away, but hey, I wasn’t holding my phone up videoing the guy. Here are my tweet-thoughts from the evening and current thoughts (in bold) the day after (after the jump) along with my colleague’s take on the evening.

—  Rich Lopez

Tired Old Queen At The Movies #65

1940′s Rebecca, starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

‘One Night of Queen’ to rock Fair Park in March

With all the attention focused on the Super Bowl and groups like Prince coming to play that weekend, you may have missed the fact that in March, you can see Queen.

Of course, that’s kinda hard since lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS nearly 20 years ago. But it is the next best thing, as the above photo can attest.

Gary Mullen and the Works perform the show One Night of Queen, re-creating the flamboyant musical style of one of the signature bands of the rock era. In the vein of Beatlemania, the concert is a tribute mirror of the original.

The performance takes place March 27 at Fair Park Music Hall. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tired Old Queen At The Movies #64

1936′s San Francisco starring Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Watch: Ringing in 2011 with Anderson Cooper, Kathy Griffin, Snooki, Andy Cohen, and Key West Drag Queen Sushi

Sushi

Happy 2011 everyone!

If you spent last night away from a television set, here are clips of CNN's celebration with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, MTV's Snooki drop at the Jersey Shore, Bravo's Wig Drop with Andy Cohen, Kim Zolciak, and a bunch of drunk housewives, and Key West's drag queen Sushi.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin clips:







MTV's Snooki drop:

Andy Cohen and Bravo ring in the 2011 with some kissing and Kim Zolciak:



Key West's shoe drop with drag queen Sushi.


 



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Reichen is Not a “Vapid Queen”

REICHEN LEHMKUHL AND RODINEY SANTIAGO X390A-List star Reichen Lehmkuhl is none too pleased that an editor for New York’s gay nightlife guide Next Magazine called him and boyfriend Rodiney Santiago “vapid queens,” sending an email to the editor and likening his words to “bullying.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

The Queen of Soul has pancreatic cancer

Such awful news. The world of music has been enriched so much by Aretha Franklin.

Aretha Franklin, hospitalized twice in recent weeks, has cancer, a relative confirms to Detroit television station WJBK after the National Enquirer earlier reported that the Queen of Soul has incurable pancreatic cancer.

…Franklin is doing “okay,” the Franklin relative tells the TV station, but her family is asking for continued prayers and support. Pancreatic cancer, which claimed the life of actor Patrick Swayze last year, is not typically detected early and spreads fast, so it has a low survival rate.

I tear up just watching this and thinking of the contributions of the Queen of Soul. May her remaining days be free of pain and that she knows how many feel for her. Her music in the 60s was an essential part of my childhood and always reminds me of my late aunt Judi (photo), who played Aretha’s songs on 45s down in the basement of her home in Queens for us to listen to.

Related:

* Memorial: You are home with mom, Judi
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Hero of the Month: Queen Calafia

The name California comes from a sixteenth century conquistador fantasy of a formidable island inhabited by free-loving black Amazons. They were led by a brave queen:

Know th[ere] . . . exists an island called California . . . populated by black women. . . [L]ike the Amazons was their style of living. The[y] were of vigorous bodies and strong and ardent hearts and of great strength; the island itself the strongest in steep rocks and great boulders that is found in the world; their arms were all of gold . . . [W]hen they had peace with their adversaries, they intermixed . . .

There ruled on that island of California, a queen great of body, very beautiful . . ., desirous in her thoughts of achieving great things, valiant in strength, . . . Queen Calafia. (from Dora Beale Polk, The Island of California, U. of Neb. Press, 1991)

California’s founding myth derives from a siege on sexual and racial diversity. Despite the state’s reputation as a stronghold for live-and-let-live tolerance, its tolerant spirit has been contested and has suffered as many shameful defeats as victories. Whereas the state attracts people who are drawn by the promise of social freedom and possibility, it also draws those who mainly seek riches and wind up trying to domesticate and dominate the spirit that others cherish.

I like to think of Calafia as the avenging defender of sexual minorities, feminists, native peoples, blacks and sexual, ethnic and racial diversity in general. I imagine her with the suffragists when California women won the right to vote in 1911. I picture her guiding the California Supreme Court when the state was among the first to repeal its anti-miscegenation law in 1948. I see her taking over Alcatraz with Native American students and marching with Cesar Chavez. She would have been by Harvey Milk’s side when he led the defeat of the Briggs initiative, and with Gavin Newsom when he recognized same-sex unions in 2004.

Calafia has suffered a number of defeats over the years, too, of which Prop 8 is the most recent. The laws robbing Chinese of their constitutional rights and the internment of Japanese-Americans are just two examples.

This election suggests that Calafia has regrouped and might once again be on the ascendancy. November was a good month for California LGBTs, anyway. Gavin Newsom won his race for Lieutenant Governor. Barbara Boxer, one of only fourteen senators who voted against DOMA in 1996, won her senate race. Jerry Brown, the attorney general who refused to defend prop 8, won the governorship, and our new attorney general, Kamala Harris, has vowed not to defend it. Victoria Kolakowski became the first openly transgender judge in the country. Perhaps most satisfying of all, the author of prop 8, Andrew Pugno, lost his race for state assembly. These victories demonstrate that it is possible for politicians to fight for principle and win. With the Prop 8 hearings scheduled on December 6, 2010, I’m hoping that Calafia is at peak strength.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin