Gay Shame Is One Half of the Picture in Ojeda's Solo Show, Pride, Premiering in NYC July 15-16

News   Gay Shame Is One Half of the Picture in Ojeda's Solo Show, Pride, Premiering in NYC July 15-16 Writer-actor Perry Ojeda will premiere his latest solo performance piece, Pride, about gay shame and gay pride, July 15-16 at Dixon Place in Manhattan.
Perry Ojeda
Perry Ojeda Photo by Francine Daveta

With direction and choreography by Karen Azenberg and songs by Randy Redd, the show is billed as "a political musical comedy" that explores the "experience, alienation and vilification of gay men and women in George W.'s America."

Ojeda has performed on Broadway in On the Town, Blood Brothers and Imaginary Friends and in London in Dolly West's Kitchen.

Among the 13 characters in the show, which employs song, dance, comedy and commentary, are an "ex-gay" attending a "Homosexuals Anonymous" meeting, a ballet dancing hustler and a mother fixing up her son with a "Lincoln Log Republican."

"Pride is a project that grew out of my own outrage after last year's election as well as the passage of anti-gay marriage initiatives in several states across America," Ojeda told Playbill.com. "Growing up in a very conservative rural town in Southern Michigan in a staunchly Mormon family, I've had to work very hard to find self love and ownership of my identity as a gay man in America. I took the anti-gay initiatives and the re-election of Bush very personally."

He added, "In a funny way, I think many in the GLBT community, myself included, accepted that we were second class citizens and should be designated to the shadowy edges of society. In the past, I have made many attempts, both blatant and subtle, to hide my sexuality, in the way I dressed, behaved, spoke, and was careful about with whom I associated. I myself was the embodiment of the vilification of gay men and women that I was trying so hard to overcome. Pride explores this complex struggle between self hate and self acceptance." Is the show an angry political rant?

"Here's how I'll get my message across: laughter and song," Ojeda said. "I come from the world of musical theatre, specifically musical comedy. I personally shut down when I'm being yelled at. I like to hear stories and songs about people's experiences. I have 13 different characters in Pride all with unique points of view about homosexuality. My biggest inspirations for the way I present Pride are the solo works of Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Miller and Madam Vera Galupe-Borszkh, from La Grand Scene Opera Company. Each of these artists take on hot topics and make their audiences laugh along the way."

Among the work's characters is a self involved gay actor ("completely fictional, of course," Ojeda said with a smile) who gets involved with a new Broadway rock musical version of Death of a Salesman, entitled Rock Hard Willie!

The actor has been given direction that he's reading "too gay" and is asked to "butch it up" when he sings.

In another scene is a song that a Sunday School teacher performs for her students to teach them about acceptance and diversity.

Pride ends with an anthem.

The Dixon Place presentation marks the first public performances of the new show. It's part of Dixon Place's HOT! Festival 2005: A Celebration of Queer New York.

Ojeda and Azenberg have worked together before, including on his previous one man play, The Trick.

To purchase tickets and for more information visit www.dixonplace.org.