Theater

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Diana DeGarmo does Dolly in ‘9 to 5’

American Idol alum Diana DeGarmo

“American Idol” veteran and local girl Diana DeGarmo grew up idolizing Dolly Parton, so it’s somewhat fitting that she’s now taking on the role the singer played in the film “9 to 5” in the touring version of the new musical.

With music and lyrics written by Parton, “9 to 5: The Musical” debuted on Broadway last year. DeGarmo saw that version, liked it and was naturally receptive to doing the tour. She’d seen the movie with Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin several times, even though it was released before she was even born.

According to DeGarmo, there are subtle differences in the musical but for the most part the plot is the same — a trio of secretaries bond and decide to get even with their boss. In doing so, they practically take over their company. Parton has written new songs for the musical, but not surprisingly the show opens with her popular, titular song.

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Tony Award winner Melba Moore loves her gay fans

Broadway star and Tony winner Melba Moore

She’s performed with some of the best musical artists in the business, recording hit songs and earning numerous Grammy nominations. She’s made history on Broadway.

And she’s fallen on serious hard times but still keeps doing what she loves the most — singing and performing.

Melba Moore brings her spirit to Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride, performing live on Sunday, Sept. 5, at Django’s as part of Wassup N ATL’s lineup of artists.

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Fall Preview: ‘Pageant’ and much more…

Upcoming theater shows

From marquee-level touring shows to Atlanta premieres, the fall promises to be a busy time in local theaters for gay and lesbian patrons.

Currently running is the musical comedy “Pageant: The Musical,” which opened in August and runs until October. The show, a satire of beauty pageants, stars openly gay Brian Clowdus as Miss Texas, one of a half dozen contestants trying to be named Miss Glamouresse.  The actor envisions the crowd-pleasing Miss Texas as a pageant regular, one who does not take kindly to losing.

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‘Shopping and F***ing’ is meaty, and decidedly adult

Shopping and F***ing

“Shopping and F***ing,” first produced in 1996, is gay English playwright Mark Ravenhill’s first full length play, one that is considered by many to be among the most controversial of the ‘90s. It’s set in the underbelly of London — a world sprinkled with rent boys and drug lords, shoplifting and desperate attempts to get money, as well as lots of the titular f***ing.

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Iconic musical ‘Hairspray’ still holds

Hairspray comes to town

Gay performers Alan Kilpatrick and Glenn Rainey aren’t technically joined at the hip, but they’ve acted a lot like it lately. Their collaboration in the musical “Hairspray” (opening at The Strand Theatre this week courtesy of Atlanta Lyric Theatre) is their third in the past nine months.

In “Hairspray,” they play husband and wife. Kilpatrick plays Wilbur Turnblad and Rainey plays the immortal Edna Turnblad. Rainey joins a list of heavyweights who have played that role onstage including Tony winner Harvey Fierstein, Bruce Vilanch and “Cheers” star George Wendt.

Rainey actually auditioned to understudy for Edna when he was living in New York. Although he has played women before, this is unique.

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Gay director at Stage Door Players tackles commitment issues in ‘Company’

Stage Door Players

Robert Egizio remembers hearing Elaine Strich’s version of “The Ladies Who Lunch” from the musical “Company” and buying the cast album almost immediately after. Since that time he has longed to be involved in a production of the musical, and next week he gets the chance at his Stage Door Players.

Egizio, the openly gay artistic director of the company, is directing the production. His version of “Company” hits almost 40 years after the original bowed on Broadway.

In the musical, openly gay Dustin Lewis stars as Robert, the main character who is celebrating his 35th birthday. Over the course of the show, we meet his married friends — all of whom are urging him to settle down and get married — as well as his three girlfriends. Robert has rejected the notion of making a commitment to any of them.

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Shay Youngblood’s ‘Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery’ comes home

‘Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery’ cast

Although no longer an Atlantan, lesbian playwright and author Shay Youngblood considers the city her second home and is excited to return here for Horizon Theatre’s remount of her signature play “Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery.”

Youngblood was born in Columbus, Ga., and graduated from Clark-Atlanta University. She held various jobs around town, but Charis Books & More proved to be a stepping stone.

Youngblood worked at the now 35-year-old feminist bookstore for a year, beginning when she was only 19, and was persuaded to hold her first public reading there. That event gave her confidence and the drive to move on.