Gay theater festival continues with a notable vacancy — and a new comedy


THE SHOW MUST GO ON | The sudden death in July of actor Ryan Roach, left, derailed the fest’s schedule, but performer Paul J. Williams, right, graciously stepped in with his solo show, ‘Dishing It Out.’

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 10.32.39 AMUptown Players knew exactly what its third annual Pride Performing Arts Festival was going to look like. And then the unthinkable happened.

Uptown was producing three of the six shows; among those being mounted by producing partners was Pageant Play, a four-actor comedy put on by Our Productions Theatre Company (formerly Flower Mound Performing Arts Theatre). Then, soon after the lineup announcement, Ryan Roach, one of the actors in Pageant Play, suddenly passed away.

But as theaterfolk know, the show must go on! The Pride Fest will continue, sans Pageant Play — but the bigger hole will be felt in the hearts of Roach’s friends.

The remaining shows (including a new production with Paul J. Williams) will be performed in the upstairs Frank’s Place space of the Kalita Humphreys, and are a mix of wacky comedies and dark dramas.

Uptown Players collaborates with other companies because of the demands of mounting even a small production. And it often looks to shows that ran in other venues to supplement its content.

“Much of our base doesn’t go to Flower Mound or the Bath House Cultural Center,” Craig Lynch, co-founder of Uptown Players, says.

The mini-revivals change as well — as Roach’s passing showed. The Time Keepers, which had a run at the Dallas Holocaust museum this spring, will arrive with a new actor in one of the lead roles, for instance.

It all started Thursday night with the cabaret by entertainers Amy and Freddy. Here’s the rundown.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Good Boys and True (presented by Uptown Players). Hot gay playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) wrote this combustible story set in the hothouse atmosphere of a boys’ boarding school. (Sept. 6 at 8 p.m., Sept. 8 at 7:45 p.m., Sept. 12 at 7:45 p.m., Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.).

The Time Keepers (presented by Theatre New West). The relationship between a Jew and a homosexual serving time as watch repairers in a WWII concentration camp is both disturbing and entertaining. (Sept. 7 at 2 p.m., Sept. 8 at 4 p.m., Sept. 13 at 8 p.m.)

Dishing It Out (presented by Uptown Players). Paul J. Williams performs his one-man show set in a Southern cafeteria, in which he plays six characters. (Sept. 7 at 4 p.m., Sept. 11 at 8 p.m., Sept. 14 at 2 p.m.)

Made in Heaven (presented by Uptown Players). Kevin Moore directs this farce about twins conjoined at the nether regions. Everything seems to be OK until one brother announces he’s gay … and wants to date. (Sept. 7 at 6 p.m., Sept. 10 at 8 p.m., Sept. 14 at 6:45 p.m.)

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche (presented by Uptown Players). A saucy comedy about the 1856 meeting of the secret lesbian organization the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein …. OK, maybe not so secret. Marisa Diotalevi stars. (Sept. 7 at 8 p.m., Sept. 8 at 6 p.m., Sept. 14 at 8:30 p.m.)

Cock (presented by Second Thought Theatre). A staged reading of the recent off-Broadway hit about a gay man who meets and falls for a woman. (Sept. 8 at
2 p.m., Sept. 9 at 8 p.m.)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 6, 2013.