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New York Theater Shows Its Gay Pride

Big Excellent 20th Reunion, Cock, End of the Rainbow, The Lyons, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert are among the LGBT-themed shows currently on the boards. logo
The cast of Big Excellent 20th Reunion
(© KS Stevens)
June is Gay Pride month, and there is always a good selection of both long-running and newly created shows in New York City to mark the occasion.

Take Big Excellent 20th Reunion written and produced by KS Stevens, and currently playing Theatre 80 through June 23. Set during a high school reunion, the show features a cross-section of the LGBT community including a gay Asian man living with HIV, a bisexual Latina lawyer, and a transsexual professor of queer theory -- the latter played by celebrated transgender actress Bianca Leigh.

The diversity of characters is important to Stevens, but she stresses that their differences are also a rich source of conflict and drama. "When I see plays that tackle prejudices against LGBT characters, it usually has a 'straight versus LGBT' slant," she notes. "I thought it would be unique and more people would come away thinking more about issues if presented with queer on queer biases."

Putting up the musical during Pride month has been a mixed blessing, according to Stevens. "I know the show has received a lot of attention, but there is also a lot of competition for the Gay Pride dollar, and that is something I was naïve about" she says.

However, one of the things that has helped to get the word out about the show is that it has partnered with numerous LGBT-related charities including MCCNY Homeless Youth Services: Sylvia's Place, Queers For Economic Justice, and Sylvia Rivera Law Project. "My partners have been rooting for the show and informing their client base for months now," says Stevens. "They liked what I was trying to accomplish in my art, and in exchange they will receive a percentage of audience donations."

There are several other LGBT-related theater shows and special events that are up on the boards during Pride Month:

Accept "Except" LGBT NY, Faison Firehouse Theatre (June 21-July 8)
Tony Award winner George Faison directs this play about two gay 20-year-olds and the struggle for justice in America from slavery to the modern-day gay rights movement.

Broadway Sings for Pride Concert, Mainstage Theatre at Playwrights Horizons (June 25)
American Idol finalist Anthony Fedorov, Broadway veteran Brian Charles Rooney, and activist and Dancing with the Stars competitor Chaz Bono are among the participants for this event, which will benefit the Hetrick-Martin Institute, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City and Broadway Sings for Pride.

Chimichangas and Zoloft, Atlantic Stage 2 (through June 24)
Fernanda Coppel's drama centers on two interconnected Mexican-American families. The fathers are involved in a steamy affair with one another, while their teenage daughters are dealing with their own issues in regards to sexuality.

Jason Butler Harner and Cory Michael Smith
in Cock
(© Joan Marcus)
Cock, The Duke on 42nd Street (open run)
This provocative and very funny play -- starring Jason Butler Harner, Amanda Quaid, Cory Michael Smith, and Cotter Smith -- examines the fractured relationship dynamics of a gay male couple after one of them falls in love with a woman.

The Columnist, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (through July 8)
2012 Tony Award nominee John Lithgow stars in David Auburn's Broadway bio-play about syndicated newspaper columnist Joseph Alsop, whose mostly closeted life as a gay man threatens to derail his career.

End of the Rainbow, Belasco Theatre (open run)
2012 Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk winner Tracie Bennett portrays Judy Garland in Peter Quilter's drama set a few months prior to the legendary entertainer's death, while fellow Tony nominee Michael Cumpsty shines as her openly gay pianist and confidante, Anthony.

Home in Her Heart, Stage Left Studios (through June 26)
Set in 1939 London, Margaret Morrison's play centers on an inter-racial lesbian couple faced with returning to a segregated United States.

The Homosexual Agenda, Park Avenue Christian Church (through June 23)
In Robb Leigh Davis' new play, a popular Senator up for re-election attends a meeting with a powerful gay rights organization on the evening before a national "Equality Conference."

I Can't Even Think Straight, Laurie Beechman Theatre (June 21-23)
Subtitled Molly "Equality" Dykeman's Big Gay Pride Show, the piece features home movies; poetry about vaginas, nachos, and mullets; a guide to making amends to past loves, and Molly's tribute to the many, many ladies she loves.

Lost in Staten Island, La MaMa E.T.C. (through July 1)
The latest installment of Richard Sheinmel's "Tales of Modern Living" series revolves around the openly gay (and the author's thinly veiled autobiographical stand-in) Mitch and his mother as they journey through an extraordinary day.

Charlie Hofheimer, Dick Latessa, and
Linda Lavin in The Lyons
(© Carol Rosegg)
The Lyons, Cort Theatre (through July 1)
Nicky Silver's Broadway play stars Tony Award nominee Linda Lavin as the matriarch of a rather dysfunctional family that includes her gay son Curtis (played by Mad Men's Charlie Hofheimer).

Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Palace Theater (through June 24)
This musical extravaganza, based on the Oscar-winning film, is wrapping up its run on the day of the Gay Pride parade. Featuring the fabulous Oscar and Tony-winning costumes of Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, the show centers on a trio of friends (played by Nick Adams, Tony Sheldon, and Will Swenson) on the road trip of a lifetime in the middle of the Australian outback.

Rent, New World Stages (open run)
Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical is about a group of friends -- gay and straight -- in the East Village, living and loving during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

The Taint of Equality, Bleecker Street Theatre (through June 23)
This send-up of modern gay life looks at a gay male couple who don't believe in marriage (even though everyone assumes they are), who decide to finally open up their "open relationship."

Trevor Live, Pier 60 (June 25)
Theater veterans Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, and Anthony Rapp, along with members of the band fun., will participate in this annual event, benefiting the life-saving, life-affirming work of The Trevor Project.

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