Metro At­lanta the­aters full of fall LGBT fare

GA Voice - - News In Brief -

From Won­der Woman to An­nie Potts, lo­cal stages love lead­ing women

It’s time for the fall theater sea­son, and vir­tu­ally ev­ery theater company in the ATL has a new show that has just opened or is about to. Here’s a look at some po­ten­tial gems of in­ter­est to the LGBT com­mu­nity for the 2014-2015 sea­son.

The Al­liance The­atre of­ten hosts a world premiere mu­si­cal as its sea­son opener, and this year is no ex­cep­tion. The company’s “Bull Durham” is cur­rently in pre­views, of­fi­cially open­ing on Sept. 13. It’s based, of course, on the hit movie of the same name about Ron Shel­ton’s ex­pe­ri­ences as a mi­nor league base­ball player. Here Melissa Er­rico plays An­nie Savoy, the groupie character brought to life by the won­drous Susan Saran­don in the film. In charge of the lyrics is bi­sex­ual mu­si­cian/song­writer Susan Werner.

This is Werner’s first the­atri­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, and she is equally ex­cited and ner­vous about it, but she feels that LGBT au­di­ences will es­pe­cially ap­pre­ci­ate the mu­si­cal. “I think the show is a bat­tle of the sexes,” she says. “I think one of the de­lights of it is how play­ful Ron Shel­ton is with the sexes, with gen­der, flu­id­ity, com­ments about flu­id­ity, in­se­cu­rity about flu­id­ity. How play­ful he is with the bat­tle of the sexes and in­te­gra­tion of gen­der will be a de­light to peo­ple.”

Also at the Al­liance, and likely to be the LGBT ticket of the sea­son, is a new take on “Steel Mag­no­lias,” Robert Har­ling’s South­ern com­edy-drama. This ver­sion will be di­rected by Ju­dith Ivey, who helmed the company’s “Cara­pace’ a few sea­sons ago, and will star the lu­mi­nous An­nie Potts as M’Lynn. Ivey and Potts were “De­sign­ing Women” co-stars.

WON­DER WOMAN AND THE ELE­PHANT MAN

Les­bian di­rec­tor Melissa Foul­ger won’t have much down­time this sea­son. First up is her take on “Les Li­aisons Dan­gereuses,” Christo­pher Hamp­ton’s sexy cos­tume drama, cur­rently play­ing at Ac­tor’s Ex­press. Soon after, Foul­ger is di­rect­ing the award-win­ning com­edy-drama “Cly­bourne Park” at Aurora The­atre. With a won­der­ful cast, in­clud­ing Tess Malis Kin­caid, this pro­duc­tion about race re­la­tions over a 50-year span should def­i­nitely be worth a look.

Syn­chronic­ity The­atre’s “Lasso of Truth” is another pro­duc­tion that looks promis­ing. It fea­tures some strong LGBT fare, says Rachel May, the artis­tic di­rec­tor who is di­rect­ing the rolling world premiere. Ac­cord­ing to May, the play—writ­ten by Car­son Kre­itzer— is about sex­ual pol­i­tics, in par­tic­u­lar the life of Wil­liam Moul­ton Marston, a psy­chol­o­gist who came up with the idea of comic book su­per­hero Won­der Woman. His per­sonal re­la­tion­ships were un­ortho­dox, to say the least. “He and his wife El­iz­a­beth were in a polyamorous re­la­tion­ship with another woman, Olive Byrne, a stu­dent of his,” says May.

The two women were even­tu­ally his in­spi­ra­tion for the character. May ac­knowl­edges their bond was bold for the time, circa the early 1940s. “It’s still not common,” she says. “I think it was un­der wraps at the time, but did some peo­ple know?” Marston was also into bondage, which works it­self into the play. Gay ac­tress Chris­ten Orr is in the cast.

Through­out its his­tory, 7 Stages has nev- er been afraid to go after edgy ma­te­rial, and that has not changed un­der the lead­er­ship of out artis­tic di­rec­tor Heidi S. Howard. In Oc­to­ber the company is stag­ing Sue­hyla El-At­tar’s fan­tasy-com­edy “The Doc­tor, The Devil and My Dad.” On­stage At­lanta, too, has never hes­i­tated to do un­ortho­dox plays. Be­sides the just-opened To­pher Payne re­mount of “Per­fect Ar­range­ment,” out di­rec­tor Cathe Hall Payne will be stag­ing the comedic “The Sugar Bean Sis­ters” in Oc­to­ber.

Great theater also seems to be headed to Roswell and Dun­woody. Gay di­rec­tor David Crowe’s drama “The Ele­phant Man” opens at Ge­or­gia En­sem­ble The­atre soon, while Robert Egizio’s Stage Door Play­ers has a humdinger in the drama “Rab­bit Hole,” which—on Broad­way—earned bi­sex­ual ac­tress Cyn­thia Nixon a Tony Award as a mother griev­ing her son’s death.

That’s the tip of the ice­berg—check in­di­vid­ual web­sites for all pro­duc­tions.

‘Lasso of Truth’ open­ing this month at Syn­chronic­ity The­atre is a story about the cre­ation of Won­der Woman and stars Bryn Striepe as The Ama­zon. Com­ing to the Al­liance The­atre this fall is the clas­sic ‘Steel Mag­no­lias’ star­ring film and TV star An­nie Potts as M’Lynn. (‘Lasso’ photo by Bree Anne Clow­dus, Potts is pub­lic­ity photo)

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