Tony Nominee Will Swenson to Direct Film of Gay Mormon Play, Facing East

News   Tony Nominee Will Swenson to Direct Film of Gay Mormon Play, Facing East
Tony Award nominee and Priscilla Queen of the Desert star Will Swenson will direct the upcoming film adaptation of the Carol Lynn Pearson play Facing East, which centers on a young Mormon man who commits suicide after struggling with his homosexuality.

Will Swenson
Will Swenson Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Emily Pearson and Duane Andersen produce the independent film based on the play that premiered in Salt Lake City in 2006 and transferred Off-Broadway with its original cast intact in 2007 prior to a San Francisco run.

The New York Times reports that production on the film will begin this fall. Pearson is adapting her play for the silver screen. She is also the author of "Goodbye, I Love You," her personal account of her life with her gay husband and his ultimate death from AIDS; and "No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones," a collection of true stories about homosexuality and religion.

Facing East centers on an upstanding Mormon couple coping with the death of their son after attempts to "heal" him from homosexuality has failed. On the day of his funeral, they meet his lover, who shows them a side of their son they never knew, and begin to fully understand their own role in the loss of their child.

A percentage of the film's profits will be donated to the Trevor Project, which serves as suicide-prevention resource for LGBT youth.

Swenson, who was raised Mormon, told New York Magazine, "It’s certainly not an attack on the Mormon church. It's just, Let’s get this right, folks."

Swenson currently stars as Tick/Mitzi in the Broadway jukebox musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert. He earned a Tony nomination for the revival of Hair and has also been seen on stage in 110 in the Shade, Lestat, Brooklyn, Rock of Ages, Camelot, The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island, Miss Saigon, Adrift in Macao and We Will Rock You.

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