Norristown’s Theatre Horizon has unveiled the lineup for its 10th anniversary season, which Artistic Director Erin Reilly says is all about “giving voice to the voiceless.” Known for producing challenging yet inspirational dramas, Theatre Horizon’s upcoming season will include works by Stephen Sondheim and Suzan-Lori Park, with the stories and actors aiming to reflect the diversity of the local theater community.
For Philly playwright Ellie Brown, having her fourth grade diary not only discovered but read aloud is the stuff of dreams — and I’m not talking the horrifying “showing up to school in your underwear” variety. She’s happily sharing her pre-adolescent secrets with the world in her upcoming play, Dear Diary, Bye. And, as if that doesn’t already sound crazy enough, the dialogue will be performed by a 22-year-old man. Wha?!
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For the next three seasons, the Wilma Theater will offer its regular productions at a deeply discounted rate — $25 standard, $10 for students — in a bold initiative to broaden their audience. That’s some extra cash to spend on pre-theater dining, maybe a few extra pennies in the “new opera glasses” fund. More importantly, the theater hopes its WynTix initiative will create a more diverse and accessible theater, with an audience that reflects a greater portion of the Philadelphia populace.
At the end of last season, audiences were treated to the first part of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America at the Wilma Theater. As the new season kicks off with the second part of the Tony-winning show being staged now through Oct. 21 – almost 20 years after it was written, and more than 30 years into the AIDS crisis – the Wilma has partnered with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
After each performance of the play, cast members (in full costume) will greet audience members and ask for contributions for Broadway Cares, one of the nation’s largest non-profit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. “A sizeable portion of the total proceeds will benefit three local organizations affiliated with Broadway Cares,” says Johnny Van Heest, a spokesperson for the Wilma, “ActionAIDS, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and the Mazzoni Center.”
During its first weekend, says Van Heest, the Wilma had already collected more than $3,000.
Every summer Rich Rubin, Quince Productions‘ executive director, introduces Philly audiences to new LGBT shows, as well as revivals of classic productions. Who can forget The Beebo Brinker Chronicles last year? Rubin is once again giving us a sneak peek into this year’s GayFest, which gets started in August and runs through the first of September.
Not only is Quince celebrating its fifth season, but GayFest has become the region’s go-to LGBT theatre festival. “It’s bigger than ever this year,” says Rubin, “with four plays, including a world premiere written especially for GayFest running in repertory, eight ‘one-night stands’ and three staged readings, as well as a return appearance by New York-based dance company The Bang Group. They were the first show Quince presented five years ago.”
The festival will open on August 3 with The Bang Group’s cabaret Misters and Sisters, a song and dance about the dreams of young gay boys and favorite Hollywood goddesses. It’s followed by the gala opening night party.
There are also four mainstage plays in GayFest:
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is the follow-up to the famous docu-theater piece by Moises Kaufman. Here, company members interview residents of Laramie a decade following the Matthew Shepard murder.
Daniel Talbott’s Mike and Seth is being premiered at the festival (Talbott wrote last year’s popular Slipping). The play’s about a straight man and a gay man – lifelong friends – who hole up in a hotel room together the night before the straight man’s wedding.
The Well of Horniness is a classic “dyke noir” play by Holly Hughes in which a female private dick tries to solve a murder with far too many suspects.
The Crumple Zone, a dark comedy by Buddy Thomas (author of last year’s Devil Boys From Beyond), is also being premiered for the first time. The play takes place in a Staten Island apartment during Christmas week, as three gay roommates deal with life, love and alcohol.
The Cher songbook – with “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Dark Lady” and “Jesse James” – easily conjure up storied performances. But according to Broadway.com, Cher says she plans to write and star in a Broadway musical about her life. And since the musical diva’s already won an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Golden Globe, looks as though a Tony could be added to the list (hello, EGOT!).
Cher took to Twitter to share her thoughts about the project, saying she has something in the works. The show is said to feature two women – young Cher and Cher today. It would follow her life through the Sonny and Cher years, her solo career and Believe tour – and will feature some of her biggest hits.
What songs would you like to hear in the show? And who would play Chaz?
Here’s one of our picks:
There may be no place like home – in the Gayborhood – but one event this week may inspire a temporary exodus. On May 10, an oh-so-gay bus trip departs from Woody’s to Media to see the rock musical Spring Awakening during a special LGBT-friendly performance.
The Tony-winning show has been wooing gay and straight audiences alike ever since singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik first debuted the score. Dealing with frank talk about sex and young love – the show’s adapted from a German play set in the late 19th century about teenagers who are coming of age. First banned in Europe for its portrayal of everything from rape, suicide, abortion and homosexuality, the new rock musical adds up to a moving, memorable night at the theatre.
Forty dollars goes a long way – and includes one bus ticket and theatre ticket to the show. Complimentary beer, sodas and snacks will even be served during the bus ride with a post-show LGBT reception with free food, a cash bar and the opportunity to meet the cast.