Gay Plays Galore!

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Stuck in end of summer doldrums? Fear not! There are no fewer than 15 gay plays and shows coming up at the end of August and the beginning of September. There’s a little something here for everyone. Check the end of this article for a quick summary of shows and dates.

From now through the end of the week (-Aug. 20), you still have a chance to see The Twentieth Century Way by Walking Fish Theatre. In 1914, two actors are hired to entrap homosexuals for social vagrancy in public restrooms. The theater is on Frankford Ave. in North Philly, about five blocks from the Huntingdon stop of the Market-Frankford El.

Also now through Aug. 28 are five plays as part of GayFest, by Quince Productions. The Last Sunday in June is set in an apartment above New York City gay pride parade – kind of a 21st Century “Boys in the Band.” Check out Alejandro Morales’ review of the show. Then, there’s Devil Boys from Beyond, a drag spoof of 1950’s space alien flicks, complete with shirtless Plutonian studs. Slipping focuses on the loves, hopes, disappointments and anguish of gay teens. And, there is The Beebo Chronicles, which is based on the lesbian pulp fiction novels of the 1950s and ’60s. As a bonus, there’s a reading of the new play Living Spaces for one night only on Monday, Aug. 22. It’s about the friendship between a gay and straight man. These shows are all at the Shubin Theater, near 4th and Bainbridge St.

Next up is Angels in America, also running through Aug. 28, by The Collaborative Arts Studio at the Ritz Theater in Oaklyn, NJ. This show deals with 1980’s sexual politics and AIDS. It’s a two-part show, alternating show dates, so plan your schedule accordingly: Part 1: Millennium Approaches and Part II: Perestroika. Contributions for ActionAIDS will be accepted at the show.

At the end of August, the William Way Community Center is showing Zanna Don’t: A Musical Fairy Tale. This Xanadu spoof tells the tale of Heartsville High, where (almost) everyone is gay. Careful of the slightly odd show dates: W 8/24, Th 8/25, Su 8/28, Th 9/1 and F 9/2.

As we head into the first two weeks of September, we enter into Philadelphia’s Live Arts and Philly Fringe Festival. This annual event features dozens of cutting edge plays, dance and other performing arts events throughout the area. As part of this, there are a good five shows which have gay plots or characters.

Running for the entire festival is The Wedding Consultant, who swoops in to make this gay wedding unique, just like everyone else’s. It’s in the Independence Studio 3 of Walnut Street Theater.

Next up is Heavy Metal Dance Fag, a gay allegory about a blue collar, South Philly dockworker with a passion for tap dancing to 1980’s heavy metal music. The show runs Sept. 2-11 at St. Stephen’s Theater near 10th & Market Sts.

Task is a hypersexualized Lord of the Rings meets Peanuts. It takes on everything from coming out to drugs, race, teen pregnancy and suicide – lampooning education, church and authority figures in the process. It shows Sept. 9-10 and 16-17 at the Walking Fish Theatre.

From Sept. 9-10, the Gender Reel Multi-Media Festival takes place. It is dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender non-conforming, gender variant and transgender images through film, photography and art. It will be held in the CBS Auditorium of the University of the Arts on S. Broad St.

The last gay show of the Fringe Festival is The Seer. Described as a trip into the dark heaven of hysterical and surreal tragedy, it is inspired by the life of 19th Century gay French poet Arthur Rimbaud and his torrid affair with Paul Verlaine. The show runs Sept. 15-17 at Vox Populi on 11th St. north of Vine St.

Of course, there are a number of other shows in the festival of potential interest, even though they don’t have gay plots. Three shows with openly gay artists include “The Radio Show” (a dance performance), “Dancing Dead” by JUNK, and “Hello America…My Name is Jimmy Baldwin.” There is also “The Eros Trilogy,” which deals with the line between sexuality and emotional intimacy. There are a number of shows with full or partial nudity. Use the “by Features” link under Shows to filter by this criterion. And check the schedule for more than a dozen shows which deal with women and women’s issues.

For something a little different, check out James Bradford is…Thick. This is a combined rock concert and comedy show, with familiar and original songs by the artist interspersed with tales of growing up gay in the South, including a brief stint as a chubby male escort. He will be at Tabu from Sept. 13-14. Read Alejandro Morales’ funny interview with the artist.

Gay Shows Galore: Aug.-Sept. 2011

* 8/10-20 The 20th Century Way
* 8/11-27 GayFest: Last Sunday in June
* 8/11-27 GayFest: Devil Boys from Beyond
* 8/18-27 GayFest: Slipping
* 8/18-28 GayFest: The Beebo Brinker Chronicles
* 8/22 GayFest: Living Spaces (reading)
* 8/18-28 Angels in America Parts I & II
* 8/24-9/2 Zanna Don’t: A Musical Fairy Tale
* 9/2-18 The Wedding Consultant
* 9/2-11 Heavy Metal Dance Fag
* 9/9-17 Task
* 9/13-14 James Bradford is…Thick
* 9/15-17 The Seer

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