The advent of a new instrument changes the lives of many in “In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play,” which runs Oct. 28 to Nov. 19 at Synchonicity Theatre.
The play, a 2010 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominee for Best Play, is set in the days of corsets, bustles and horses and buggies. A noted doctor has come up with a vibrator that is designed to treat women for “hysteria” but instead makes them enormously happy.
“Vibrator Play” is directed by Rachel May, artistic director or Synchronicity, and was written by acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl.
“I like her work – she is a smart writer but she has heart,” May says. “She reminds me of Paula Vogel in that she makes you laugh but undercuts it with social commentary. The humor works to get you into it but important things are underneath.”
Glenn Rainey doesn’t want to take it for granted, but the openly gay performer has been on a hot streak of late. On the heels of several high-profile local projects, he is starring in a touring version of “Guys and Dolls,” opening shortly in Atlanta by virtue of Theater of the Stars.
Considered one of the classic musicals, “Guys and Dolls” takes place in a Damon Runyon-esque New York City, full of criminals and gamblers, where infamous Nathan Detroit is running an illegal crap game but is being coaxed to leave the business by long-time girlfriend (and nightclub singer) Miss Adelaide. Rainey stars as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, who, with friend Benny Southstreet, works for Detroit. The actor compares Nicely-Nicely and Benny to Heckle and Jeckle and Laurel and Hardy.
When Rainey heard that there was going to be an upcoming national tour of the musical, he quickly went about looking into it. He was asked to come to New York to audition but couldn’t, so he sent in two audition tapes to the casting director. He was hired by virtue of those two tapes.
While it has played in Atlanta a few times over the last two years as a touring show, a local version of “A Chorus Line” is a rare thing indeed. That changes soon as the gay-themed musical opens at Aurora Theatre to begin the company’s 16th season.
The celebrated musical is known for its iconic images of a group of dancers auditioning and baring their souls all for the chance to be in the chorus line of a musical, as well as its standout musical numbers. Yet its inclusion of three-dimensional gay characters is still relevant, given that “A Chorus Line” debuted in an era — 1975 — where few gay characters were onstage.
Many of the actors in this cast are gay. Two of them are Anthony Owen, who plays Bobby Mills, and David Rossetti, who plays Paul San Marco. Both of the characters they portray are gay, too, although Bobby’s sexual orientation is never mentioned directly in the show.