Variety Show for Way Gay U

LGBT performers line up to school students starting this spring. Plus: A variety show at Tabu

R. Eric Thomas will share the secrets to storytelling during a new workshop at Way Gay U. He's also showing off his skills during a variety show kicking off the spring semester next week at Tabu (courtesy of R. Eric Thomas).

To help kick off new one-day and eight-week adult-enrichment classes being offered at William Way’s “Way Gay U” this season, the center is hosting a free variety show (March 14) at Tabu touting some of the new classes led this year by local performers.

“Eight of the classes are brand new and are instructed by some of Philadelphia’s better-known queer talent,” says Paul Blore, a spokesperson from William Way. “The campaign is meant to bring more visibility to Way Gay U, a program that we’ve been offering for years, but of which many people may still be unaware.”

A series of videos is being introduced to tout the classes, while the variety show – billed as “Gay is the New Geek” – showcases a few skill sets students can expect to learn from the workshops starting later this month.

“The series of videos is meant to drive home the point that the courses are for our community, taught by people of our community,” says Blore, “and that they cover a broad range of subject matter – including skills to help land a job, to help in a relationship (whether as a parent, or as a lover), to help stay fit (while keeping it fun), and to help tap into a creative outlet.”

R. Eric Thomas, an out performer who’s been seen with First Person Arts, the QComedy Fest and Phreak N Queer, is teaching “What’s Your Story?” this spring and performing in the variety show. Known for his comic take on real-life experiences, Thomas uses memoir and stand up to explore storytelling.

Another comedian on the LGBT scene – Alejandro Morales of Camp Tabu – is also teaching a workshop on screenwriting and stand up comedy where students will learn the basics of contemporary Hollywood three-act script-writing through lecture, simulated pitches, group discussion, the screenplay for Thelma & Louise and Four Screenplays by Syd Field. Students will also learn how to tell jokes in the context of stand-up comedy.

Alejandro Morales schools Way Gay U students on successful screenplay writing and showcases his stand-up chops at Tabu, home of his comedy show Camp Tabu (courtesy of Alejandro Morales).

ScrewSmart is also participating in Way Gay U this year with a discussion about “Loving Openly: Navigating Open Relationships,” a hot topic for many couples questioning the need for monogamy.

Other workshops delve into same-sex parenting and job skills designed to help wow a potential employer. There’s also a class about professional writing that hones resume and letter writing skills.

“To create additional momentum around WGU’s spring offerings, William Way called on its seasoned performers to produce and star in a series of short, kitschy videos, also debuting next week,” says Blore. “And the ‘Gay is the New Geek’ Variety Show came about because the skills taught in many of the courses can be applied to performance. Rather than a bland informational fair, we wanted to put together a fun night of free entertainment, giving people the opportunity to see what’s available, see their instructors in action, and to register for courses at a discount.”

Thomas will be performing a story. The variety show will also feature a few dance numbers, cabaret performances, and, says Blore, the gayest aerobics routine – ever.

Click here for full course listings and registration information.

Gay is the New Geek, March 14, 6 – 8 p.m., Tabu, 200 S. 12th St., 215-732-2220.