Preview: GayFest 2012

Quince Productions' theatre festival kicks off August 3 with more than a dozen events

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.

Calvin Atkinson is one of the stars of Mike and Seth (all photos courtesy of GayFest)

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.

Sundays and Mondays throughout the festival will feature a variety of one-time performances, including three staged readings of new gay plays and eight “one night stands” by a wide variety of artists:

August 5 and August 6 (7 p.m.): R. Eric Thomas returns to Quince’s stage (Overexposed: A Slightly Awkward Peep Show and Full House) with the world premiere of a new work Always the Bridesmaid. With his signature mixture of humor, honesty and pointed observation, Thomas questions the definition of marriage and what it really means to the gay community.

Shannon Agnew stars in Transparent Summer

August 12 (2 p.m.): A staged reading of Cold by Sarah Pappalardo tells the story of a lesbian bar owner and her hard-drinking business partner who interact with a younger woman.

August 12 (7 p.m.): Musical performer Michael L. Medvidik stars in What? Like It’s Hard? about the ups and downs of being gay.

August 13 (7 p.m.): Shannon Agnew (Full House: A Series of Cabarets) presents an original piece Transparent Summer, an evening of drama and comedy.

August 19 (2 p.m.): A staged reading of the new play Subdivision by Dave Ebersole (Living Space and Devil Boys From Beyond) deals with race and the workplace.

Rae Drew headlines [email protected], transgender variety show

August 19 (7 p.m.): Marc McCloughan’s comic, gender-bending show The Beautiful Refrigerator is Empty has McCloughan playing Teena Giest, a 14-year old girl (and murderer?) with a serious attitude problem.

August 20 (7 p.m.): Josh Hitchens stars in the one-man show Guilty but Insane: A Confessional Monologueas a serial killer.

August 26 (2 p.m.): A staged reading of Mother Tongue by F.J. Hartland revolves around Bertie, a standup comic and mother who has a knack for telling the world’s worst jokes until everything hits the fan.

August 26 (7 p.m.): Rae Drew and friends star in [email protected] Gender, a transgender variety show with comedy, drag, music and more.

August 27 (7 p.m.): Daniel Student stars in The Daniel Student Gay Porn Viewing Party that tells the story of a straight man raised by two lesbians whose only sibling is a gay brother – who just so happens to share a name with a porn star.

GayFest, Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Place, 215-627-1088.