As memories of summer fade away, fall is now officially here, with some sparkling theater options, including several new shows.
In its 25th anniversary year, Actor’s Express is presenting one of its patented world premieres – gay playwright Steve Yockey’s “Wolves” (Nov. 8 – Dec. 2), directed by out lesbian Melissa Foulger. It’s very gay themed, starting as a gay man brings a wolf home as a one-night stand, to the dismay of his roommate. Hell breaks loose from there.
“It’s really about the conflation of sex and fear in modern society, the overlapping mix of what’s sexy and what’s dangerous — all wrapped up in a sort of modern fairy tale narration,” Yockey says.
It’s Yockey’s first work at the Express since the company’s “Octopus.” Freddie Ashley, openly gay artistic director of the Express, feels that Yockey’s writing is always “bold, imaginative, sexy and exciting.”
Virtue of The Process Theatre, openly gay Charles Busch’s “The Divine Sister” (Oct. 26 – Nov. 17) is making its Atlanta debut in October. Busch is the legendary playwright of such plays as “Die, Mommie, Die!,” “Psycho Beach Party” and “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.”
In “The Divine Sister,” a Mother Superior has to juggle a schoolboy in need of a mentor, a lascivious suitor and many other calamities. The comedy stars Topher Payne – GA Voice’s 2012 Best of Atlanta Best Actor – in the title role and he says it’s a perfect fit.
“I have played a lot of women, but I’ve never played a nun,” says Payne.
The work of openly gay Del Shores, always a favorite in Atlanta, is back in a production of his “Daddy’s Dying: Who’s Got the Will” (Sept.28 – Oct. 20) at Onstage Atlanta. It’s directed by out DeWayne Morgan.
Not as well-known as Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” it’s nonetheless a comedy with plenty of yucks and Southern characters. Also at Onstage during the holidays, for what is likely to be the company’s last show at its current location before Walmart forces it and Process Theatre elsewhere, is the bound to be campy “Nuncrackers – The Nunsense Christmas Musical.” It’s directed by out Cathe Hall Payne.
Long a favorite in the LGBT community, Pearl Cleage has another upcoming world premiere at the Alliance Theatre. The just-opened political and comedic “What I Learned in Paris” (through Sept. 30) is set in Atlanta circa 1973.
Alfred Uhry of “Driving Miss Daisy” fame returns to the Alliance as well with his new “Apples and Oranges” (Oct. 5 – 28), directed by Lynne Meadow of the Manhattan Theatre Club. It’s about a brother and sister who grow closer, despite obvious differences in their lives. Another sure-to-please Alliance work is the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning “Next to Normal” (Oct. 17 – Nov. 11).
Off of a strong year, Fabrefaction’s upcoming musical “Assassins” (opens Oct. 19) looks at nine individuals who tried to assassinate presidents. Its music and lyrics are by openly gay Stephen Sondheim. Also look for Cole Porter’s classic musical “Anything Goes” (Sept. 21 – Oct.7) this month at Atlanta Lyric Theatre.
Though not gay in nature, one of the major productions coming to town via the Atlanta Broadway Series is “War Horse” (Sept. 25-30). The Best Play Tony winner from a few seasons back tells the story of a relationship between a young man and his spirited steed during wartime, using innovative, imaginative puppetry.
Another potentially big production is Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop” (Nov. 13 – Dec. 16), a play dealing with Dr. Martin Luther King and his chance encounter with a mystery lady. It gets its first regional staging here after a Broadway run recently with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, with Kenny Leon directing, when Jasmine Guy helms its later this season for True Colors Theatre Company.
Finally, it’s not been announced or is even official yet, but don’t be surprised if gay fave “Santaland Diaries,” based on gay humorist David Sedaris’ “Holidays on Ice,” comes back to the Horizon again this holiday season.
Top photo: Actor’s Express presents the world premiere of gay playwright Steve Yockey’s ‘Wolves,’ about a gay man who brings a wolf home for a one-night stand. Melissa Foulger, who is lesbian, directs. (Yockey photo via Facebook; Foulger photo courtesy GCSU)