Harvey Fierstein, Terrence McNally and Paula Vogel, openly gay American playwrights, have each penned a short gay-culture drama under the umbrella title, "Common Ground," premiering 8 PM Jan. 29 on Showtime.
Edward Asner, Jason Priestley, Steven Weber, Helen Shaver, Mimi Rogers and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are among stars appearing in the 90-minute drama, tracing three episodes of gay life in a fictional small town (Homer, CT) in the 1950s (Vogel), the 1970s (McNally) and 2000 (Fierstein), respectively.
Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize for How I Learned to Drive. McNally won the Tony Award for Best Book for Ragtime and wrote Love! Valour! Compassion!, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Corpus Christi and more. Fierstein wrote and starred in Torch Song Trilogy (winning a Best Actor Tony), and its film version.
The works include:
• "A Friend of Dorothy's" (by Vogel): Tells of Dorothy Nelson (played by Brittany Murphy) and her dishonorable discharge from the Navy, when she is found in an "alternative" bar (a friend, played by Jason Priestley, took her there). Her mother (played by Margot Kidder) rejects her, and a local coffee shop owner (Helen Shaver) gives advice. • "Mr. Roberts" (by McNally): Concerns successful high school student Toby Anderson (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) struggling with his sexual identity. His is verbally and physically assaulted by his classmates. A French teacher named Mr. Roberts (Steven Weber) resists helping Toby for fear of exposing his own gay identity.
• "Andy & Amos" (by Fierstein): Shows Amos (James LeGros) having wedding day jitters on the day of his commitment ceremony to Andy (Andrew Airlie). The public ceremony is being protested by local veterans who resent that the "wedding" is taking place on public property. Amos' father, Ira (Edward Asner), finds common ground with his son.
"Common Ground" will be repeated 10 PM Jan. 31, 9:35 PM Feb. 10, 12:45 AM Feb. 12, 9:30 AM Feb. 18.