Actor Aaron Swenson on creating LGBTQ work with Plan-B

Aaron Swenson has performed in Plan-B’s  SLAM, AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON, the Script-In-Hand Series reading of 8 and, most notably, as the Hedwig in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH in 2003, 2005 and 2012.  He shares his thoughts on spending a decade as Hedwig as part of Give OUT Day. I was born on the other side of a town ripped in two And no matter how hard I’ve tried I end up black and blue I rose from off of the doctor’s slab I lost a piece of my heart Now everyone gets to take a stab They cut me up into parts In 1984 I was a precocious half-Asian midget growing up in Anchorage, Alaska. I knew I was smart and special because everyone kept telling me that I was smart and special. I had these wonderful toys—my mind, my singing voice, all the books I could read—and all I wanted was to sing and perform and tell everyone about the incredible things that I was learning and learning to be. I was loud and I was proud. Due to a quirk of the accelerated learning program I was funneled into, I was also one of the only boys in my elementary school class from first to sixth grade. This was a shame, because I liked boys almost as much as I liked books. I didn’t attach any particular significance to this until the day that all the girls in my first grade class decided to spend an entire recess period chasing Josh (last name redacted in this age of Facebook and the interwebs) around the...

Actor Kirt Bateman on creating LGBTQ work with Plan-B

Kirt Bateman has appeared in Plan-B’s A PERFECT GANESH, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, ANIMAL FARM, EXPOSED, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, DI ESPERIENZA, AMERIGO, BORDERLANDS, LADY MACBETH, NOTHING PERSONAL and CLEARING BOMBS; as well as the Script-In-Hand Series readings of THE NORMAL HEART and 8. He also acted in or directed for every SLAM,  directed TRAGEDY: A TRAGEDY and is married to Producing Director Jerry Rapier, with whom he has a son, Oscar.  He shares his thoughts on Plan-B’s LGBTQ work as part of Give OUT Day. Chances are if you are a Gen-X baby, as I am, that just happens to be a member of the LGBTQ community, you rarely saw anything in film or television – or certainly on stage in Utah – to give you an idea of what being gay meant or could mean, or (maybe just as importantly) didn’t mean. I was born in the mid-70s.  My formative years were in the 80s during the plague that wiped out a generation of light (I use that word on purpose).  I was in high school and college in the early 90s when, fortunately, we started to see ourselves portrayed, but in cities that might as well have been Siberia to a little farm boy from West Jordan. What must it be like to be a millennial or a kid today with gay people as part of your every-day-boring-routine world?  Gay affection without dudes screaming.  And lead characters on stage and TV and in film, living normal, successful, difficult, promising, disappointing, exciting, boring lives.  Just living.  Life.  I envy young LGBTQ people today in many ways....

Former board chair Mike Thompson on Plan-B's LGBTQ Work

Mike Thompson was Plan-B’s board chair from 2007-2009 while he was Executive Director of Equality Utah.  The former President of GLAAD, he begins his tenure as Executive Director of The LGBT Pride Center of the Desert in Palm Springs later this month.  He shares his thoughts on Plan-B’s LGBTQ work as part of Give OUT Day. As one who has spent much of his career advocating on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, I understand the power of the words and images we hear and see around us. In my experience, few arts organizations have been as influential in changing hearts and minds as Plan-B Theatre Company.  Calling Salt Lake City home, few could argue the conservative influences in the culture, which is also home to the Mormon Church. Through its performance of productions such as Facing East, Plan-B places, center-stage, the harsh reality of the bias that exists within our communities…and the powerful and often dark-side of intolerance. When confronted with such realities, one can’t help but to stop and...

Patrons Greg Hatch & Terry Kogan on Plan-B's LGBTQ Work

Greg Hatch & Terry Kogan share their thoughts on being longtime Plan-B subscribers and donors as part of Give OUT Day. For unmarried gay couples, determining an anniversary can be a challenge. Do you celebrate your first date? When you moved in together? For us, it’s the night we saw Plan-B Theatre Company’s first production of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and hosted a cast party in our home. Eleven years later, Plan-B continues to be an important part of our lives. As two gay men in a loving relationship, we find few theatrical works that reflect our world. Plan-B dares to commission, develop, and produce plays that express the rich diversity of the LGBT community. And it does so in Utah, where the political and cultural environment is frequently hostile to LGBT issues. This Utah perspective has fueled many of Plan-B’s recent productions: a Mormon housewife with a gay husband; a former Mormon housewife sharing his story about transitioning into a transgender man; two young men whose friendship is strained when one goes on an LDS mission while the other comes out as gay; a two-spirit American Indian who serves as a guide to anthropologists studying the Zuni culture. The list goes on-and-on. Other Utah theatre companies occasionally produce plays with LGBT storylines. Only Plan-B nurtures world-premiere productions that speak directly to the hearts of LGBT Utahns and our allies. We hope you will join us as annual subscribers and financial supporters, so Plan-B Theatre Company can continue to document and celebrate our...

Actor/Director Jason Bowcutt on creating LGBTQ work with Plan-B

Jason Bowcutt has appeared in Plan-B’s THE END OF THE HORIZON and the Script-In-Hand Series readings of 8 and GHOSTS. He also directed ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMTPY SEA and will direct MARRY CHRISTMAS as part of the 2014/15 Season.  He shares his thoughts on Plan-B’s LGBTQ work as part of Give OUT Day. When I moved back to Salt Lake City from New York I had some big concerns. I knew it was the right move at the right time but…where would I find a good slice at any time? How could I leave the comfort of this super liberal society? Who would engage in conversation with me and say things like “Yes! Absolutely! Everyone has the right to healthcare! Homos should marry!?” How would I develop new friendships? How would I break into the theatre scene? And where would I find some good gay art!? As luck would have it one of the first people to randomly reach out to me was Jerry Rapier and, except for the pizza, he quickly got me on the path to resolve all of my Utah fears. From our first conversation I knew Jerry and Plan-B were something special in Utah and in theatre. I had been spending most of my time in the grubby, wonderful world of Off-Off-Broadway where innovation flourished. OOB was the birthplace of theatre that explored LGBTQ issues; I understood well the political and societal impact that this genre had in helping to shape the world in which this gay boy lived. Theatre that displayed my experience, which gave voice to my joys and fears —personal...

Actor David Spencer on creating LGBTQ work with Plan-B

David Spencer has appeared in Plan-B’s THE TRICKY PART, for which he won the Best Actor Fabby Award from QSaltLake and the Best Theatre Performance Arty Award from City Weekly.  He shares his thoughts on Plan-B’s LGBTQ work as part of Give OUT Day. In early 2008, Jerry Rapier game me a copy of Marty Moran’s script, THE TRICKY PART.  It was a solo piece that Marty usually performed himself in which he told of his childhood experience growing up Catholic in Denver, Colorado, and of his subsequent sexual abuse by a member of his religious community. As I read the script, Marty’s story unfolded in a steady and haunting series of revelations that I resonated with on a deeply personal level – his story mirrored my own in so many ways.  But I also felt that his script was compelling, dramatic, and infinitely playable and somehow I knew that not only could I tell this story as scripted, but that I wanted to take on Marty’s play and share his story with people in my community. Jerry and Plan-B are the only theatre organization in Utah that I can fathom being willing to take on the subject of sexual abuse and the intimations and confusions that it creates in resolving one’s sexual orientation.  Clearly, while the author and myself both happen to be gay, and the play was presented as being of “gay interest,” the issues of sexual orientation were peripheral to the main message of the play:  the life-long damage created by childhood sexual abuse; an abuse that makes no distinction for gender or sexual orientation. Our...

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