Dan Savage, Steven Crabtree and other favorites return for Uptown fest



ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor


SEXY BEASTIE | Nikki McDonald, Blake Blair and Greg Gerardi, above, star in local playwright Bruce Coleman’s new play; opposite, M. Denise Lee and Sara Shelby-Martin recreate their original roles with Peter DiCesare and Gary Lynn Floyd stepping in for the concert revival of ‘The Last Session.’

Uptown Players, Dallas’ gay theater company, is back again with its annual Pride Performing Arts Festival including musicals, plays, comedy and spoken word performances, with an opening night gala show Sept. 12, and performances every day through Sept. 20. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know to enjoy the entire festival.

All performances at the Kalita Humphreys Theater 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd., both mainstage and upstairs at Frank’s Place. Prices for Frank’s Place shows, $12–$18; a festival pass provides admission to all Frank’s Place shows plus the opening night performance. UptownPlayers.org

Mainstage productions
The Last Session: The Concert Version. Back during Uptown Players’ first season, this show became an early hit, with M. Denise Lee, Sara Shelby-Martin, Jeff Kinman and Scott Eckert in this heartfelt musical about a gay musician dying of AIDS but intent on one last recording session. Lee and Martin reprise their roles with Peter DiCesare and Gary Lynn Floyd stepping in for Kinman and Eckert for this one-night-only, opening-night concert staging of the hit show. Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. $22–$33.

Savage Love Live. The Pride Fest ends with gay sex columnist and It Gets Better Project co-founder Dan Savage doing the live stage presentation of his popular Savage Love advice column. It’s the cherry on the top of the festival, coming the night before the parade. Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. $29–$44.

Frank’s Place productions
Commencing by Jane Shephard. Kelli and Arlin are women set up on a blind date … although neither is right for the other. Still, they figure out exactly how women’s culture (gay and straight) affects the search for love. Sept. 13 at 2 p.m., Sept. 15 at 8 p.m., Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

From White Plains by Michael Perlman. An off-Broadway hit last year, this comedy explores four men (some gay, some straight) as they reexamine the choices that got them where they are. Sept. 13 at 3:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 2 p.m., Sept. 19 at 8 p.m., Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m.

Mythical Beastie by Bruce R. Coleman. Local director, designer and playwright Bruce Coleman conceived of and executes this comic romp about former college roommates reunited after a years-long estrangement only to discover something new about each other.  Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 16 at 8 p.m., Sept. 20 at 2 p.m.

Falling Man by Will Scheffer.   What do Jeffrey Dahmer, a gay hustler taken over by the spirit of Tennessee Williams, a cha-cha dance champ and a former drag queen have in common? They are the diverse characters played by Brandon Simmons in this play that examines the lives of an unlikely cross-section of gay men. Sept. 13 at 8 p.m., Sept. 14 at 6 p.m., Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.

Dysfunctional Divas by Steven Jay Crabtree. Dallas comedian and performance artist Steven Jay Crabtree inhabits a series of wacky female roles (including Trayla Park and Martini Glass) in this one-man standup tour de force. Sept. 13 at 9:30 p.m., Sept. 14 at 4 p.m., Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. 

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 12, 2014.