Today: Two Amazing Pride Events For Theater Fans

As the last weekend of Pride Month 2020 comes to a close, make sure you check out these two terrific streaming Pride events today.

Unfortunately, the two events overlap, but you get a fantastic experience with either one.

First, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will sponsor a one-night-only streamed presentation of the 2013 multi-actor performance of David Drake’s Award-winning play – The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me – on June 28 at 7pm ET/4pm PT to benefit Provincetown Theater.

After joining the activist group ACT UP, Drake began writing autobiographical monologues about the AIDS crisis that eventually became a one-man show about this critical point in American history. 

Drake won an Obie Award for his work, and the original Off-Broadway run at the Perry Street Theatre, produced by Sean Strub and Tom Viola, became one of the longest-running solo shows in New York theatre history. 

Comprised of seven monologues, the play explores many different stages in a gay man’s life, from childhood to adolescence, to adulthood, and travels through his personal timeline, from past, to present, to future.

The soliloquies veer from hysterically funny (“Why I go to the Gym”) to deeply inspiring. In the piece, “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me,” Drake recalls in vivid detail attending a performance of Larry Kramer’s award-winning play, The Normal Heart and the impact of Kramer’s words on the soon-to-be activist.

“As Larry Kramer was such a formative figure for me and several generations in the LGBTQ community, it seems absolutely appropriate to stream this virtual event as a salute to his towering legacy at the conclusion of Gay Pride Week on Sunday, June 28,” said Drake in a press statement.

“Indeed, I believe the activism inherent in the piece also provides a great gatherer of the current manner in which Gay Prides are being celebrated this year—by joining forces with the Black Lives Matter movement in the march for unequivocal equality.”

For its 20th anniversary in 2013, the celebrated solo show was re-imagined to feature an ensemble cast of twelve.

The 2013 cast of ‘The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me’ (photo: Monica Simoes)

Directed by Tony Award nominee Robert La Fosse, the cast in the archival video features playwright and Provincetown Theatre Artistic Director Drake, Tony winner André De Shields (Hadestown), Tony winner BD Wong (M. Butterfly), three-time Tony nominee Robin De Jesús (The Boys in the Band), Tony nominee Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon), Anthony Rapp (If/Then, Rent), and more.

On a personal note, I want to add in 1991, while I was still working as an actor in NYC, I was cast as the standby for the original cast of the off-Broadway hit musical, Pageant.

David Drake, who stopped the show nightly as ‘Miss Deep South, Lurinda Summerford,’ had in his contract a week’s leave for an early workshop production of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me. So, when I was hired it was with the knowledge I would, at the very least, be going on in that role soon. #SQUEEEE!!!

First of all, it was a thrill to go on in David’s brilliant role in Pageant. His performance is indelibly stamped on the role and the play forever. Thankfully I had the good sense God gave a goat and studied his blueprint thoroughly before I went on 🙂

But working with David, and observing the genesis of this stunning one-man show was a gift of inspiration.

It was in watching David develop his Obie Award-winning play that I found my own awakening activism. It is impossible for me to underscore what a groundbreaking event his play was for me and thousands of theatergoers.

The stream will be available at ProvincetownTheater.org and on YouTube.

Although the stream is free, donations are encouraged to Provincetown Theater, which has canceled its operations through 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.


At the same time, Playbill’s Pride Plays ends its month-long series of primetime livestreams with a musical celebration, Playbill’s Pride Spectacular.

Honoring iconic LGBTQIA+ musicals, creators, and musical performers, the Pride Spectacular will feature performances by a cavalcade of theater luminaries including (in alphabetical order) Jelani Alladin, Alexandra Billings, Billy Bustamante, Jenn Colella, DeMarius Copes, Wilson Cruz, Robin De Jesús, Lea DeLaria, Brandon Victor Dixon, Eden Espinosa, Niani Feelings, Harvey Fierstein, Gaby Gamache, Celia Rose Gooding, Matt Gould, James Harkness, Curtis Holland, Cheyenne Jackson, Jawan M. Jackson, Michael R. Jackson, Francis Jue, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Caitlin Kinnunen, L Morgan Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Matthew Lopez, Rick Lyon, Cheech Manohar, Matt Manuel, Griffin Matthews, Anastacia McCleskey, John McDaniel, Michael McElroy, John McGinty, Gerry McIntyre, Chris Medlin, Ezra Menas, Paul HeeSang Miller, John Cameron Mitchell, Mary Kate Morrissey, Javier Muñoz, Alan Muraoka, Shakina Nayfack, Ariana Notartomaso, Diana Oh, Ken Page, Lauren Patten, Clint Ramos, Jelani Remy, Matt Rodin, Jai Rodriguez, Mj Rodriguez, Mars Rucker, Sushma Saha, George Salazar, Miriam Shor, Jason Tam, John Tartaglia, Sonya Tayeh, Sergio Trujillo, Vishal Vaidya, Nik Walker, BD Wong, Iain Young,and Brittany Zeinstra.

The 90-minute musical evening includes accompaniment by Dan Berkery, Justin Craig, Charity Wicks-DePinto, Matt Gould, Emmy and Grammy Award winner John McDaniel, and Meg Zervoulis and appearances by Matthew Lopez, Clint Ramos, Sonya Tayeh, and Sergio Trujillo.

I hope that you will support the essential work of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Please join the incredible lineup of Pride Plays artists in making a lifesaving difference for men, women and children across the country affected by COVID-19, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses and crises. Your generosity will help provide lifesaving medications, nutritious meals, housing, emergency assistance and other vital services.

Hit this link to watch Playbill’s Pride Spectacular. The video player will be posted at this link at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT.

Out Films: “After Louie” Starring Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming in After Louie

Artist and AIDS activist Vincent Gagliostro’s debut feature After Louie will premiere on March 30, 2018 in New York City to be followed by a video on demand release across cable, internet and satellite platforms.

Synopsis:

After Louie stars Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) as Sam, an artist and activist from ACT UP who lived through the early years of HIV/AIDS and is struggling with survivor’s guilt and Zachary Booth (Last Weekend) as Braeden, a seductive younger man that Sam meets in a bar. The pair drop their pants and quickly thereafter Sam drops his emotional guard.

They develop an intergenerational relationship that reawakens Sam’s artistic soul and reviving his wilted heart.

Beyond the evocative performances and setting, After Louie is a love letter to New York City: engaging its rich backdrop, while honoring the history of the gay rights movement and the progress that’s been made.

Amid the arguments over politics, loss, aging, white privilege and the dark side of gay sexuality, After Louie offers up a pervasively wicked sense of humor and a big, generous, survivor’s heart.

The cast also includes Zachary Booth, Sarita Choudhury, David Drake, Joseph Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Eric Berryman, Patrick Breen, Wilson Cruz.

Gagliostro began his professional career as an art director in the worlds of fashion and beauty, creating campaigns for a variety of major brands while working with renowned photographers.

In 1987, Gagliostro became a founding member of ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).

In the early 90’s Gagliostro started a quarterly journal titled, XXXFRUIT, which was then commissioned by the Whitney Museum for an online version. At the same time he was the creative director of QW, a New York weekly gay news magazine.

He was a contributing cinematographer for the Oscar nominated documentary, How To Survive a Plague.

“The film’s passion, insights and feeling frequently hit home. A thoughtful contemplation of what it means to be gay today.”
— Sarah Ward, SCREEN DAILY

“One of the most exciting queer films of 2017 so far.”
— Jude Dry, INDIEWIRE

“After Louie may well be the most important gay movie you will see in your lifetime.”
– John Paul King, LOS ANGELES BLADE

NYC: David Drake at the Laurie Beechman Theater in TAWNY TELL ME TRUE

Don’t miss David Drake in TAWNY TELL ME TRUE for three performances only beginning tonight at The Laurie Beechman Theatre at West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42 Street, in NYC.

Drake returns as bubbly starlet Tawny Heatherton, a lovably eccentric showbiz survivor and “one hit wonder” of the disco zeitgeist of the early 1980s — famous for her memorable international pop hit “Run Crazy Man.” Tawny brings her singular blonde-swept brand of sunny, funny optimism while singing songs and recalling stories of alien abduction, her days as a child star on “Dark Shadows,” and reuniting with her long-lost aunt Joey Heatherton at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino.

Click here for ticket info.

You can check out my recent interview with David on The Candi & Randy Show below. David shares the history and “philosophy” of Tawny, plus his recent 20th anniversary gala performance of his iconic, Obie Award-winning play, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME.

Excerpts from 20th Anniversary gala of “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me”

Excerpts from the 20th Anniversary gala performance of David Drake’s ground-breaking play The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.

The sold-out benefit performance on May 20, 2013, raised a $66,025 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Sero Project.

The re-imagined work was transformed from a one-man show into one featuring an all-star ensemble cast.

Actor and activist David Drake wrote The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me in the early 1990s. After joining the activist group ACT UP, Drake began writing autobiographical monologues about the AIDS crisis that eventually became the one-man show about this critical point in American history.

The one-night-only benefit performance featured an ensemble of talented actors, including Drake, Brandon Cordeiro, two-time Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesús, two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, Claybourne Elder, Tony nominee Rory O’Malley, Anthony Rapp, Chad Ryan, Donald C. Shorter, Jr., Wesley Taylor, Aaron Tone and Tony winner BD Wong. Tony nominee Robert La Fosse directed.

The Candi & Randy Show welcomes Tom Viola of BC/EFA

Listen to internet radio with CandiXRandy on BlogTalkRadio
Candi and Randy welcome the Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Tom Viola.

Tom has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS advocacy for decades, working with the Broadway & theatre community to raise needed funds for a multitude of charities.

In addition, Tom was one of the original producers of the Obie Award winning play “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me,” written and starring David Drake.

Among many rave reviews, the New York Times called the play “rivetingly angry, intense, frenetic, frank and touching.”

Tonight, at the Gerard Lynch Theater at John Jay College, David Drake returns to a one night only celebration of his ground-breaking play. He has rewritten the play to include an all-star cast of openly gay theatre actors including Tony Award nominees Robin De Jesús, André De Shields, Rory O’Malley, RENT’s Anthony Rapp, and Tony winner BD Wong.

We talk to Tom about the birth of the play, it’s impact on the LGBT community, it’s relevance two decades later plus other efforts by BC/EFA.

For info about the event tonight, go to BroadwayCares.org

UPDATE: The 20th anniversary performance of David Drake’s solo show raised $66,025 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Sero Project. Bravo!

David Drake on the “evolution” of Tawny Heatherton

Brandon Voss at Gay.net has a fun Q&A with the brilliant David Drake, whose fab theatrical creation “Tawny Heatherton” is appearing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC until January 26th.

Here’s just a “touch of Tawny” for you:

Tawny has a very colorful and detailed backstory. How did you fill in those gaps?
Oddly enough, Tawny’s evolution was a kind of act of grief transference: Farrah Fawcett’s death was the underlying motivation for Tawny’s personality. She was the magic angel. And she died that summer when Tawny was born. As soon as I had the blonde hair falling in my face, I could just feel all that carefree Farrah-like energy bubbling up, and I just went with it.

Joey came into the picture because I’ve always been fascinated by forgotten blonde starlets. I’m a Marilyn hag, so anything that echoed off that image — Jayne Mansfield, Carole Wayne, the Landers sisters — grabbed my interest. Tawny became my way of creating one of those Hollywood girls — the ones we loved, then forgot — and figuring out the “Whatever happened to…?” story. Being Joey’s niece, of course Tawny went into the family business: showbiz! And like Joey, Tawny has been on the tail end of all of it.

You’ve previously explored Tawny in My Tawny Valentine and A Very Tawny Christmas. What are some new stories and songs she’s sharing in Tawny, Tell Me True?
The new show is about Tawny’s becoming keen to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Along the way, she ponders whether her whole crazy, zig-zag journey has added anything to “the greater good” of mankind. This includes Tawny’s abduction by aliens… her sleepwalking jaunts on her bike… and a chicken who she believes has been following her since her brief stint as a “Honey” on the final season of Hee Haw.

There’s lots of talking with the audience in this show as well, which I love. And a very funny onstage relationship with her musical director, Lance Cruce.

Plus we’ve got some great new songs — classics by The Carpenters, Talking Heads, Eurythmics, B-52s, the Disney ballad “Somewhere Out There,” and a jaunty old country song that’s actually the flip-side to Jeanne C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.”

Head over to Gay.net for more “Tawny.”

Tawny, Tell Me True runs through Jan. 26 at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre.

NYC: “Tawny, Tell Me True” by David Drake

Tonight, January 12th, in TAWNY, TELL ME TRUE, Obie Award-winning
playwright/performer David Drake (The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me) will
bring his latest theatrical creation Tawny Heatherton back to the stage
of midtown Manhattan’s Laurie Beechman Theatre, where the legendary
starlet made a critically acclaimed debut last winter in MY TAWNY
VALENTINE.

As directed by Robert La Fosse, with musical
direction by Lance Cruce, TAWNY, TELL ME TRUE is an evening of songs and
stories where Tawny discovers the meaning of the dawning of the Age of
Aquarius. Along the way — with videos by Ned Stresen-Reuter, and
original music by Trevor Kuprel — our loveably eccentric showbiz
survivor and “one hit wonder” of the disco zeitgeist of the 1980s
recalls such indelible moments in her globe-trotting journey as her
stint as a HEE HAW Honey, her unexpected tryst in Hollywood with Burt
and Loni (as well as that unusual encounter with Joan Van Ark on the set
of KNOT’S LANDING), and Tawny’s ongoing quest to reunite with her
long-lost aunt Joey, whom she last saw in the parking lot of the Mohegan
Sun Casino. And of course, her abduction by aliens.

TAWNY,
TELL ME TRUE performs on Saturdays at 7:30pm on January 12th, 19th &
26th, 2013. The Laurie Beechman Theatre, downstairs at the West Bank
Cafe, 407 West 42nd Street (at 9th Avenue). For more info call:
212-695-6909.

Tickets are $20 and available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/495

20 Years Ago Today: “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me”

Twenty years ago today David Drake began his moving and powerful run in his Obie Award winning one man show “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.”

I had the privilege of standing by for David in the off-Broadway show Pageant the summer before, and had attended readings of “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me” during development.  But I was not prepared for the play that awaited audiences at the Perry Street Theater in NYC.

I saw the show many times, and was blown away at the passion, depth and creativity of not only the writing but David’s courageous performance.

When David ended his run in the show I auditioned and was called back to possibly “replace” – as if anyone really could…  While it wasn’t meant to be,  being called back for such an important piece of writing is a favorite theatre memory for me.

As regular readers of The Randy Report know, today David is still creating memorable characters like his current creation “Tawny Heatherton.”  Gifted, I tell you, gifted!

We can’t go back in time, but do yourself a favor and either buy the book or better – buy the DVD and treat yourself to some powerful talent.

Tawny Heatherton returns in “Tawny, Tell Me True”

Here at The Randy Report we love all things Tawny.  So I was thrilled to receive the news that Tawny will continue her acclaimed “come-back” this summer in Provincetown.

Following on the heels of her sold-out holiday show in Provincetown last Christmas, and her critically acclaimed debut at the Laurie Beechman Theater in New York City this past February, David Drake’s newest theatrical creation ‘Tawny Heatherton’ will bring her blonde-swept brand of sunny, funny cheer back to the tip of the Cape for her very first summer-long engagement – with the premiere of TAWNY, TELL ME TRUE at the Crown & Anchor in Provincetown, MA.

With onstage musical direction by John Thomas, TAWNY, TELL ME TRUE opens June 17th and performs every Sunday at 10PM thru Sept 2nd in the Crown Cabaret Room of the Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street. Tickets are $25, and can be obtained in-person at the box office, or online at www.onlyatthecrown.com. (Note: *No performance on July 8th.)

Written by and starring Obie Award winner David Drake (The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me), TAWNY, TELL ME TRUE marks the unheralded return of Tawny Heatherton, a lovably eccentric showbiz survivor and “one hit wonder” of the disco zeitgeist of the 1980s. In the show, Tawny sings and regales the audience with hilarious tales of her globetrotting life-on-the-road – including her headline-grabbing turn as the unwitting “Pyro Girl of Long Island,” her short-lived stint as a Hee-Haw “Honey,” and Tawny’s quest to reunite with her long-lost aunt Joey Heatherton, whom she last saw in the parking lot of the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino. Oh, and of course, her abduction by aliens.

Check out video highlights of Tawny and her world.

And don’t miss Tawny’s music video of her 1980s hit “Run, Crazy Man”

Obie Award-winning writer/actor David Drake’s new NY project

David Drake, star and author of the Obie Award-winning “The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me,” is developing a new show for NY.

The Tawny Heatherton Project will be David’s first step in bringing “Tawny Heatherton” to the NY stage.

You can be a part of the project for even just $5 (or more) by joining his Kickstarter fundraising project.

From the Kickstarter page: A blonde wig worn backwards brought Tawny Heatherton to life.

Long before I’d performed my solo shows THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME and SON OF DRAKULA, I’d experienced the tremendous power of drag — how, as a mask, drag could reveal unexpected truths and bring outrageous joy to audiences. I first found this out when I replaced Charles Busch in his long-running VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM in New York. Then felt it again when I created the role of Miss Deep South in the hit off-Broadway musical PAGEANT. But I’d never written a female character of my own. Until now…

Imagining a multitude of avenues for Tawny to explore — videos, the web, television, films, live performance — the first major outing of THE TAWNY HEATHERTON PROJECT will be the debut of my new stage show MY TAWNY VALENTINE, premiering in New York City at the Laurie Beechman Theater for three consecutive Fridays this winter: February 17th, 23rd and March 3rd at 8pm. (http://www.westbankcafe.com/beechman_theatre.html)

Performed as a cabaret “evening” with our headliner and an accompanist, MY TAWNY VALENTINE is being presented by the topnotch talents of SpinCycleNYC.

And so I’m asking you to help Tawny get her act together — so that she can begin sharing her sunny, funny, blonde-swept sense of wonder with each and every one of you.