In celebration of Pride, Playbill and Pride Plays will present four live streamed readings of plays by and about the LGBTQIA+ community at 7 PM every Friday in June in support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Produced by Doug Nevin and Michael Urie with festival direction by Nick Mayo, Pride Plays is also presented in partnership with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
Pride Plays will stream readings directly on Playbill.com beginning June 5 with Brave Smiles...Another Lesbian Tragedy by The Five Lesbian Brothers (Maureen Angelos, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey, and Lisa Kron) directed by Leigh Silverman. Presented at last year’s festival, the joyous and raucus Brave Smiles is considered one of The Brothers’ most essential works.
On June 12, we present Donja R. Love’s one in two, “a portrait of what it means to be black and queer in America today. The play was rapturously received at the New Group earlier this season and we are honored to bring this work to our audiences in June,” says Mayo.
June 19 will see Masculinity Max by MJ Kaufman take the “stage.” Directed by Will Davis, the play stands as a mesmerizing and life-affirming new work from a powerful playwright. Kaufman’s Eat and You Belong With Us played the 2019 festival “and audiences were wowed by the wit and heart of their writing,” says Nevin. “MJ Kaufman is one of the most exciting playwrights working today.”
The final play honors groundbreaking playwright Mart Crowley, who passed away in March of this year, after winning a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play for his The Boys in the Band. Pride Plays is honored to present his Men From the Boys June 26. Produced with Aaron Glick, the drama will be directed by Zachary Quinto, who played Harold in the Tony-winning revival. “With The Boys in the Band, the late, great Mart Crowley wrote the original Pride Play. Those boys changed the lives of so many and we always wondered what happened to them as they became men,” says Urie. "Men From the Boys is the answer to that question as we revisit those characters here."
Casting for each of the four plays has not yet been announced. Each presentation will be hosted by a pillar of the community, who will introduce the play and share their own stories before the curtain rises.
The festival will cap off with Playbill’s Pride Spectacular, a musical celebration of Pride, hosted by Urie on June 28.
In addition to the four readings and a concert, throughout the entire month of June, Pride Plays will continue to develop new works through virtual readings—though not presented to the public. “The goal since we first got together to produce Pride Plays last year was to expand representation of the entire LGBTQIA+ community in the theatre,” says Mayo. “That means creating more opportunities for emerging writers, as well as directors and performers.”
“We want to offer emerging writers the opportunity to work with top-flight directors to fine-tune new stories about the LGBTQIA+ experience,” Nevin explains. “While we are sorry that we can’t all get in the same room, Zoom is a wonderful means of community-gathering. We look forward to the ideas and sparks of humanity that we know will emerge in the coming weeks.”
While “the four ‘MainStage’ plays represent writers who helped lay the groundwork for queer theatre and writers who’ll be leaders of the next generation,” as Urie says, the Festival as a whole is committed to the continued nurturing of more stories by a breadth of artists in the community. “When it comes LGBTQIA+ theatremakers, we have an embarrassment of riches, and with Pride Plays 2020 we are once again scratching the surface. The 11 plays that make up the festival of developing works come from playwrights from all across the rainbow, no two plays or playwrights alike.”
The following plays will be part of the full Pride Plays Festival 2020 June 1–30:
Everything Beautiful Happens at Night
By: Ted Malawer
Directed By: David Cromer
Just Press Save
By: Rodney Hicks
Directed By: Michael Greif
Good Time Charlie
By: Ryan J. Haddad
Directed By: Danny Sharron
By: Azure D. Osborne-Lee
Directed By: Kirya Traber
By: Omar Hantash
Directed By: Kareem Fahmy
Are You There Truman?
By: Garrett David Kim
Directed By: Gaven Trinidad
Marked Green At Birth, Marked Female at Birth
By: Sophie Sagan-Gutherz
Directed By: Caitlin Ryan O'Connell
You Have to Promise
By: Audrey Lang
Directed By: Jenna Worsham
By: Preston Max Allen
Directed By: Blayze Teicher
Will You...Hold My Hair Back
By: Carmen LoBue
For Leonora, or, Companions
By: Hayley St. James