Thursday, May 24, 2012


Diversionary Theatre has got magic to do with its 2012-2013 season (titled “Fresh, Fun, and Fabulous”), which was just unveiled this past week.  The LGBT-themed, University Heights-based company is kicking off its five-show season with two musicals – one a new, fresh take on homophobia in the rural Midwest called “Harmony, Kansas” and the other a tried and true Stephen Schwartz classic we all know and love, “Pippin.”   

The season continues with another Kansas-based play, “When Last We Flew,” and carries through with the bird theme in the fourth show, “Birds of a Feather,” about two families of birds who have to deal with species-specific (and non-species specific) child – or more specifically, chick – raising.  The season ends with a celebration of theatre’s most angst-filled, tortured, and terribly-suicidal character, Hedda Gabler, as she embarks on an imaginative journey that involves TV cop shows, Black feminist theatre, and self-hating gay characters from the 1960s. 

Sounds like a fun, flighty, and fantastical time for all.

Music by Anna K. Jacobs
Book & Lyrics by Bill Nelson
Directed by James Vasquez
                       June 14 – July 22, 2012                        
With a lively, soulful score, Harmony, Kansas tells the story of Heath, a gay farmer making his way in a rural community where homogeneity rules. When his city-born partner, Julian, talks him into joining a spirited group of gay guys who meet once a week to sing, Heath discovers a love for making music and a kinship he didn't expect. But his world is turned upside down when the group considers performing in public, threatening everything that matters to him, including the life he’s made with the man he loves.

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Roger O. Hirson
Directed by James Vasquez
September 6 –October 14, 2012
A reimagined, innovative staging of a musical favorite!  James Vasquez upends the story of a young prince longed to discover the secret of true happiness and fulfillment. He sought it in the glories of the battlefield, the temptations of the flesh and the intrigues of political power (after disposing of his father King Charlemagne the Great). In the end, he found it in the simple pleasures of home and family. Pippin is a hip, tongue-in-cheek, anachronistic fairy tale that captivated Broadway audiences and continues to appeal to the young at heart everywhere.

By Harrison David Rivers
Directed by Colette Robert
November 8 – December 9, 2012
"Before we were human. We were birds. And. We. Were. Magnificent!" Inspired by Tony Kushner's Angels in America, When Last We Flew is a moving and often humorous look at life in small town America from a contemporary teenage perspective. After stealing his local library's only (and unread) copy of Angels in America, misfit teenager Paul locks himself in the bathroom and begins reading the landmark play. He soon finds that his life and the lives of those around him in his small Kansas suburb are about to take flight, and over the course of a seemingly ordinary day, extraordinary things start to happen…

By Marc Acito
Directed By James Vasquez
January 31 – March 3, 2013
Birds of a Feather is a heart-warming, smart comedy about two bird families: Roy and Silo, two penguins at the Central Park Zoo that adopt and raise a chick, and Pale Male and Lola, two hawks living and raising their own on a trendy Manhattan building. The play is based on true events. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson is a controversial children’s book based on the penguins, and the entirety of New York City was in awe of the hawks that nestled onto an expensive residential building. The show emphasizes a great message: that any type of family that works should be celebrated, conventional or not, gay or straight.

By Jeff Whitty
Directed by Matt McGrath
March 28 – April 28, 2013
Beginning immediately after Henrik Ibsen's classic ends, The Further Adventures Of Hedda Gabler finds Hedda mired in an alternative hell: a place where death is only possible when a fictional character is forgotten by the real-life public. So what is one of drama's most famous suicides to do? After taking advice from helpful neighbor Medea, Hedda and her servant, Mammy, set out on a perilous quest to return to the imaginative furnace of their creation. Along the way, they meet characters from science fiction, Black feminist theater, TV cop shows, Biblical dramas, as well as a couple of wisecracking, self-hating gay characters from the 1960s. Once Hedda and Mammy arrive at their fiery destination, they face a heartbreaking truth about themselves, their creators, and the forces that make them eternal.

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