Previews for the production, which is directed by Ben Rimalower, began July 31. Rimalower, who helmed the all-star Snoopy concert, recently told Playbill.com, "I saw the original production of The Joy of Gay Sex in San Francisco when I was 18 years old. John Fisher was actually my acting teacher at Berkeley where I was a freshman. The play changed my life. It was a gay, romantic comedy — an entertaining, smart and really heartfelt piece of theatre.
"I think I had been looking for that kind of experience in a play or movie since I was a kid," Rimalower added, "but never found it. When I saw it, I thought Joy was just the tip of the iceberg — that I would be seeing lots of other productions like that but didn't. I saw much of John's work over the years, and he became increasingly successful, but I always had a place in my heart for Joy. Two years ago, there were some producers interested in the play, and I was asked to direct the piece. Those producers lost their money and went back to California, but I got excited about doing it and decided to produce it myself. Over a series of readings and getting involved with my producing partners, we were able to get it up for a showcase this past February. We were really energized by that production and the warm reception it got from audiences and the small number of critics who saw it. It's such a unique and rewarding piece, and we thought it was time to offer it to a larger audience."
Joy is the touching story of seven college friends; those friends include Ken Barnett as Corey, Michael Busillo as Darryl, Ben Curtis as Christian, Ryan Kelly as Elsa, January LaVoy as Kegan, Christopher Sloan as Gabriel and Paul Whitthorne as Paul. James DeForte choreographs with musical direction by Mark Hartman.
Joy, according to production notes, "follows a group of college friends as they fall in and out of love in San Francisco over the course of a year. While working to complete his doctoral dissertation, Paul, an aspiring writer (and stubbornly offbeat historian) meets Gabriel, an irresistibly sweet (and still-closeted) undergrad with a disarming smile and a refreshingly romantic sensibility. As Paul and Gabriel grow closer, they realize the importance of balancing each other's social viewpoints and maintaining their own individuality, all while managing their friends' expectations and the wild electricity generated between Kegan and Elsa, a passionate pair of budding lesbians."
The creative team for Joy comprises Wilson Chin (set design), David Kaley (costume design), Ben Stanton (lighting design) and Zach Williamson (sound design). Producers are Sean Mackey, Eva Price and director Rimalower. Joy plays Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at 8 PM, Saturdays at 5 and 9 PM and Sundays at 3 and 7 PM. Tickets, priced at $65, are available by calling (212) 239-6200. The theatre is located at 100 Seventh Avenue South. For more information visit www.joytheplay.com.