by Bill Kaiser
This June, theater burst all over Southern California for Pride Month. The six-month long Sondheim Season at The Pasadena Playhouse ended on a high note with A Little Night Music and a knockout concert by icon Bernadette Peters.
The LGBT Center reopened its theaters at The Village with a co-production alongside Celebration Theatre: a reimagined gender version of William Finn’s A New Brain.
They then co-produced the world premiere of The Bottoming Process by Nicholas Pilapil with IAMA Theatre Company. This production brought the queer Filipinx American experience to the mix.
The annual Hollywood Fringe Theater Festival brought hundreds of shows to the local theaters. It was a wet dream for an avid theatergoer if you had the time, stamina and organization to make it to many of the showings. Certainly there were many with LGBT+ content and/or performers. One of interest was SICK by Dahn Hiuni which chronicled the activists that convinced the American Psychiatric Association to change their designation of homosexuality as a mental condition.
During this time, Celebration Theatre and Greenway Arts Alliance created a new version of Tales Of The Transcestors, Six Stories – Across Culture, Across Time, directed by Shaan Dasani. Performers who were cast got to develop a short piece on an historical
The City Of West Hollywood had a month long Pride Cultural Festival. There were musical events ,poetry readings, art exhibits, a queer book bazaar and The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights Pride Reading Festival. Six short plays by Rex McGregor, Mona Deutsch Miller, Felix Araceli, Scott Mullin,Thomas J.Misuraca and a full length play by Greg Jones Ellis were read.
In North Hollywood, Theatre West also produced Proud Out Loud, a series of monologues and short plays celebrating LGBTQ+ Stories by Garry Michael Kruger, Mo Gaffney, Dina Morrone, Benjamin Scuglia, Mimi Kmet, Mara Wells, Arden Teresa Lewis and Michael Van Duzer. Their next show is Garden Of Alla, The Alla Nazimova Story, written and performed by Roma Nordlinger on the life of the lesbian Broadway and Hollywood superstar whose legendary home and hotel The Garden of Allah was a center of queer culture.
At The Victory Theatre in Burbank, Bluestem Productions presented the world premiere of Back Porch by Eric Anderson, a homage to William Inge’s Picnic. The Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz produced No Place Like Gandersheim by Elizabeth Dement. This is an amazing play about a medieval feminist nun playwright who is swept back and forth in time.
Further afield The La Jolla Playhouse did the world premiere of Love All, a new play about tennis star Billie Jean King by Anna Deavere Smith. The Fountain Theatre in Hollywood is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Jane Chambers classic Last Summer At Bluefish Cove all Summer in their outdoor theater.
Musically, The Trans Chorus performed at The Village in April, in downtown Los Angeles in June. Vox Femina gave us And Justice For All at Zipper Hall at The Colburn School. The Gay Men’s Chorus performed Disney Pride In Concert, appropriately, at The Disney Hall.
One of the highlights this Pride month was the world premiere of A Transparent Musical with book by MJ Kaufman and Joey Soloway and music and lyrics by Faith Soloway at The Mark Taper Forum. Opening night saw trans folk in all their glamour and others applauding this trans anthem which went from a Jewish community to The Weimar Republic and back.
It was a magical time and an abundance of creativity and cultural pride and hopefully the resurgence of the theater scene in Los Angeles and around the country.
The Purple Circuit invites theater folk to send articles on your theater scene and theaters to send listings on your upcoming productions. Please address to: email@example.com. Thank you.