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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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National Puppet Slam hits Atlanta with gay-themed fair

2012 Puppet Slam

This weekend’s National Puppet Slam brings together a slate of puppeteers from around the country for two days of adult-themed shows Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, including one gay-themed show.

Atlantan Gregg Van Laningham’s piece, “Jeremy’s Big Heart,” is the only gay-themed puppet show in the program for the Slam, set for Aug.3-4.  In it, the titular Jeremy is a kid, circa nine years old or so, who is hard at work making a Valentine’s Day card for another student in his class — who happens to be a boy.

When Jeremy’s mother finds out, she has mixed emotions.

“She wants him to be able to finish it but she fears what will happen if he does give it,” says Van Laningham, who is gay.

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Del Shores gets ‘Naked’

Del Shores

If there is a silver lining to Del Shores’ recent break-up with husband Jason Dottley, it’s that it has brought Shores back on the road – with a whole new array of material.

The playwright behind “Sordid Lives” returns Aug. 17 to Onstage Atlanta with his new “Naked. Sordid. Reality.”

The news that Shores and Dottley were divorcing after 10 years together came as a shock to the performer, although some in the LGBT community had questioned Dottley’s motives. 

“It was abrupt and it was planned,” says Shores. “I didn’t see it coming. I was devastated. It’s been hard, but I knew I needed to get back on the road, to hear the energy and laughter.”

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Local gay playwright offers ‘Breakfast Club’ on teachers

 'Evelyn in Purgatory'

Essential Theatre’s triumvirate of new shows this summer includes a world premiere from tireless gay playwright Topher Payne.

His latest is “Evelyn in Purgatory,” which he laughingly calls “The Breakfast Club” for teachers. It’s the story of a group of public school teachers, crammed into a tiny office at the Department of Education, awaiting disciplinary hearings.

“They’re being punished, but nobody in charge cares enough to even observe them,” says Payne, also a GA Voice columnist. “The teachers have no information on how long they’ll be there, or what they’re supposed to be doing. So they’re just stuck in the system. But you can only do nothing for so long, so they get to know each other, have screaming fights, start a book club, learn French, and workshop a screenplay.”