Gays of spring: from Elton John's big musical Lestat to Lisa Kron's minimalist Well, gay and lesbian talents and themes freshen up theater offerings across the country in the first months of 2006.
God Doesn't Pay Rent Here by Judy Gold and Kate Moira Ryan
Currently at Ars Nova, New York City, opening night January 25, through February 12
A personal journey with out actor-comedian Gold, an Emmy winner for writing and producing Rosie O'Donnell's TV show.
The Wedding Singer book by Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy
Currently at the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, through February 79 Al Hirschfeld Theatre, New York City, begins March 30, opening night April 27
Chad Beguelin is the gay talent (with composer Matthew Sklar and colyricist Tim Herlihy) behind the new musical version of the Adam Sandler movie tribute to the pop music of the 1980s. The show will head for Broadway following its Seattle premiere.
Confessions of a Mormon Boy by Steven Fales
Currently at the SoHo Playhouse, New York City, opening night January 27
The autobiographical one-man show featured in The Advocate's April 12, 2005, cover story on gay and lesbian Mormons opens in the Big Apple, starring its hunky author, Steven Fales.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Currently at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, through March 5 Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City, April 78-May 74
The sublime comedy that marked both the pinnacle and the destruction of Oscar Wilde's career returns in a new production from Sir Peter Hall with Lynn Redgrave as Lady Bracknell.
The Velvet Sky by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, D.C., through March 5
A wildly comic and hallucinatory ride from gay playwright and comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (who's now writing the Fantastic Four series for Marvel).
The Well-Appointed Room by Richard Greenberg
Currently at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago, through March 12
The world premiere of a new play from Richard Greenberg, telling two stories set in the same room in New York City. One focuses on a tormented playwright; the other on the turning point in the life of a young wife. See below for other new plays from the suddenly prolific author of Take Me Out.
Boston Marriage by David Mamet
Currently at the Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, through March 12
A change of pace for playwright David Mamet: a drawing-room comedy about a New England lesbian romance set around 1900. Starring Rebecca Pidgeon, Mary Steenburgen, and Alicia Silverstone.
Grey Gardens by Doug Wright, Scott Frankel, and Michael Korie
Playwrights Horizons, New York City, February 10-March 26, opening night March 5
The latest from I Am My Own Wife playwright Doug Wright is a new musical (written with Scott Frankel and Michael Korie) based on the Maysles Brothers documentary about the eccentric upper-crust mother and daughter who lived as recluses in a dilapidated mansion in East Hampton, N.Y.
Brundibar and Comedy on the Bridge by Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak
Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Conn., February 10-March 5 New Victory Theater, New York City, April 28-May 21
Tony Kushner (Angels in America) collaborates with artist and author Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) in an adaptation of two 1930s Czech operettas that bear testament to human courage and creativity.
Bernarda Alba by Michael John LaChiusa
Lincoln Center Theater, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, New York City, begins February 11, opening night March 6
Out composer-lyricist Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again) puts his musical talents at the service of Spain's great gay poet-playwright Federico Garcia Lorca in this adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba, directed by Graciela Daniele and featuring Phylicia Rashad in the title role.
Entertaining Mr. Sloane by Joe Orton
Roundabout Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre--Laura Pels Theatre, New York City, February 17-May 21, opening night March 16
Alec Baldwin plays a man who competes with his sister for the affections of a young ruffian (Chris Carmack from The O.C.) in out director Scott Ellis's revival of Joe Orton's sexually charged comedy.
Measure for Pleasure by David Grimm
Public Theater, New York City, February 21-March 26
Euan Morton (young Boy George in Taboo) plays an 18th-century transvestite prostitute wooed by a man in a modern Restoration romp from out playwright David Grimm.
Act a Lady by Jordan Harrison
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky., March 7-April 1
In this Midwestern fable, inspired by real-life drag shows put on by lumberjacks in a small town in the Prohibition era, out playwright Jordan Harrison explores gender-blurring and the power of theater.
Well by Lisa Kron
Longacre Theatre, New York City, begins March 10, opening night March 30
Lisa Kron (of Five Lesbian Brothers) makes her Broadway debut with a hilarious and deftly written portrait of her mother. This follow-up to her 2.5 Minute Ride, which was about her father and the Holocaust, draws on her childhood in a racially integrated neighborhood in Lansing, Mich.
Lestat book by Linda Woolverton, music by Elton John, lyrics by Bernie Taupin
Palace Theater, New York City, begins March 11, opening night April 13
Following an engagement in San Francisco, Anne Rice's beloved vampire arrives on Broadway, singing and dancing to the music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, in an adaptation by Linda Woolverton (Disney's Beauty and the Beast).
Based on a Totally True Story by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center-Stage II, New York City, March 23-May 28, opens April 11
A writer faces crises in his family relationships just when he's about to get his big break in Hollywood. Another new play from Fantastic Four comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
Roundabout Theatre at Studio 54, New York City, March 24-June 11, opening night April 20
The famous Brecht-Weill musical gets an infusion of queer talent in this Broadway production, which stars Alan Cumming, features costumes by Isaac Mizrahi, and is directed by Scott Elliott.
Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York City, March 28-June 19, opening night April 19
Julia Roberts makes a highly anticipated Broadway debut in out director Joe Mantello's new production of Richard Greenberg's comedy about a brother and sister and their childhood friend who relive a key moment in their parents' lives.
Hijra by Ash Kotak
New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco, March 31-May 7
A comedy-drama by Ash Kotak in which a gay romance is facilitated by marginalized intersex people who come into their own during the traditional wedding season in Bombay.
Carrie by Erik Jackson
Ars Nova, New York City, April 1-May 27
Queer, hip, and hilarious, Theatre Couture returns after a six-year hiatus with its twisted version of the Stephen King novel about a teenage girl who acquires telekinetic powers when she hits adolescence. Not a revival of the notorious Broadway musical flop, this adaptation was written by Erik Jackson and directed by Josh Rosenzweig, with special telekinetic effects by Basil Twist and costumes by David "House of Field" Dalrymple. It stars drag diva Sherry Vine. And yes, it was sanctioned by King himself.
Bal Masque by Richard Greenberg
Theater J, Washington, D.C., April 5-May 21
Another play set in a well-appointed New York room, this stylish comedy from Richard Greenberg takes place in the early morning hours after Truman Capote's famous Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966.
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, Calif., April 5-June 4
Rita Moreno plays Amanda, the domineering mother in Tennessee Williams's semiautobiographical memory play.
A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur by Tennessee Williams
Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, Conn., April 6-May 7
Michael Wilson directs this rarely seen comedy by Tennessee Williams about four women in a St. Louis boardinghouse.
Jack and the Beanstalk by Dave Hall and Karl Greenberg
Manhattan Children's Theatre, New York City, April 8-May 21 (Saturday and Sunday matinees only)
Dave Hall, the out indie singer-songwriter, collaborates with Karl Greenberg on this new musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale.
The History Boys by Alan Bennett
Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, begins April 14, opening night April 23
Homoeroticism is a titillating as well as disturbing undercurrent in Alan Bennett's comedy about teenage English schoolboys, which arrives on Broadway following a sensational debut at London's National Theatre, directed by Nicholas Hytner (The Object of My Affection).
The House in Town by Richard Greenberg
Lincoln Center Theater, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, New York City, begins May 11, opening night June 15
Yet another new play from Richard Greenberg--a portrait of a marriage set in 1929 New York.
Some Men by Terrence McNally
Philadelphia Theatre Company, May 12-June 11
In his brand-new work, Terrence McNally (Master Class) explores the lives of a group of people who attend a same-sex wedding at New York's Plaza Hotel. Could it be the Love! Valour! Compassion! of this decade?
Valhalla by Paul Rudnick
New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco, May 12-June 24
A gay teenager from 1940s Texas encounters the flamboyant mad King Ludwig of 1880s Bavaria in this comic epic from Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey).
The Long Christmas Ride Home by Paula Vogel
Magic Theatre, San Francisco, May 13-July 11
Master puppeteer Basil Twist directs the West Coast premiere of Paula Vogel's heartbreaking story of three siblings whose strong bonds are forged by tragedy and family dysfunction.
Mame book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., May 27-July 2
Christine Baranski stars as the eccentric aunt in this new production of the Jerry Herman musical.
RELATED ARTICLE: Father vs. daughter.
Out playwright and dad Nilo Cruz explores a love triangle that entangles a gay parent and his daughter in Beauty of the Father
A father and daughter who have fallen for the same man is featured in Beauty of the Father, the latest from Nilo Cruz, the gay Latino playwright best known for his lyrical Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics.
"We don't fear violence, but it seems like we fear sensuality and sexuality in this country," notes the Cuban-born writer. "I find sexuality compelling subject matter--not the kind that is black-and-white but the sexuality that forms between the cracks."
The romantic drama, starring Priscilla Lopez and directed by Michael Greif [who staged Rent), started performances on December 15 at New York's Manhattan Theatre Club, with opening night scheduled for January 10 and a closing date of February 19.
Cruz has set his story in the Spanish province of Granada, also birthplace and home of playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca, believed to have been murdered in 1936 as much for his homosexuality as for his outspokenness against fascism. "I love Lorca's lyricism and his theatricality," says Cruz, who examined the writer's tragic death in an earlier play, Lorca in a Green Dress.
While doing research for the Lorca play in the south of Spain, he noticed the number of young Moroccan men who had come to Europe looking for advancement and was reminded of a similar situation he had observed earlier in Naples with Tunisian immigrants. In Italy he had met an older European gentleman whose relationship with a Tunisian had fallen apart when the younger man began to consider his patron a father more than a lover. Cruz incorporated elements of that failed love story into Beauty of the Father and wrote a part for his spiritual mentor Lorca, who appears as a wandering ghost in the play.
But Beauty of the Father is perhaps more personal for the 45-year-old playwright, who is father to a 16-year-old daughter.
"I'm certainly investigating my own relationship to being a father in this play," he acknowledges, declining to go into specifics.
For a clue to Cruz's discoveries, observe how the characters in the play each have to surrender something for the person they love, "Sometimes we have to sacrifice a little bit of our lives in order to get something else," Cruz observes. "There is beauty in that generosity of spirit."--G.R.
Raymond is a freelance writer based in New York City.
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|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Date:||Jan 31, 2006|
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