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Mothers and Sons

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ZACH Theatre presents Terrence McNally‘s “Mothers and Sons,” a provocative new play that covers 90 minutes out of the lives for four characters that explores the lives of gay men after the early days of the AIDS epidemic which would alter and reshape the entire gay subculture. From coping with loss to the changing portrait of the modern American family, “Mothers and Sons” is a poinant reminder of how far the gay community has come in these past decades and those that we’ve lost along the way, as well as how far we still have to go.

Emmy Award-winning actress Michael Learned, best known for playing the mother on The Walton‘s, stars as Katharine Gerard, a recently widowed Dallas matron en route to Europe who seeks out her deceased son’s former lover Cal Porter, played by Martin Burke (This Wonderful Life, Peter and the Starcatcher, and the The Santaland Diaries at ZACH Theatre). Here she comes face to face with Nicholas Rodriguez (Les Misérables, Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! at ZACH Theatre) as Cal’s husband Will Ogden and their son, Bud, played by young actor William May (A Christmas Story, and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre). Dave Steakley directs the wonderfully cast production at ZACH Theatre.

“Mothers and Sons” is a 90-minute emotional rollercoaster ranging from wounding outbursts to witty banter to touching moments of shared loss. There is no intermission. There are no costume changes. It is a real-time snapshot in the lives of the four characters, dealing with some heavy issues like the aftermath of the AIDS crisis and probably the most topical subject at the moment– same-sex marriage … with plenty of jabs at Texas, and a shoutout or two to Austin, thrown in there. And conveniently timed as LGBTQ Texans, along with our fellow Americans, await a ruling by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

“Mothers and Sons is a beautiful play of this moment in time as our country, and our state, struggles to define what constitutes a family, and who has the right to marry. This Spring at ZACH we are focused on equality, from the Civil Rights legislation at the heart of All The Way, to the dialogue around marriage equality today,” says Steakley. “As we have witnessed societal change occurs slowly and then there are certain junctions in our history where progress toward equality moves swiftly. We are poised at one of those moments in American history, and I’m delighted we are one of the first to produce McNally’s thoughtful, human, compassionate play.”

Regardless of your age, “Mothers and Sons” is a must see play that tries to summarize the change our world has seen over the last couple of decades. Mrs. Gerard struggles to come to terms with the death of her only child, trying to not forget him, trying to find someone to blame and seeing the life that could have been his had he lived. Older audience members will probably connect more with Cal and his struggle with the loss of his former partner and an entire generation of friends during the height of the AIDS crisis. Younger audience members will relate more with the younger aspiring writer Will, and his want for the American Dream and a politically correct world.

One of the most poignant moments of the performance was when Will talks to Mrs Gerard about the time when to be diagnosed with AIDS was effectively a death sentence: “First it will be a chapter in a history book, then a paragraph, then a footnote. … It’s already started to happen. I can feel it happening. All the raw edges of pain dulled, deadened, drained away.”

Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM through June 21, 2015 at ZACH’s Topfer Theatre at 202 South Lamar Blvd. Tickets start at $25 and are available online at www.zachtheatre.org, the ZACH Theatre box office in the Topfer Theatre Mondays through Saturday from 12 NOON to 7 PM and by phone at (512) 476-0541 x1. Discounts are available for groups of 8 or more. Student Rush Tickets are $18 one hour before show time (with valid ID).

[gdlr_icon type=”icon-camera-retro” size=”16px” color=”#999999″]PHOTO CREDIT: 1) Michael Learned, William May, Nicholas Rodriguez and Martin Burke / photo credit: Kirk Tuck; 2) Martin Burke and Michael Learned / photo credit: Kirk Tuck; 2) William May, Martin Burke and Nicholas Rodriguez / photo credit: Kirk Tuck; 3) William May, Martin Burke and Nicholas Rodriguez / photo credit: Kirk Tuck.

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MOTHERS AND SONS

By Terrence McNalley; Dave Steakley, director; J. Robert Moore, assistant director; Michelle Ney, scenic designer; Gabrielle Garcia, scenic design assistant; Michael McDonald, costume designer; Jason Amato, lighting designer; Craig Brock, sound designer; Scott Groh, properties designer; Shannon Richey, stage manager. Presented by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, Kathleen and Harvey Guion, Lee Manford and Casey Blass, Pamela and Scott Reichardt, and Mercedes Benz of Austin. At ZACH’s Topfer Theatre, 202 South Lamar Blvd. (corner of Riverside Drive and South Lamar Blvd.), 512-476-0541 x1, www.zachtheatre.org. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.

WITH: Martin Burke (Cal Porter), Michael Learned (Katharine Gerard), William May (Bud Ogden-Porter), and Nicholas Rodriguez (Will Ogden).

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Chase is the Founder and Creative Director of therepubliq.com, Host and Executive Producer of OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin. In 2012, CultureMap Austin named him one of Austin's Top LGBT bloggers and he received the AGLCC's Chamber Award for Social Media Diva.

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ZACH Theatre presents IMMORTAL LONGINGS

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ZACH Theatre announces the world premiere of Immortal Longings, the newest work by playwright and American Legend Terrence McNally. Previews begin June 12 with an Opening Date of June 20 and will run through July 14 in The Topfer at ZACH. The world premiere of Immortal Longings is a thoroughly revised version of Fire and Air which premiered at the Classic Stage Company (CSC) in New York City in the winter of last year.

Four-time Tony Award®-winning playwright and LGBT activist Terrence McNally (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman) expands on Immortal Longings, “When we performed the play at CSC, it was very much a work in progress. Few plays are flawless at their world premiere. Plays are not written, they are re- written. I knew in New York that the play was not finished to my satisfaction and I was grateful when ZACH invited me to finish my work on the play with a new director, a new cast, and most importantly, a new text. A change of title, even after a first production, is not an unusual part of a play’s journey. Away We Go in Boston became Oklahoma! before Broadway.”

Immortal Longings explores the rich history of the great Russian impresario Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev and his legendary Ballets Russes, who introduced the world to such revolutionary artists as Nijinsky, Stravinsky and Picasso. Surrounded by great talents of art, design, and music, the tempestuous relationship between Diaghilev and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky revolutionizes dance forever. The play takes place as the iron claw of the Bolsheviks closes in on the free spirits of New Art, forcing them to take refuge in a liberated and liberating Paris, at the birth of the 20th Century.

On producing Immortal Longings at ZACH, Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley states, “Classic plays we love like A Streetcar Named Desire or Death of a Salesman were once new plays. It is important for the future of our culture that we are always creating new work that may become one of these lasting legacies that impacts generations of readers and writers to come. It is an opportunity to respond in the here and now to the forces in our lives, which impact a generation and imbue our lives with meaning. Terrence has had the most famous, interesting, articulate colleagues as collaborators on his work – actors, directors, designers, musicians – a lifetime of who’s who, and he brings all that knowledge and experience with him when he approaches a creative endeavor. We have the great fortune to be his students and collaborators in this moment.”

In addition to Steven Epp as Sergei Pavlovich Diaghliev and Wyatt Fenner as Vaslav Nijinsky, Immortal Longings will star; James Patrick Nelson as Dmitry “Dima” Filosofov; Shannon Koob as Misia Sert; Suzanne Warmanen as Dunya; Joshua Pagan as Leonide Massine; Rachael Hanlon, Marie Pearce, Kevin Murdock-Waters, and Ian J. Bethany as Ballet Ensemble; and Rob Greenfield as Pianist.

Directed by Peter Rothstein, the production team also includes Kelli Foster Warder as Choreographer, Michael Hoover as Scenic Designer, Susan Branch Towne as Costume Designer, Serret Jensen as Hair and Makeup Designer, Philip Rosenberg as Lighting Designer, Craig Brock as Sound Designer, Scott Groh as Properties Designer, Rod Simonson as Projection Designer, Amanda Cooley Davis as Dialect Coach, and Catherine Anne Tucker as Stage Manager.

Age recommendation: Seventeen and up for adult language, sexual situations and full nudity.

Tickets start at $25 and are available online at zachtheatre.org, by phone at 512-476-0541, or in person at the ZACH Theatre Box Office, in the Topfer Theatre, 202 South Lamar Boulevard (corner of Riverside Drive and South Lamar) Monday through Saturday, 12–5p.m. ZACH Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Student Rush Tickets are $20 one hour before show time (with valid ID).

Immortal Longings opens Wednesday, June 12, 2019 and runs through Sunday, July 14, with performances on Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 PM and 2:30 PM on Saturday and Sundays at the ZACH’s Topfer Theatre at 202 South Lamar Blvd.

Special Events in Celebration of Immortal Longings:

  • Pride Night – Thursday, June 13, 2019
  • Wednesday Post-Show Discussion – Wednesday, June 19, 2019
  • ASL Interpreted, Open Captioned, and Audio Described – Wednesday, June 19, 2019
  • Champagne Opening and Press Night – Thursday, June 20, 2019

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The Filigree Theatre presents WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND UNAFRAID

Austin Premiere of Sarah Treem’s play marks second production for The Filigree Theatre’s second season slate

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Linda Bradshaw as Agnes, Allison Paranka as Penny, and Laura Ray as Mary Anne.
Linda Bradshaw as Agnes, Allison Paranka as Penny, and Laura Ray as Mary Anne. Photo courtesy The Filigree Theatre

The Filigree Theatre, Austin’s independent women-led theatre company, has announced its cast for the Austin Premiere of When We Were Young and Unafraid, written by Sarah Treem (The Affair). Directed by Jennifer Sturley​ and produced by Stephanie Moore and Elizabeth V. Newman, the production will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM from February 7-23, 2018 at The Mastrogeorge Theatre.

When We Were Young and Unafraid takes place on an island off the coast of Seattle at the height of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the early 1970s, before Roe v. Wade, and the Violence Against Women Act. Agnes, a no-nonsense former nurse played by Linda Bradshaw, (The Foreigner, Steel Magnolias, Always Patsy Cline​) has turned her quiet bed and breakfast into safe place where victims of domestic violence can seek refuge.

Michelle Mary Schaefer​ as Hannah and Linda Bradshaw as Agnes.
Michelle Mary Schaefer​ as Hannah and Linda Bradshaw as Agnes. Photo courtesy The Filigree Theatre.

To Agnes’ dismay, her latest runaway, Mary Anne, a young Army bride played by Laura Ray (A Delicate Ship, Agnes of God, The Normal Heart​). is beginning to influence Agnes’ college-bound daughter Penny, played by Allison Paranka (Shakespeare in the Dark: Macbeth​). Meanwhile, another woman, Hannah, a traveling would-be revolutionary played by Michelle Mary Schaefer​ (Tribes, Children of a Lesser God, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) keeps coming by the bed and breakfast on her way to Womynworld, a lesbian separatist community.

As a feminist revolution grows louder outside of Agnes’ tiny world, these four women find their strength and confront their fears together; while Paul, played by Ben Gibson (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, All Shook Up​), a tourist and recent divorcee seeks refuge from the sexual revolution taking over San Francisco.

Ben Gibson as Paul and Laura Ray as Mary Anne.
Ben Gibson as Paul and Laura Ray as Mary Anne. Photo courtesy The Filigree Theatre

When We Were Young and Unafraid marks the fifth production for The Filigree Theatre. All productions in Filigree’s 2018-19 slate center around the theme “At The Crossroads,” with each play examining how, at crucial moments in our lives, we, as humans, find ourselves at the brink of change, faced with life and death decisions, confronted with a point of no return.

Tickets for When We Were Young and Unafraid are now available online at FiligreeTheatre.com or in-person at the Mastrogeorge Box Office for $30. All performances play at The Mastrogeorge Theatre at 130 Pedernales St.

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Salvage Vanguard Theater presents QUEEN OF THE NIGHT

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Salvage Vanguard Theater presents the final Works Progress Austin of 2018 with Queen of the Night, a one man show about being black and queer in America, written and performed by artist Travis Tate. Works Progress Austin, SVT’s script development series, provides playwrights with the resources they need to bring their work to life: actors, stage managers, rehearsal time + space, cash, and an audience in the earliest stages of creation.

Queen of the Night is a story that centers around Stephen, a 63 year-old, recent divorcee, who takes his son, Ty, a millennial queer, on a camping trip to their old stomping grounds; a place Stephen took Ty often as a child. Stuck in the woods for a few days, no phone, and only their memories, Stephen and Ty must reckon with the past in this present wilderness. Queen of the Night explores masculinity and queerness through the lens of multi-generational Blackness.

Travis Tate is a queer, black playwright, poet and performer from Austin, Texas. Their poetry has appeared in Borderlands:Texas Poetry Review, Underblong, Mr. Ma’am, and upcoming in the Shade Journaland apt. They are a finalist for the Cosmonauts Avenue 2018 Poetry Prize. Their one-person drag show, It’s a Travesty! One Night with Jazzie Mercado! was presented at the Cohen New Works Festival (2017) and at Salvage Vanguard Theater’s Three-Headed Fest in November 2017. Their play MotherWitch was featured as a part of the 2018 UTNT (UT New Theatre).

Queer, black playwright, poet and performer Travis Tate / photo credit: Salvage Vanguard Theater

On November 28th, Travis Tate will lead a creative writing workshop for teens at Out Youth, and thanks to a grant from the Applied Materials Foundation, the students will attend the performance on Saturday as invited guests.

AT A GLANCE

Queen of the Night is Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 8 PM at Hick’s House at Austin Seminary, 100 E 27th St, Austin TX 78705. Tickets Pick a Price from $0-$25 and are available online. The Salvage Vanguard Theater box office opens at 7 PM. For questions, call 512-476-SVT6 or email box@salvagevanguard.org.

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