Addressing Gay Stereotypes, Last Sunday in June Begins Off-Bway Run April 1

News   Addressing Gay Stereotypes, Last Sunday in June Begins Off-Bway Run April 1 Rattlestick Productions' world premiere staging of Jonathan Tolins' The Last Sunday in June, exploring gay life in the era of "Will and Grace," same-sex weddings and sexual-orientation protection, makes the leap to a commercial run Off-Broadway April 1.
Matthew Wilkas (L) and Arnie Burton in The Last Sunday in June.
Matthew Wilkas (L) and Arnie Burton in The Last Sunday in June. (Photo by Sandra Coudert)

Producer Ted Snowdon mounts the serious-minded comedy at Century Center on 15th Street, off Union Square, beginning April 1 toward an opening April 9. The staging played Rattlestick's tiny West Village venue (in association with Snowdon) Jan. 31-March 16; the entire original cast will move to the Century.

Tolins, who made a name for himself with The Twilight of the Golds, in which a couple learn their unborn child will be gay, again addresses gay issues in his New York-set play. Directed by Trip Cullman, The Last Sunday in June is set in the Christopher Street apartment of a young gay couple during the annual New York City Gay Pride Parade.

"Intending to spend the afternoon alone planning their upcoming move to the 'burbs,' Michael and Tom's day is interrupted by one friend after another dropping in, sparking a chain of events that rocks the foundation of their relationship," according to production notes.

Tolins said that he wrote the play as an homage to gay theatre. "We are at a new stage in our relationships," he said in a statement. "Our unions are reported in the 'Style' section of The New York Times and our lives are fodder for primetime sitcoms. What do we do now that we are no longer fighting for recognition?"

The Village pad where the action takes place is a Grand Central station of gay people, representing a cross section of "types" you might meet in a gay genre play such as Party (the work's earlier title was Another Gay Play). Those stock characters include the young and hopeful innocent, the hunky guy, the 50ish gay man who fought for equality to be ignored by a younger generation, the partner with a wandering eye, the wisecracking gay man facing mortality and the bitter ex-boyfriend who has decided to marry a woman. The cast includes Arnie Burton (Mere Mortals), Donald Corren (Torch Song Trilogy), Jonathan McClain, Susan Pourfar (who got rave reviews), Mark Setlock (Fully Committed), Peter Smith, David Turner (The Butter and Egg Man) and Matthew Wilkas.

Designers are Takeshi Kata (set), Jeffrey Yoshi Lee (sound), Paul Whittaker (lighting) and Alejo Vietti (costume).

Tolins' plays include Broadway's Twilight of the Golds (directed by Arvin Brown and later a film), Off Broadway's If Memory Serves (directed by Leonard Foglia), and Secrets of the Trade, The Climate, The Unveiling and the one-acts Don't Look, Stewart's Line, The Mid-Wife and The Man That Got Away. He was also a writer and co-producer of TV's "Queer As Folk."

Producer Snowdon's credits include A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall, Little Ham, The Twilight of the Golds, Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight and more.

The company also includes understudies Brad Heberlee, Thomas James O'Leary, Dara Fisher and Andrew Glaszek.

(L-R) Arnie Burton, Matthew Wilkas, Johnathan McClain (at rear) Donald Corren, Peter Smith and David Turner in <i>The Last Sunday in June.</i>
(L-R) Arnie Burton, Matthew Wilkas, Johnathan McClain (at rear) Donald Corren, Peter Smith and David Turner in The Last Sunday in June. (Photo by Sandra Coudert)