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Real lesbians eat quiche

5 Lesbians Eating Quice

The characters in the play “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” may like to gather over food but they are hesitant about referring to themselves as lesbians – at least initially.

“5 Lesbians,” opening July 3 courtesy of the Weird Sisters Theatre Project, is a comedy written – ironically – by two men, Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood. It takes place in 1956 where five women have gathered for the annual Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein meeting, where a highlight of the day is the crowning of the best quiche.

The women include Lulie Stanwyck (Tiffany Porter), the president of the society; Veronica “Vern” Schulz (Megan Rose), the buildings and ground chairman; Wren Robin (Jaclyn Hoffman), the society’s event chairwoman; and Ginny Cadbury (Annie York), the new girl in town, a transplant from the UK. There’s also Dale Prist, the society’s historian, played by a male in drag here, Bryan Lee.

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Topher Payne spins Southern whodunit inspired by true story

Swell Party

Playwright Topher Payne is known for his prolific writing and his quick wit, but in “Swell Party,” opening next week at Georgia Ensemble Theater, he has penned a personal first – a mystery.

The openly gay writer (and GA Voice columnist) had a successful world premiere at the Roswell-based theater a few years ago with his gay-themed comedy “Tokens of Affection,” and now he is back there with another new work.

When a tobacco heir returns to his Southern home with a new wife, it surprises everyone, but that news becomes secondary when the groom turns up dead. The rest of the guests at his home try to put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out whodunit.

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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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New comedy prays for twisted laughs

Topher Payne in 'The Divine Sister'

Never known to shy away from gay-themed or bawdy material, the Process Theatre opens its 10th anniversary season this week with the comedic “The Divine Sister,” starring a duo who have worked together consistently over the years — Topher Payne (also a GA Voice columnist) and Process Artistic Director DeWayne Morgan, both openly gay.

“Sister” is the latest from the hands of Charles Busch, author of “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom,” “Die, Mommie, Die!” and “Psycho Beach Party.” We caught up with Payne and Morgan to discuss the play and the future of Process Theatre.

You’ve played so many diverse roles in your career, Topher, from David Frost to Joan Crawford. How does playing a nun fit into your oeuvre?

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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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Gay puppeteer helps bring ‘War Horse’ to life at Fox Theatre

War Horse

In the touring version of the universally acclaimed “War Horse” (playing through Sept. 30 at the Fox Theatre courtesy of the Broadway Series) openly gay Jon Riddleberger brings two characters to life – both of them horses.

Based on the children’s book by Michael Morpurgo, adapted into a play by Nick Stafford, “War Horse” has just started its U.S. national tour. After premiering at the Royal National Theatre in London, it came to the States and won a 2011 Tony for Best Play. It’s still playing on Broadway.

“War Horse” opens in England in 1914. At the beginning of World War I, Joey – a horse – is sold to the cavalry. His young owner Albert sets out on a journey to find him and bring him home. During the war, Joey becomes friends with another horse, Topthorn. 

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Fall Preview: ‘Wolves,’ ‘Divine Sister’ among fall theater debuts

Theater preview

As memories of summer fade away, fall is now officially here, with some sparkling theater options, including several new shows.

In its 25th anniversary year, Actor’s Express is presenting one of its patented world premieres – gay playwright Steve Yockey’s “Wolves” (Nov. 8 – Dec. 2), directed by out lesbian Melissa Foulger. It’s very gay themed, starting as a gay man brings a wolf home as a one-night stand, to the dismay of his roommate. Hell breaks loose from there.

“It’s really about the conflation of sex and fear in modern society, the overlapping mix of what’s sexy and what’s dangerous — all wrapped up in a sort of modern fairy tale narration,” Yockey says.

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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.