Another gay actor is Jono Davis, who is part of the ensemble and the understudy for the villain Javert. As an understudy for such a huge character, he has to be ready to go on at any time, although he won’t know until the day of the show, maybe only hours before.
The performer feels that the recent Oscar-winning movie version of “Les Mis” was great for those unfamiliar with the story or those who don’t have the money to go to New York to see it. Like Schleuse, he draws parallels between the characters here caught up in the revolution and LGBT individuals.
“To be honest, I’ve been thinking about that a lot,” Davis says. “There are a lot of parallels – fighting for equal rights and freedom, what the people think was right.”
Alan Yeong is the show’s openly gay costume designer. This is the fourth production he has done with Aurora and he admits nothing comes close in terms of the scale of this musical. This is the first period piece and he’s had to do research to make the details correct.
Part of the challenge, Yeong admits, is being aware of the passing years — the show opens in 1812 and goes through 1832 — and dressing accordingly. As well, “Les Mis” deals prominently with the differences between the social classes and he has to dress the upper class as well as the prostitutes.
“It’s important to honor the historical silhouette,” Yeong says.
In his mind, gay men tend flock to this kind of musical.
“We are all drama queens – we love these kind of over-the-top shows,” he says. “We love this kind of escapism. And who can’t identify with Fantine?”
LGBTQ Shorts at GSU
Next week, the GSU Players and the University Theatre present a three-day run of “Coping: An Evening of LGBTQ Shorts.” A call was put out for the 10 minute play fest earlier this year and 64 scripts were submitted. A panel whittled those to 12 and director Frank Miller eventually chose six.
In David Carley’s “Out Late,” a teenage boy tracks down his MIA father – at a gay bathhouse. A woman deals with issues of sexual identity in Barbara Lindsay’s solo show “Failing Lesbianism.” A lesbian police officer shares a bond with a close male friend on the force in Ellen Lewis’ “Waiting for the Skell.”
Jake Epstine’s “I Was Saved By the Ladies of the Night” is a gay men’s examination of strong female stars. A bride and a bridesmaid bond in “Destiny,” by Atlanta playwright Patricia Henritz. And in the closer, two male dolls get to know each other in Andrew Black’s “Don’t Toy With Me.”
In choosing the finalists, “we wanted to look at a variety of viewpoints and approaches to sexuality,” says Miller in his director’s notes.
“We celebrate gay lives, because we need to,” he continues. “In a world where homosexuality is still illegal in some areas, we need to remind ourselves about the existence of sexual diversity and the humanity of all people, straight, gay, lesbian, whatever.”