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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.