Sutton knew the only person she wanted to play the lead character was Rainey. Ironically, Rainey himself knew the playwright, had already read it and brought it to the theater’s attention.
Doing a play called “Gray Area” forced the cast and creative team to look at their own “gray areas” and deal with them, says Sutton.
“This show makes you laugh but it also challenges you and makes you think about others and their side; about having conversations no one wants to have,” she says.
Although it can be broad at times, she doesn’t call it campy.
“It is more sophisticated,” she says. “The characters are honed in truth. Glenn’s character may be flamboyant but the play is about playing stereotypes and then breaking them.”
Sutton was born in Savannah and moved to Atlanta, where she became active in theater and eventually became artistic director for the Atlanta International School.
She left Atlanta in 2004 and eventually landed in New York, where she pursued another passion – stand up comedy. Much of her material sprang from her own life, which included being married to a man before realizing she was attracted to women.
Now that she is back home in Atlanta, she has already committed to direct “Xanadu” at Actor’s Express. Later this year she will also be involved in a comedy troupe, “The Effin Queer Comedy Tour.”
‘The Glass Menagerie’
One of the most anticipated shows of the fall season came close to not happening. “The Glass Menagerie,” one of gay playwright Tennessee William’s most loved plays, was almost curtailed by Georgia Shakespeare’s financial difficulties.
A few weeks ago the company stated publicly that if supporters did not raise $500,000 over the next few months, they would have to close their doors. Luckily they have raised enough of the initial money they’ve needed to stabilize, according to Georgia Shakespeare artistic director Richard Garner.
“The Glass Menagerie” is a memory play about the Wingfield family. Amanda (Mary Lynn Owen) hovers over her family: Laura (Bethany Anne Lind) and tortured Tom (Joe Knezevich).
Garner, who is directing, says that he feels their version of the classic doesn’t make a judgment about Tom. It’s always been suggested that he is out seeking the company of other men but never directly stated in the text.
When asked where he’s been out late at night, Tom always says that he was at the movies.
“We want the audience to make up their own mind,” says Garner.
According to Garner, Williams has said that “Glass Menagerie” is based on his family but has always said Tom is not a carbon copy of himself.
Top photo: Out actor Glenn Rainey (center, hands tied) plays a kidnapped theatre critic whose captors don’t know he’s gay in ‘Gray Area.’ (Photo by Christopher Bartelski)