"Another Gay Play": Last Sunday in June Opens Off-Bway April 9

News   "Another Gay Play": Last Sunday in June Opens Off-Bway April 9 Jonathan Tolins' The Last Sunday in June, once titled Another Gay Play, offers a new spin on popular gay-themed plays by alternately buying into its genre's conventions and challenging them.
(L-R) Susan Pourfar, David Turner, Donald Corren and Arnie Burton in The Last Sunday in June.
(L-R) Susan Pourfar, David Turner, Donald Corren and Arnie Burton in The Last Sunday in June. (Photo by Robert Carey)

Life might seem like a delicious, randy celebration in such plays as Off-Broadway's hit Party, which focused on a group of gay pals stripping down in a truth or dare game, but in Tolins' new work, opening at the Century Center Off-Broadway April 9, the one-liners seem to cut a little deeper.

In the new work by the author of The Twilight of the Golds, a collection of gay friends gather at the Greenwich Village apartment of partners Michael and Tom on the titular day when the gay pride parade is making hay in the streets. As the friends discuss, argue about and celebrate life in the postmodern gay world — the era of "Will and Grace," same-sex weddings and sexual orientation protection — Michael and Tom find their planned suburban life to be more fragile than they suspected.

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Rattlestick Productions' world premiere staging of The Last Sunday in June, made the leap to a commercial run Off-Broadway April 1. Producer Ted Snowdon mounts the serious-minded comedy at Century Center on 15th Street, off Union Square. The premiere staging played Rattlestick's tiny West Village venue (in association with Snowdon) Jan. 31-March 16; the entire original cast moved to the Century.

Tolins made a name for himself with The Twilight of the Golds, in which a couple learn their unborn child will be gay. Trip Cullman directs The Last Sunday in June. 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. 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, 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.

The Century Center is at 111 E. 15th Street, east of Union Square. Tickets are $55. For information, call (212) 239-6200.

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