2011 DIVERSIONARY NEWS
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2011
John Alexander 619-220-6830 firstname.lastname@example.org
“ S T A N D I N G O N C E R E M O N Y:
T H E G A Y M A R R I A G E P L A Y S ”
TAKES ITS MESSAGE GLOBAL
PERFORMANCES IN SAN DIEGO AND AT THEATRES
ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD
Monday, November 14 @ 8:00 pm
San Diego (11/03/11) – Joan Stein and Richard Frankel(Producers) announced that the new theatrical eventStanding On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, which premieres Off Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre in NYC this fall, will join with Tectonic Theater Project (Moisés Kaufman, Artistic Director; Greg Reiner, Executive Director) to help take the play’s message of marriage equality across the globe. On Monday, November 14, Diversionary Theatre in association with La Jolla Playhouse will join in this effort by presenting a reading of Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays. Directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, the reading is intended to raise awareness and vital funds in support of marriage equality. Marriage equality is an issue that transcends borders, and it’s vital that the message of Standing On Ceremony reaches far and wide.
This special performance of Standing On Ceremony will begin at 8:00 pm. Proceeds from the performance at Diversionary Theatre will benefit The San Diego LGBT Center’s Marriage Equality Program.
“This series of short plays by such celebrated writers as Doug Wright, Moises Kaufman and Neil LaBute offers compelling and often hilarious perspectives on the state of gay marriage in our country,” said La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. “It is vital that the Playhouse play a role in this national conversation, and we are delighted to partner with Diversionary Theatre to bring this astonishing and timely piece of theatre to San Diego audiences.” John Alexander, Diversionary’s Executive Director, had this to say, “we are thrilled at the chance to work with La Jolla Playhouse and Christopher Ashley on this timely and entertaining project and know it will get San Diego audiences talking.”
To date, more than 40 theatres and universities are confirmed to participate, in 25 states across America including: Texas, North Dakota, Florida, Kansas and Michigan, where both gay marriage and civil unions are banned; North Carolina, where the vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was moved up to 2012; California, where gay marriage was legalized and then overturned by the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008; and many states where marriage equality is not yet a reality. Beyond America, theatres as far flung as Sydney, Australia will also participate, making this a truly international event.
Christopher Ashley has served as Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse since October, 2007. During his tenure, he helmed the world premiere of Arthur Kopit and Anton Dudley’s A Dram of Drummhicit, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the world premiere of Claudia Shear’s Restoration, and the acclaimed musical Xanadu and Memphis, which won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Mr. Ashley spearheads the Playhouse’s Resident Theatre program, which encourages the artistic development of up-and-coming theatre companies and provides a temporary home each year to one of the many vibrant local theatre troupes without a permanent venue. He was also instrumental in developing THE EDGE series, a program designed to bring the freshest, most adventurous work to the Playhouse’s stages. In addition, he oversaw the world premieres of Little Miss Sunshine, Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin, Surf Report, Bonnie & Clyde, Doug Wright’s adaptation of Creditors, the Page To Stage workshop of Charlayne Woodard’s The Night Watcher, and the West Coast premiere of 33 Variations. Prior to joining the Playhouse, Mr. Ashley directed the Broadway productions of Xanadu (Drama Desk nomination), All Shook Up and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. Other New York credits include: Blown Sideways Through Life, Jeffrey (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died, Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award), among others. He also directed the feature film Jeffrey and the American Playhouse production of Blown Sideways Through Life for PBS. Mr. Ashley is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, the Drama League Director Fellowship and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship.
Moisés Kaufman, Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project and contributing Standing On Ceremonyplaywright commented, “After the success of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, we are thrilled to partner with Standing On Ceremony to facilitate another national convening with this beautiful collection of plays about a timely and urgent issue.”
Tickets for this special performance of Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays are $50.00 for reserved seats and a special post-show reception and $20.00 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Diversionary box office, by phone at 619.220.0097 or at www.diversionary.org. For more information on the national event, visit www.standingonceremony.net or the Standing On Ceremony Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/standingonceremony.
ABOUT DIVERSIONARY THEATRE
Diversionary Theatre develops new works and produces plays and musicals that explore the issues, characters and stories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in all its complexity and diversity. Founded in 1986, Diversionary has grown into a professional theatre company that nurtures LGBT artists in the development of new works of theatre. Through play commissions, readings and workshops, Diversionary regularly collaborates with other theatre and arts groups to present special events and co-productions, thus involving a wider arts community in our mission.
ABOUT LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE
The nationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including the currently-running hits Memphis and Jersey Boys – both Best Musical Tony Award winners – as well as Big River, The Who’s Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention and 33 Variations. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-art theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.
ABOUT STANDING ON CEREMONY
Conceived byBrian Shnipper and directed by Stuart Ross,Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Playsbegan as a series of benefit events inLos Angeles, takingon a life of their own as an inspiring theatrical evening. The show begins previews at the Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane, NYC) on Monday, November 7 with an official opening night set for Sunday, November 13. As was established in Los Angeles, a portion of each ticket purchased to every performance ofStanding On Ceremonywill be donated to marriage equality organizations. In San Diego, proceeds with benefit The San Diego LGBT Center’s Marriage Equality Program.
Responding to one of the defining issues of our day -- the on-going battle for marriage equality throughout theUnited States --some ofAmerica’s most illustrious and Award-winning playwrights, including Obie Award winner Mo Gaffney,Heideman Award winnerJordan Harrison, Edgar Award winnerJeffrey Hatcher, Tony Award nomineeMoisés Kaufman, Tony Award nomineeNeil LaBute, Sundance Jury Prize winnerWendy MacLeod, Obie Award winnerJosé Rivera, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Award winnerPaul Rudnick,andPulitzer Prize and Tony Award winnerDoug Wright, have createda heartfelt, funny and altogether illuminating evening that celebrates the courage to be in a relationship –anyrelationship.
ABOUT TECTONIC THEATER PROJECT
Tectonic Theater Project is an award-winning company whose plays have been performed around the world. The company is dedicated to developing innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, fostering an artistic dialogue with our audiences on the social, political and human issues that affect us all. In service to this goal, Tectonic supports readings, workshops, and full theatrical productions, as well as training for students around the country in our play-making techniques. Tectonic Theater Project was founded in 1991 by Moisés Kaufman and Jeffrey LaHoste. Tectonic refers to the art and science of structure and was chosen to emphasize the company's interest in construction-- how things are made, and how they might be made differently.
Its groundbreaking plays, The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and I Am My Own Wife, have sparked national discourse about their subjects and have inspired artists and audiences worldwide. In 2009, Tectonic Theater Project brought The Laramie Project to 100 cities across America, when it was performed simultaneously by high schools, universities and professional theatres.
Diversionary Theatre Announces
John Alexander as its New Executive Director
|Pictured: John E. Alexander, New ExecutiveDirector of Diversionary Theatre|
SAN DIEGO – The Board of Trustees of Diversionary Theatre are pleased to announce the appointment of John E. Alexander as Diversionary’s new Executive Director.
“John’s passion and experience in theatre and his proven leadership in taking nonprofit organizations to the next level of development provide the exact combination for fostering our growth and sustainability,” said Matthew Thomason, Co-President of the Board of Trustees. Board Co-President Mary Stockton added, “We are excited about John’s energy and creativity that will build on what departing Executive & Artistic Director Dan Kirsch has done for Diversionary, and take us to the next level of Diversionary’s artistic vision.” Alexander will be responsible for all fundraising programs for the theatre, and for the artistic planning and vision. Alexander has already been working with Kirsch to plan the 2011-2012 season.
Diversionary Theatre was started in 1986 and is celebrating its 25th Anniversary during the 2010-2011 season. The mission of the Theatre is to produce plays with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes that portray characters in their complexity and diversity both historically and contemporarily. The anniversary season included [title of show], Sextet, Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, Fair Use, …And Then I Wrote a Song About It and the upcoming world premiere of Dooley. Diversionary is a member of Theatre Communication Group (TCG), the national organization for American Theatre.
Alexander comes to Diversionary after two years as the Managing Director of Naked Angels, an Off-Broadway company that develops and produces provocative new work that focuses on socially relevant issues. While at Naked Angels, Alexander led the organization through major growth highlighted by the Broadway transfer of the Tony-nominated Next Fall and the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway production of This Wide Night starring Edie Falco and Alison Pill. “I’m thrilled and honored to be joining Diversionary at this exciting time for the Theatre. To be able to return to San Diego as part of this amazing company and thriving theatre community is a dream come true,” said Alexander of his appointment.
Alexander’s prior theatre experience includes Director of External Relations at North Shore Music Theatre (Boston), where he oversaw marketing, PR, fund raising and the redevelopment of the company’s landmark facilities; Associate Director of Development at The Old Globe (San Diego); Director of Development for San Diego Performing Arts League; as well as marketing, development and general management projects at Pasadena Playhouse (Los Angeles), Roundabout Theatre Company (New York), and Daryl Roth Productions (New York). He was also involved in building Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego’s meal delivery service for people with AIDS and cancer as the organization’s first Executive Director. Alexander earned a BA in Political Science from University of California-San Diego and an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University.
Alexander is slated to start in mid-July. Executive and Artistic Director Dan Kirsch has completed his duties after a six-year tenure. Kirsch will spend the summer as the General Manager for Serenbe Playhouse, a theatre committed to producing artistically rich, open-air theatrical performances for audiences throughout the Greater Metro area of Atlanta. In the interim, Gigi Cantin will assume Executive Director duties. Cantin started her Arts Management career working for the theatrical presenters, Nederlander of California: Los Angeles. After a move to San Diego she spent seven years at the Tony Award winning La Jolla Playhouse – the first five years as the Marketing Manager and two years as the Annual Fund Manager. Cantin holds a MA in Public Art Administration from the University of Southern California and BA in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. She has been working with Diversionary over the past couple of months as the community partnership coordinator for the upcoming world premiere of Dooley.
Alexander will be introduced to the community at Diversionary’s Annual Season Announcement Garden Party on Saturday, April 16. The Garden Party will be held at the home of Peter Dennehy and Tim Jackson in the Kensington area from 4:30 to 6:30pm. Garden party guests will be treated to garden-themed food and drink. Proceeds from this “fun-raising” event will benefit the artistic programs of the theatre. Tickets for the event are $40 in advance and $50 day of event. Tickets are available through the Box Office and online at www.diversionary.org or by calling 619.220.0097.
The process for recruiting Diversionary’s new executive director began in December, when the Board of Trustees formed a search committee and contracted the services of Phyllis Quan, an executive search consultant specializing in non-profits. The Executive Director is responsible for all fundraising programs and artistic planning and vision, plus direction of strategic planning, financial management, marketing, audience development, educational outreach supervision of staff. Managing Director Bret Young and Patron Services Manager Travis Guss, both long-time staff members whose professionalism and expertise have contributed to the growth and success of the Theatre, are looking forward to working with Alexander.
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Financial support for Diversionary Theatre is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Help us thank James E. Riley for his estate gift
We recently received a surprise call from the sister of James E. Riley – James died in November and left a gift to Diversionary through his estate. We’re humbled and grateful for his generosity. Our current staff and board did not know James, so we’re turning to our audience to help us give insight into how James might have come to appreciate Diversionary’s work. Here’s his picture and obit from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
JAMES E. RILEY May 2, 1939 to November 18, 2010 James E. Riley passed away on November 18, 2010, due to complications from lymphoma. Born in San Diego, Jim was a longtime educator in the San Diego Unified School District where he taught 5th/6th grade seminar classes for the highly gifted, first at McDowell and then Hawthorne elementary schools. His intellect, humor, and commitment to education were evident throughout his life. Jim enriched the lives of many. A professional magician and member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Magic Castle, he put himself through college by performing magic shows for children. He also hosted an after school magic club for students. Jim had a great love for the application of mathematics through origami and the application of logic through puzzle solution, which translated into innovative curriculum as well as the creation of intricate examples. He continued to teach origami for Gateways Summer School after retirement. The Association of San Diego Educators of the Gifted (ASDEG) and the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) both honored Jim as Educator of the Year. He was the editor of the ASDEG Update, a newsletter for members. He co-edited the San Diego City Schools 2005-2006 GATE Handbook for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents. After retirement, Jim became an active member of the Pacific Beach Kiwanis. He also volunteered at the Rady Children's Hospital, entertaining patients as they waited for procedures. A member of the Friends of Braille Institute, Jim provided original origami creations for the annual fundraiser and tea. In 2001, Jim was invited to join the editorial board of the Gifted Education Communicator, published by the California Association for the Gifted. Distributed nationally four times a year, he co-authored the Hands-on-Curriculum Department until 2010. Jim is survived by a sister, Linda Kerstens of Solana Beach, CA, and a stepsister, Deanna Mulligan, of Cohasset, MA. Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on December19,2010
Diversionary Theatre basks in Broadway glow
Sunday, May 16, 2010
If “Memphis” rode a rocket from San Diego to Broadway, “Yank!” took Manhattan by Greyhound bus.
Now both of these locally connected musicals are New York darlings and, in one way, friendly adversaries: They are pitted against each other in the best musical category of next Sunday’s Drama Desk Awards, which honor the best in Broadway and off-Broadway theater.
But while “Memphis” was readied for Broadway at the prestigious La Jolla Playhouse, one of the nation’s top regional theaters, “Yank!” took a very different path. The World War II-set musical landed at the 106-seat Diversionary Theatre in University Heights two years ago for its West Coast premiere, in a key developmental staging.
From there, “Yank!” scraped together an off-Broadway run — one that turned into a hit — and now has earned the show not only nominations for the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards, which take place Monday, but also a planned Broadway staging next season.
For all the hard-earned glory that goes to the Playhouse and the Old Globe, the San Diego cultural powerhouses that have sent dozens of shows to Broadway over the years, the story of “Yank!” demonstrates the outsize impact that a small San Diego theater like Diversionary can have on the wider theatrical world.
“At the time we did the show at Diversionary, it was not on some pre-Broadway track,” said Joseph Zellnik, who composed the score to “Yank!” That contrasts with big musicals at the Globe and Playhouse, which often arrive not only with Broadway ambitions but also with a ticket waiting to be punched.
Like most musical-theater artists, Zellnik and his brother, David, the show’s writer-lyricist, have long entertained Broadway dreams.
“But at the time, that seemed a long way off,” Joseph Zellnik said. “We were just working hard to raise money” for a hoped-for off-Broadway production. “There was no way to know what would happen.”
What did happen was a warm reception in San Diego for the show, which featured a cast of local actors led by Tom Zohar, a rising young performer who at the time had no professional experience in musicals.
Zohar recalled that when he auditioned for the lead role of the serviceman Stu, all he knew was that the play “was something about tap-dancing soldiers,” he said with a laugh. “That’s how Dan (Kirsch, Diversionary’s artistic chief) put it to me. But I knew it was something that sounded like fun.”
He felt sure it was something more than that when he met then-director Igor Goldin and the Zellnik brothers, and saw how people were reacting to the show.
“I had a really good feeling it might go to Broadway. So when I heard it was going, I was not surprised,” Zohar said.
Kirsch is reluctant to take too much credit for the show’s post-San Diego success — and it’s true that the theater was not as deeply involved in the play’s development as the Playhouse was with “Memphis.”
But, he said, “there’s totally a sense of pride. We were fortunate enough to grab a great project. We had the backing of the board and community.
“The stars align and yeah, I feel proud.”
A few factors helped Diversionary score the coup of landing “Yank!,” which Kirsch affirmed is the highest-profile show connected to the theater in its 25-year history.
One is that San Diego is renowned as a military town, and the creative team was eager to see how the show’s storyline of romance in the armed forces would play here. Another is that the company’s stated mission is “to produce plays with gay, lesbian and bisexual themes,” and the love story in “Yank” happens to be between two men.
The show, which had first received exposure at the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival, was initially produced by the Gallery Players theater in Brooklyn. High praise made its way to Diversionary through a friend of the theater’s then-board president, Ruth Howell.
Matt Schicker, Gallery Players’ former executive director and now a “Yank!” producer, then heard of the potential Diversionary interest and soon was calling the company to talk about bringing the show to San Diego for further development.
“A musical is such a complicated thing,” as Schicker put it. “It’s so hard to get it right because of all the various elements. We all knew there was more work that needed to be done. We thought, where could we go with it?
“When I came out to meet with Dan Kirsch and pitch the show to him, I only got about two seconds into it, because he said, ‘We’re going to do this show.’ ”
To Schicker, the fact that “Yank!” hasn’t followed the lead of so many Broadway-bound musicals by going through a big regional theater “shows that every piece has to find its own path. And for “Yank!” that path happened to be small productions, where the piece is refined.”
Even “Memphis” had its own small-scale stagings early on.
In March, after a year-and-a-half hiatus during which the producers and creative team of “Yank!” tinkered with the show and drummed up investment money, it opened off-Broadway with the York Theatre Company at a cost of about $450,000.
Bobby Steggert, a 2010 Tony nominee for “Ragtime,” portrayed Stu (Zohar’s part) off-Broadway, as he did at Gallery Players.
The producers say it will cost about $5 million to take the show to Broadway — not cheap, but still less than half the estimated budget of “Memphis.”
TALE OF TWO MUSICALS
Local link: La Jolla Playhouse
Company profile: $15 million annual budget; three performance spaces ranging from 388 to 492 seats.
Path to New York: World premiere at Playhouse in September 2008 after several years of development; opened on Broadway in October 2009.
Storyline: A 1950s DJ puts rhythm and blues on the white airwaves, helping ignite the rock revolution.
Nominations: Tony Awards (8); Drama Desk Awards (7); Outer Critics Circle Awards (7); Drama League Awards (2)
Local link: Diversionary Theatre
Company profile: $600,000 annual budget; one 106-seat performance space.
Path (back) to New York: West Coast premiere at Diversionary in July 2008 after one festival and one professional New York staging; opened off-Broadway in March 2010. Scheduled for Broadway premiere in 2010-11 season.
Storyline: Two young servicemen, sent to the Pacific in World War II, deal with prejudice and their own struggles for identity.
Nominations: Drama Desk Awards (7); Outer Critics Circle Awards (2); Lucille Lortel Awards (2)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Updated May 14, 2010
Diversionary Theatre announces 2010-2011 season
Season celebrates 25th Anniversary Year
Season includes three West Coast Premieres and two World Premieres
Diversionary Theatre will celebrate its 25th Anniversary Year during its 2010-2011 season. Gay and lesbian historical figures, stories of the LGBT movement and readings of plays from Diversionary’s history are part of the celebratory season. Founded in 1986, Diversionary is the 3rd oldest continuously producing LGBT Theatre in the United States.
The six-show mainstage season includes: the musical [title of show], a love letter to musical theater, by Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen, directed by James Vasquez, with musical direction by Tim McKnight; the 1970’s coming-of-age story Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins by Brian Christopher Williams, directed by Shana Wride; a limited holiday engagement of Santa Claus is Coming Out, written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon, directed by Joe Brancato; Fair Use, a romantic comedy and lesbian take on Cyrano de Bergerac, by Sarah Gubbins, directed by James Vasquez; and the world premiere of a new play about the iconic life of Dr. Tom Dooley, Dooley, by William di Canzio, directed by Rosina Reynolds. One additional play will be announced at a later date.
Special events include Robin Tyler, a well-known comic and lesbian activist, who brings her one-woman show Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom to Diversionary in September; the world premiere of the music theatre piece Sextet, by local composer Nic Reveles, directed by Cynthia Stokes; and Dance/Theatre will be back for a third edition, with artistic direction by Peter G. Kalivas.
Diversionary will celebrate their anniversary with readings of Lunch and Dessert by Philip Real, the first plays staged by Diversionary in 1986; a holiday reading of Robert Joseph’s Our Gay Apparel; and a reading of Dear Harvey in May 2011 to celebrate Harvey Milk Day, a play that Diversionary commissioned and premiered last year that is currently enjoying readings and productions across the United States.
“We are very excited to welcome back Karson St. John, Tony Houck, James Vasquez, Glenn Paris, Rosina Reynolds, Jennifer Brawn Gittings and other favorite performers, directors and designers back to Diversionary,” said Dan Kirsch, Executive & Artistic Director of Diversionary Theatre, as he announced the 2010-2011 season. “We’re very proud of our unique mission – to tell lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) stories. It’s hard to believe the Theatre is 25 years old. We’ve had great support and encouragement from artists, donors and funding agencies throughout the years. We’re very proud of our accomplishments and are ready to celebrate our history.”
[title of show] July 8-August 8, 2010. West Coast Premiere!
Music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen. Book by Hunter Bell. Directed by James Vasquez; musical direction by Tim McKnight. Featuring Tony Houck, Heather Paton, Karson St. John and Tom Zohar. An official event of San Diego LGBT Pride.
[title of show] is the story of two struggling young writers writing a witty new musical about two struggling young writers writing a witty new musical. Jeff Bowen (Music & Lyrics) and Hunter Bell (Book) decide to submit something for the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival just three weeks before the deadline. They began chronicling their own process and crafted an original story that just happens to be (with some artistic license taken) autobiographical, so they cast themselves in the roles along with their two friends, Susan and Heidi. The evolution of [title of show], from its smash debut at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in the fall of 2004, to its successful Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theatre in February 2006, to its debut on Broadway in July, 2008, is chronicled in this “zesty, sweet and charming new musical.” (The New York Times).
The blurb on the [title of show] website (
ANITA BRYANT DIED FOR YOUR SINS. October 28-November 21, 2010.
By Brian Christopher Williams. Directed by Shana Wride. Underwritten in part by Joann Clark.
An energy crisis,an unpopular war and the fight forequal rights for gay Americans. Sound familiar? It's 1977, and15 year-old Horace Poore is trying to make sense ofthetumultuous eventssurrounding him – andthe tumultuous events within him, as his sexual awakening is hastened by images of Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz and former pageant queen/orange juice promoter/anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant.Nudging him along his journey to self-awareness are hisidiosyncratic parents, his draft dodging brother andhis dreamy gym teacher. Thislyric comedyis an unconventional look ata young man's coming-of-age set against thecultural flashpoint of the 1970s. Premiered August 2009 by West Coast Ensemble in Los Angeles. “Critic’s Choice – A deft west coast premiere…A tickling, touching play and endearing production.” – L.A. Times. “Pick of the Week GO! – The title of [the] play suggests a slick, sassy gay comedy, and so it is, but something much more than that, something far richer.” – L.A. Weekly.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMING OUT. December 4-21, 2010. Special Limited Engagement!
Written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon. Directed by Joe Brancato.
Inspired by America’s culture wars, this solo mock-u-mentary lays bare the intensely personal struggle of Santa Claus as he tries to reconcile his love with Italian toy-maker Giovanni Geppedo (creator of Pinocchio) with his passion for giving to the world’s children.
It starts when Gary, a not altogether manly little boy, asks for a doll, gets a truck, and thinks he’s been bad. Gary’s quiet letter of complaint shakes St. Nick to the soul as he recalls his fearful childhood during the middle ages and regrets the promotional deals with Coca-Cola that force him to stay in the closet. But word of Santa’s secret leaks out and the “forces of decency” rally against what they perceive to be the ultimate plot to indoctrinate children into the homosexual lifestyle! Solomon impersonates little gay Gary, his confused mother, his angry dad, his sassy black girlfriend, a kindly Rudolph, his fake-actress wife and other wacky characters.
“Charming and hilarious, thought-provoking and genuinely moving.” – TheatreMania.com. “This isn’t a clumsy parody, but a sensitive, imaginative tale that really is about a boy’s realization that he is different. Mr. Solomon portrays an amazing range of characters, all of them beautifully.” – N.Y. Times.
FAIR USE. February 10-27, 2011. West Coast Premiere!
By Sarah Gubbins. Directed by James Vasquez.
Sexual politics collide with legal brinksmanship in this whip-smart romantic comedy. Sy, an ambitious attorney, is in love with her co-counsel Madi, who in turn is involved with Chris, another lawyer in the firm who is just not quite sure how to express himself. While in the midst of a high-profile legal case, the love triangle gets complicated by a series of seductive, eloquent love letters. This hilarious love story was a 2009 finalist in the Alliance Theatre’s prestigious Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition. “While attorneys at a Chicago law firm take on a high-profile plagiarism case, their after-hours romantic triangle echoes Cyrano de Bergerac. Sarah Gubbins’ play savors the pleasures of language, sensuality and rich debate over such elusive concepts as intellectual property. Actor’s Express’ world premiere proved to be one of the company’s smartest and most entertaining productions in years.” – Creative Loafing/Atlanta, Top Ten Plays of 2009.
(RIGHTS TO BE SECURED) THE TEMPERAMENTALS. March 24-April 17, 2011. At time of this release, would be the West Coast Premiere.
By Jon Marans. Directed by Glenn Paris.
“Temperamental” was code for “homosexual” in the early 1950’s, part of a created language of secret words that gay men used to communicate. The Temperamentals tells the story of two men – the communist Harry Hay and the Viennese refugee and designer Rudi Gernreich (who, years later, would become famous as the creator of the topless bathing suit) – as they fall in love while building the Mattachine Society, the first gay rights organization in the pre-Stonewall United States. The play weaves together the personal and political to tell a relatively unknown chapter in gay history. It explores the love between two complex men, as their impossible dream of forming such an unheard of organization becomes a reality in this perilous, unpredictable world.
2010 Lucille Lortel winner for Outstanding Lead Actor Michael Urie (TV's Ugly Betty). The playwright Jon Marans was a 1996 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama for Old Wicked Songs. Local director Glenn Paris, Producing Artistic Director of ion theatre company, co-directed the Diversionary/ion co-production of Bent at Diversionary in November 2009. "With style and a sense of humor, The Temperamentals mixes meat-and-potatoes political content with campy comedy and unexpected bursts of emotional candor." — Time Out New York.
Note: other shows under consideration (in case rights are not available) include "The Pride" by Alexi Kaye Campbell, "Iron Kisses" by James Still or "Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party" by Aaron Loeb.
DOOLEY. May 5-29, 2011. World Premiere!
By William di Canzio. Directed by Rosina Reynolds. Underwritten in part by The James Irvine Foundation and Carlos Malamud.
Dr. Tom Dooley was a man who delighted in his sexuality, paid consequences, and yet refused to be defeated, long before ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. Dooley completed his residency at Camp Pendleton. He died young, but was cited by John F. Kennedy for his humanitarian work in Southeastern Asia as an inspiration for the start of the Peace Corps.
Thomas Anthony Dooley III was an
He completed his residency at
After leaving the navy, Dooley went to
Special and Anniversary Events
ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A GROOM. Written and performed by Robin Tyler. September 16-19. A hilarious multi-media romp through LGBT history, including the Marriage Equality movement. From Marches on Washington, to not-so-pretty breakups with ex-lovers, Robin’s show exposes three decades of lesbian and gay history through Comedy, and at times, Tragedy, leading up to Robin and her (now spouse), Diane Olson’s, historic California Supreme Court marriage case. Tyler began performing in nightclubs as a Judy Garland impersonator and as a stand-up comic. In 1978, she became the first out lesbian on U.S. national television on a Showtime comedy special hosted by Phyllis Diller. During the 1980s, Robin produced several West Coast Women's Music and Comedy Festivals and Southern Womyn's Music and Comedy Festivals. In 1979, she initiated a call for a gay and lesbian march on Washington, D.C. She was also instrumental in organizing the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987, where the AIDS quilt was displayed for the first time, and the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, which drew almost a million GLBTQ protesters from around the nation.
SEXTET. September 30, October 1-3. World Premiere! Composed and Libretto by Nicolas Reveles. Directed by Cynthia Stokes. What do Walt Whitman, the rapture, and a gay bath house all have in common? Those are among the unusual subjects explored in Sextet, shedding light on various aspects of gay desire: for community, for power, for acceptance, for family, for sex and for love. Reveles is The Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for the San Diego Opera. Stokes recently directed Romeo and Juliet for the San Diego Opera. Underwritten in part by The James Irvine Foundation.
DANCE/THEATRE. April 22-25, 2010. Inspired by Theatre/Created through Dance. Peter G. Kalivas, project artistic director, engages local choreographers to bring past Diversionary productions to life through new dance pieces. Underwritten by California Institute for Contemporary Arts.
To celebrate the 25th Anniversary Year, the following readings will be presented (dates to be announced): LUNCH and DESSERT by Philip Real (the first two one-act plays produced by Diversionary Theatre in 1986); OUR GAY APPAREL by former Executive Director Robert Joseph (a holiday favorite for several seasons); and DEAR HARVEY by Patricia Loughrey, with music by Thomas Hodges (commissioned by and premiered at Diversionary in April 2009) to celebrate Harvey Milk Day.
Diversionary will hold two “fun-raisers” during the year: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner on Saturday, October 9 (multiple dinner parties at individual homes, where the host provides the dinner and each guest makes a contribution to Diversionary; everyone comes together at the end of evening for dancing, champagne and dessert); and the second edition of Better Homos & Gardens (date to be announced, Spring 2011).
The Year Ahead
Mainstage productions will have three to five week runs, with 16 or more performances per run. Each show will preview on Thursday and Friday night, with openings on Saturday nights (please note: Santa Claus is Coming Out has a different performance schedule). Performance schedule for the year is Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, Sunday at 2:00pm, and selected Monday’s at 7:30pm and Saturday’s at 3:00pm.
Discounted six-show subscription packages ranging from $129 to $229 are now available through June 1 (prices go up on June 2). The early bird discounts include a package with a 35% discount. There are no handling/service charges for tickets purchased through Diversionary’s box office.
Single tickets go on sale six weeks before the opening date of each show. Group sales for any show during the season can be arranged now by calling the box office. More information about all the shows and season subscriptions are available through the Box Office at 619.220.0097 or at www.diversionary.org.
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Financial support for Diversionary Theatre is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2010
Diversionary lands the musical [title of show] for summer opener (at the time of this announcement) Diversionary production will be West Coast Premiere
Just in January and February 2010, four productions of [title of show] have opened around the country – in St. Louis, Boston, Detroit, and through the Arizona Theatre Company performing in both Tuscon and Phoenix. Diversionary Theatre has landed the rights to stage a production, starting July 8, that might be the West Coast Premeire! (We say might be, because another theatre along the West Coast could also apply for the rights and open a production the day before ours. That would be a bummer.)
[title of show] is the story of two struggling young writers writing a new musical about two struggling young writers writing a new musical. Jeff Bowen (Music & Lyrics) and Hunter Bell (Book) decide to submit something for the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival just three weeks before the deadline. They began chronicling their own process and crafted an original story that just happens to be (with some artistic license taken) autobiographical, so they cast themselves in the roles along with their two friends, Susan and Heidi. The evolution of [title of show], from its smash debut at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in the fall of 2004, to its successful Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theatre in February 2006, to its debut on Broadway in July, 2008, is chronicled in this “zesty, sweet and charming new musical.” (The New York Times).
The boys (Jeff and Hunter) have a blurb on the [title of show] website (
Dan Kirsch, Diversionary’s Executive & Artistic Director had this to say. “What fun!” Diversionary has asked James Vasquez to direct and Tim McKnight to musical direct. [title of show] will open on July 8 as the first show of Diversionary’s 2010-2011 season in celebration of their 25th Anniversary Year. The mission of the theatre is to produce plays with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes that portray characters in their complexity and diversity both historically and contemporarily (and [title of show] is both very gay and very contemporary!).
The entire 2010-2011 Season will be announced in late April. For more information, call the Diversionary box office at 619.220.0097 or log on to www.diversionary.org.
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