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New theater season packed full of LGBT productions

Not only is the upcoming 2013-2014 local theater season packed with LGBT themed and LGBT friendly productions, but it’s a season that’s longer than perhaps any other on record. Aurora Theatre began its fall season this summer with “Les Miserables” and now everyone else is catching up and unveiling their openers.

The big news at the Alliance Theatre is Barry Manilow’s revisited musical “Harmony” – the story of a boy band in ‘30s Germany, half of whom were Jewish, who were disbanded by the Nazi party – but it’s far from the only offering from the company.

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Famed play explores faith, sexuality through young man’s equine attraction

Equus

After a long history with Actor’s Express, it’s only fitting that openly gay David Crowe is back with the company, this time directing the classic “Equus.”

Opening March 21, “Equus” – written in 1973 by Peter Shaffer — is the dark tale of Alan Strang (Kyle Brumley), a young man who has blinded a half dozen horses.  Psychiatrist Richard Dysart (Chris Kayser) is left to figure out why and treat Strang.

Considered a masterpiece, “Equus” is still staged regularly around the world but got a big modern-day boost when Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, performed the lead role of Alan in London in 2007 and again on Broadway in 2009 — bringing masses to see the play and to gawk at his full frontal nudity.

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‘Wolves’ takes an edgy look at gay relationships

Former Atlanta playwright Steve Yockey’s “Wolves” is anything but a standard boy-meets-boy gay romance. Making its world premiere at Actor’s Express this weekend, the gay-themed “Wolves” has a dark, edgier side – as well as some eventual bloodshed.

Set in an unidentified large city, “Wolves” finds two former lovers – at different stages of their lives – still living together. Clifton Guterman plays Ben, a young man who has been a loner most of his life, starting in the small town where he grew up.

When Ben moves to the big city, he gets swallowed up and still feels isolated, Guterman notes. He meets Jack (Brian Crawford) and they start a relationship, but when they break up, they are still forced to live together for financial reasons. 

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Play about marriage equality fight gets first Atlanta reading

Dustin Lance Black's '8'

Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black’s play “8” will make its Atlanta debut Oct. 15 via a collaboration among several local organizations, including Georgia Equality, Actor’s Express, Stonewall Bar Association, and John Marshall School of Law’s OUTLaws and Allies student group. 

The high-profile play, dealing with the fight for marriage equality, was performed last year on Broadway and then was telecast from Los Angeles this spring around the world, both times with A-list readers/cast members. 

“8” is based on the real life Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, which sought to overturn the California ballot measure known as Proposition 8, which ended same-sex marriage in the state. High-profile lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson represented two gay couples who wanted to get married.

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Actor’s Express offers 25th season ‘Kiss’

Kiss of the Spidewoman

In choosing the opening show of Actor’s Express’ 25th anniversary season, Freddie Ashley knew he wanted a production that would register, a large scale show with “some heft.” He has chosen the gay-themed musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” opening Aug. 22.

Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel is about two cellmates in a Buenos Aires prison: Luis Molina and Valentín Arregui, who are polar opposites. Valentin is a revolutionary trying to overthrow the government, while Molina is openly gay and effeminate, in jail for sexual relations with a minor.

The novel was turned into a 1983 play, then a 1985 film which won William Hurt a Best Actor Oscar as Molina.

With a book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb (“Cabaret,” “Chicago”), a musical version of “Spider Woman” opened on Broadway in 1993 and won a slew of Tony Awards, including one for gay icon Chita Rivera, who starred as the infamous titular character.

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One Minute Plays

Plenty of gay fare in unique weekend theater festival at Actor's Express

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Plenty of gay fare in One Minute Play Festival

Those with attention deficit disorder should cotton to the First One Minute Play Festival, opening shortly at Actor’s Express. A number of LGBT playwrights and a lesbian director are involved in a festival that delivers what it promises: All plays are under 60 seconds.

The festival is the creation of Dominic D’Andrea, a New York based theater producer who has been doing this for a few years now. Once D’Andrea has assembled a team for each new city, he said themes usually emerge in the scripts. He strives to be as diverse as possible in terms of what is included.  

“It’s important to have different voices,” he says, with artists of various races and sexual orientation. 

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Actor’s Express celebrates 25th season with gay-favorites

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The 2012-2013 marks the 25th anniversary of Actor's Express and from the schedule released today, there are plenty of options for gay audiences to applaud. A dead president in tight jeans, (potential) full nudity in "Equus" and a tantalizing love affair in "Kiss of the Spider Women" as well as more.

"Kiss of the Spider Woman," winner of seven Tony Awards, kicks off the season of the Atlanta theater on Aug. 22 and is directed by openly gay artistic director Freddie Ashley.