LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. military's persecution of gays and lesbians is the subject of Burning Blue, D.M.W. Greer's controversial drama which opens Jan. 30 at the Court Theatre.
The play premiered in 1995 at the tiny King's Head Theatre in London but stirred up such public feelings that it was transferred to the renowned Haymarket Theatre on the West End, and then to the Ambassadors where it was seen by the top brass from Working Title, the British film company responsible for such hits as Four Weddings and a Funeral. Working Title purchased the rights and put Burning Blue into development.
Greer is an American. He grew up in a military family and spent nearly seven years in the Navy, training to fly helicopters, then handling Navy public relations in New York City. Burning Blue grew out of his disenchantment over the Navy's treatment of alleged homosexuals. A close friend, the son of an admiral, was subjected to 36 straight hours of interrogation before he resigned from the Navy to avoid tarnishing his father's reputation. "I also learned of four or five other cases of Navy personnel being raked over the coals by the Naval Investigative Service," he said. "The irony is amazing: that freedom of speech, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, and defended by our military, is something that gays can't even enjoy themselves. It's hard to fathom."
The director is John T. Hickock. William McNamara heads a cast that includes Obie Award-winner William Sadler, Michelle Azar, Katy Boyer, Mark Deakins, Tim DeKay, Robert Gossett and Martin McDougall.
The play is scheduled to run through Mar. 1. The Court Theatre is at 722 N. LaCienaga Blvd. For tickets, call (888) 566-8499. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent