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Los Angeles Scene
by Bill Kaiser
June 2016
June is pride month, and with all the tragedy, there is still much to rejoice, especially in the arts.

Robert Patrick, playwright; Michael A. Sheppard, actor & director; Bill Kaiser, Purple Circuit editor; Tom Jacobson, playwright
Celebration Theatre, June 21, 2016
photo: annon.  

Celebration Theatre reopened last year at a new location — the Lex Theatre in Hollywood — with three great shows starting their season. “Booty Candy” by Robert O’Hara was hilarious, full of interconnecting vignettes of queer people of color. The entire cast was outstanding including Celebration’s co-artistic director Michael A. Shepperd (pictured above) and directed expertly by the other co-artistic director, Michael Matthews.

Their second hit was “Dream Boy” adapted by Eric Rosen from Jim Grimsley’s coming of age novel. A completely different theme from “Booty Candy,” “Dream Boy” was a gothic, repressive yet poignant story of two teenage boys finding love in 70s rural North Carolina. The leads, Matthew Boehm and Randall Ray Clute, were amazing and again great directing by Matthew Matthews.

Their third, current hit show, “The Boy from Oz” is by Peter Allen, Nick Enright and Martin Sherman. Celebration has taken the Broadway show and reconfigured it for an intimate space, and it works beautifully as did their earlier production of “The Color Purple.” Having seen the Broadway version with Hugh Jackman, I have to say that lead Andrew Bongiorno is just as delightful playing Peter Allen. Michael A. Shepperd has directed superbly, and the show had been extended through July, 2016.

Tom Jacobson, playwright
photo: annon.  
Celebration Theatre has also been presenting monthly play readings in West Hollywood, and on June 21, presented the Chuck Rowland Pioneer award to playwright Tom Jacobson, one of Los Angeles’ most eclectic and prolific writers. Among his more than 50 plays he has written: “Beloved Disciple,” “Tainted Blood,” and “Bunbury.” Previous recipients of the Award have been Robert Patrick and Michael Kearns.

Gay rights pioneer and co-founder of the Mattachine Society, Chuck Rowland (for whom the award is named), founded Celebration Theatre in 1982, when he leased a storefront in Silver lake to start a community theatre dedicated to producing gay-themed material.

Lindsey Deaton, artistic director
photo: annon.  
Music is also thriving in Los Angeles. I was privileged to meet Lindsey Deaton, the founding artistic director of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles and Lisa Marchbanks, their executive director at an Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance mixer. Following that meeting was an historic concert at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall on May 7,2016 when the world’s first Trans chorus held their first concert called True Colors along with their sponsoring group Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Vox Femina. It was truly amazing evening!

Mano a Mano:
(not in order seen) Arian Ferrer-Castro, Carlos Raul Torres, Orlando Cartier-Sanchez, Miguel Angel Herrera, Yorlan Arencibia
photo: annon.  
The Gay Men’s Chorus also presented “Oye Mi Canto/Hear My Song” another historical concert with the first (and only) gay men’s chorus from Cuba, Mano a Mano (One Hand at a Time) on June 25 and 26. This was another musical extravaganza with wonderful singing mostly in Spanish, and dancers and spectacle!

At another UCLA mixer, I met actor Jazzmun Nichcala, and her colleagues on the documentary “In Full Bloom: Transcending Gender.” This movie follows the journey of 13 transgender actors, and two gay actors, as they prepare for the world premiere of the play “Lovely Bouquet of Flowers: An Exploration of Non-Traditional Gender Voices” by Jazzmun Nichcala and David Hays Gaddas. It was another fascinating and inspiring event.

The Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights held their 8th annual Pride Play Reading Festival in West Hollywood, on June 25. Six wonderful short plays were read including “Library” by Benjamin Scuglia; “Lunch with ‘Friends’” by Rhea MacCallum; “The Cellophane Closet” by Felix Racelis; “Grandpa and the Gay Rabbi” by Jonathan Josephson; “To Bury a Stranger” by Judith Allen and Ann L. Gibbs; and “SASM” by Thomas J Misuraca. On June 26, a full-length play “Passing” by Steve Shade was scheduled. The Festival was hosted by co-chairs Dan Berkowitz and Jonathan Dorf and vice-chair Ann L. Gibbs.

For further information: or call 323-957-1884.

Remember to see an LGBT play tonight, and when you travel!

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