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Borough President,
Scott M. Stringer


GAYFEST NYC ANNOUNCES NEW PLAY FESTIVAL
Featuring Appearances by RUE McCLANAHAN, DEL SHORES and CHARLES BUSCH

PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT HARVEY MILK HIGH SCHOOL

New York, NY (June 2, 2009) – The third annual GAYFEST NYC, the country’s premier festival of new gay-themed plays, will be presented June 3-6, 2009 at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, 312 West 36th Street, New York City.

The not-for-profit GAYFEST NYC, Inc. develops new LGBT works for world stages and film and television production and provides in-school elective programs and scholarships for students of Harvey Milk High School. Since June 2007, GAYFEST NYC has presented seventeen scholarships to graduating seniors. 

Producers Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman said, “Because of the unpredictable economy we decided some months ago to be fiscally prudent and to reduce the scope of this year's festival. We read over three dozen new works and have chosen to present two of them in staged readings with Actors’ Equity Association casts. We are also offering a very special event starring Del Shores, the creator of the cult-classic Sordid Lives, with a guest appearance by television icon, Rue McClanahan.”
This year’s Festival selections are Mother Tongue by F.J. Hartland and The Legacy by Adam Siegel.  Mother Tongue plays Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm and will be directed by Tony Stevens and features Nicholas Galbraith (Zac in As the World Turns), Laura Kenyon (Nine) and Kevin Spirtas (Days of Our Lives, The Boy From Oz). The Legacy will be presented on Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm and will be directed by Martin Casella and features Ian Kahn (Baltimore Center Stage, Cape Playhouse), Larry Keith (Caroline, or Change, Cabaret) and Jack Wetherall (Uncle Vic in Queer As Folk).  Both performances are free and open to the public.  Reservations are recommended. There will be talk-backs after each performance.  GAYFEST NYC Casting Director is Michael Cassara, CSA and Stage Manager is Andrea Wales.
As a special highlight of this year’s Festival, Bruce Robert Harris, Jack W. Batman and Jason Dottley (who stars as "Ty" in Sordid Lives: The Series) will present two performances of Del Shores The Storyteller featuring a special guest appearance at both shows by TV Icon Rue McClanahan. The performances are scheduled for Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm. 

Immediately following the 7:30 pm performance, the 2009 GAYFEST NYC Community Service Award will be presented to Del Shores for his commitment to the LGBT community and his exceptional generosity to the students of Harvey Milk High School. Presenting the award will be celebrated playwright and actor, Charles Busch, a member of the GAYFEST NYC Advisory Board.  Last year’s award went to Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan (Will and Grace), whose new show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet will open Off-Broadway this Fall.

“GAYFEST NYC’s mission is to develop new voices for the LGBT community and expand the reach and accessibility of both emerging and established playwrights, composers and lyricists, while providing high level entertainment to a very discerning and supportive audience,” said Jack W. Batman, co-Producer of the festival.  “At the same time, we are committed to giving back to the LGBT community through our fundraising efforts and the generosity of our sponsors, advertisers and supporters. To that end, we established a scholarship fund to benefit the Harvey Milk High School and financed a Playwriting elective program for the students.” Harvey Milk High School (HMHS) is a fully-accredited, voluntary NYC public high school focused on the educational needs of teenagers who are in crisis or at risk of physical violence and/or emotional harm in a traditional educational environment.

“GAYFEST NYC is also committed to producing plays that will have a life outside the Festival,” said Bruce Robert Harris, co-Producer of GAYFEST NYC, “plays that will represent the Festival in productions around the English-speaking world and which might also be brought to life in television and/or film presentations.”  Board members of GAYFEST NYC, Inc.  include Terrence McNally, Kate Clinton, Charles Busch, Douglas Carter Beane, Mario Cantone, William Ivey Long, Tom Viola(Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS)  and a distinguished group of Broadway producers, actors, writers, artistic and executive directors of regional theatres plus other entertainment professionals.

Current sponsors of GAYFEST NYC include HSBC Bank, Bud Light, RockStar energy drink, Andrew Christian, DG Neary Real Estate, Jamie deRoy, Theatermania.com and media sponsors including Next Magazine, Back Stage, Advocate, Where New York, IN New York magazine, HX Magazine, The New York Blade, GO! Magazine, FunMaps, Mark Nelson Events and others.  GAYFEST NYC also receives generous support from the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and other private foundations.

  1. This year’s featured plays are:

MOTHER TONGUE by F.J. HARTLAND (New York Premiere)
June 3, 2009, 7:00 pm
Directed by TONY STEVENS
Featuring Nicholas Galbraith, Laura Kenyon and Kevin Spirtas. 
A young painter finds his life turned upside down by a new lover with a mysterious past and a mother pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian.  Will he end up siding with the one who can't stop loving someone from the past--or one who can't stop hating someone from the past?

 

THE LEGACY by ADAM SIEGEL (New York Premiere)
June 4, 2009, 7:00 pm
Directed by MARTIN CASELLA
Featuring Ian Kahn, Larry Keith and Jack Wetherall
A famous children's author and illustrator has rarely seen his son since walking out on his family to live with another man more than forty years ago. The son’s appearance at his father's doorstep sets in motion a dramatic chain of events that exposes a family's betrayals and secrets as it struggles to come to terms with its past.
Winner of the 2008 New Play Festival, South Carolina’s Center Stage

Special Event:

DEL SHORES THE STORYTELLER
With Guest Appearance by RUE McCLANAHAN
June 6, 2009, 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm
Del Shores is best known for his 2001 cult classic film Sordid Lives which was adapted by Shores for the small screen and premiered on MTV/LOGO, garnering rave reviews for Shores and the all-star cast (Rue McClanahan, Olivia Newton-John, Caroline Rhea, Leslie Jordan and Beth Grant) and becoming their biggest hit to date. The series is currently syndicated internationally in over a dozen countries. Other plays by Shores include his GLAAD award-winning Southern Baptist Sissies; the Ovation and Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award-winning The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife; and the now classic Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got The Will?) for which Shores executive produced and adapted the screenplay for the 1990 MGM film.  He has also written and produced for many TV shows most notably Dharma & Greg and Queer as Folk.

All GAYFEST NYC performances will be held at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, 312 West 36th Street, New York City.
For reservations to the free readings of Mother Tongue and The Legacy call 212-868-5570. Seating is extremely limited.
For tickets to Del Shores The Storyteller call 323-654-6083.  Tickets are $35 and will benefit the Harvey Milk High School.  For more ticketing information, go to www.DelShores.net.