Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gay Marriage: Stunning -- Though Not Shocking -- Setbacks

Yesterday's decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8's ban on gay marriage is a sad, though expected, decision.

Now gay Californians have no way legally to protect themselves; they have zero legal recognition. All these couples have are California state domestic partnerships, which provide every single legal protection that marriage provides. The difference being the use of that dreaded (antiquated) "M" word.

The gay movement, seeing the Prop 8 decision as the end of the world, had rallies all around the country. These are the same type of reactionary rallies that have been staged by gay activists in the New York area over the last several months. I've expressed my view that these rallies were counterproductive and wouldn't change any hearts or minds. New polling in New York shows that I was right.

Over the last month, gay marriage support in New York has fallen 14 percent. This is a fairly stunning turnaround, with drops among independent voters, New York City voters, young voters, women and African-Americans.

Not that any of this is shocking, exactly. New York Gov. David Paterson's (D) job approval is a pathetic 18 percent. It's not helping gay marriage that Paterson has made it one of his major issues — it's actively hurting our chances at marriage equality in New York.

The gay movement needs proper focus and fresh ideas, not more rallies, if we want to keep our forward momentum.

Originally Posted on The Hill & The Huffington Post.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Casting: GAGE Part One - A New Musical

I'm directing a reading of the new musical GAGE Part One at Theatre Row Studios in June and we're casting. Details below, please submit or forward to friends who may be interested!

GAGE Part One, A New Rock Musical
Venue: Theatre Row Studios on 42nd Street
AEA Approved 29HR Reading (guidelines pending)
$100 Travel Stipend

Director: Ryan J. Davis
Book: Cameron Cole
Music: Ryan Mercy
Lyrics: Christopher Barnes
Casting: Daryl Eisenberg, CSA
Auditions (by appointment): Thursday, 5/28 from 3pm-6pm
Rehearsals: 6/06/09-6/09/09
Performances: Wednesday, June 10th

To make an Appointment:

[Ben] Tenor - Mid to late 20s, A precarious introvert who has closed himself off to reality. He is a very pained individual who goes to great length to keep people from seeing how much life has beaten him down. His only escapes come in the form of comics or his best friend/brother Noel. He is an intelligent person and a good writer who is not living up to his potential.

[Kevin] Tenor- Early to late 20s, Kevin is a very genuine person who wears his heart on his sleeve, but a lack of confidence and his shyness keep him from being an assertive person. He is sensitive, kind and giving to a fault. The actor playing Kevin also plays Noel's father.

[Zach] Baritone- Mid to late 20s, An aggressive, loud and boisterous example of classic masculinity. Noel's other friend is everything that Ben is not. The actor playing Zach also plays Ben's Dad, the 30's style Newsman, and the Bouncer with similar aplomb

[Tina] Mezzo/Alto- Mid to late 20s, Tina is a no nonsense type of person who will call you out on your shit without ever being a bitch. Assertive, confident, and smart. The actress also plays Noel's Mom with similar frankness, as well as one of the Muggers.

[Lauren] Mezzo- Early to late 20s, Lauren is a lofty and idealistic girl lost in a world of cynics. The actress also plays Ben's Mom, one of the Muggers, and Mrs. Hurdicure, who is an 30's style Upper West Side woman.

Street Lights Reading Pictures

The Street Lights reading last weekend was a huge success! We had a great turnout on both days and got lots of great, positive feedback. We'll go into the rewrite process soon learning lots from this reading.

Cassie Corrigan took some great pictures that are available in two albums, from rehearsals and performance, on Facebook. Broadway World also posted a few of their favorites.

Thanks to the wonderful cast & creative staff who helped make the reading such a success! We'll looking forward to a full production of the show in the fall, keep watching the site for more details.

Oh, and become a fan of Street Lights on Facebook! Hear the music at MySpace.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ireland Home to Extraordinary Abuse by Catholic Church

What's amazing about this story is the extraordinary scope of abuse against children the Catholic Church has been directly responsible for.
Tens of thousands of Irish children were regularly sexually and physically abused by nuns, priests and others over a period of decades in hundreds of residential institutions that housed the poor, the vulnerable and the unwanted, according to a report released in Dublin on Wednesday.

“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys,” the report said, adding that sexual abuse was “endemic” in boys’ institutions.

The 2600 page report accuses over 800 priest & nuns (anonymously) of abuse between the 1930s and 1990s. The report was delayed because the "Christian" Brothers, the order many of the accused belonged to, successful sued to keep the priest and nuns (to clarify: who raped and terrorized kids) names private.

The church has paid out more money to cover-up child abuse than Michael Jackson.

In 2002, the Catholic Church in Ireland agreed to pay $175 million to compensate victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. A separate group has paid out some $1.5 billion so far to more than 10,000 people who have claimed they were abused in state and church-run institutions.

Wikipedia lists other bribes payed by the church:

  • January 15, 2007 Diocese of Charleston Bishop Robert J. Baker agreed to pay $12 million to settle numerous cases concerning abuse by priests.

  • In December 2006 the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (its archbishop was Roger Cardinal Mahony) agreed to a payout of $60 million to settle 45 of the over 500 pending cases concerning abuse by priests.[75] In July 2007 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay a $660 million settlement to hundreds of people who claimed to have been abused by clergy.

  • In September 2003 the Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay out $85 million to 552 victims.

  • In 1997 the Diocese of Dallas negotiated a $31 million settlement with victims.

  • In June 2003 the Archdiocese of Louisville made a $25.7 million settlement involving 240 victims of sexual abuse.

  • On January 3, 2005 Bishop Tod Brown of the Diocese of Orange apologized to 87 alleged victims of sexual abuse and announced a settlement of $100 million following two years of mediation.

  • In December 2006 the Diocese of Phoenix agreed to pay $100,000 to William Cesolini, who claimed he was sexually assaulted as a teenager by a priest.

  • In Canada the Christian Brothers have paid out approximately $35 million (Canadian) in compensation.

  • In May 1994 the Diocese of Lincoln (Nebraska) agreed to pay Rob Butler, FKA Adam Butler, $40,000 after he claimed he was abused weekly for two years.
  • Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Brooklyn L.I.D. Endorsements

    Monday night Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, the largest gay political group in the borough, held an endorsement meeting for the upcoming NYC primaries. I'm new to the group's Board and wasn't sure what to expect-- but was pleasantly surprised. They had a great turnout and all the major candidates showed up.

    Endorsements included: Bill Thompson for Mayor, Bill De Blasio for Public Advocate, Charles Hynes for District Attorney, Marty Markowitz for Borough President, and Diana Reyna for City Council District 34.

    In the race for Comptroller, John Liu and David Yassky tied. There will be a runoff vote between those two on June 4th. Other races that will be considered on June 4th include: City Council Districts 33, 35, 38, 39, 46, and Civil Court judgeships.
    I voted "No Endorsement" for NYC Mayor, because I'm unimpressed with the Democratic Candidates. I also support Norman Siegel over Bill De Blasio for Public Advocate.

    Other thoughts:
    • David Yassky is a generally impressive guy who couldn't give an answer that made any sense what-so-ever on his support repealing term limits. John Liu is my choice.

    • I got the biggest laugh of the night for asking Mark Green how long it would take for him to begin his mayoral campaign after the Public Advocates race.

    • The group voted to endorse Diana Reyna, City Councilmember in Bushwick, even though she doesn't support gay marriage because she's Catholic. How that's relevant to city business remains unclear.
    Primary elections in New York City are on September 15th. For more information or to register to vote, visit the NYC Board of Elections.

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Street Lights Rehearsals & Party!

    Chad & Kevin

    This has been a busy week, putting together the industry Street Lights reading, that performs today and tomorrow. Here are some pictures from our run-through yesterday at Chelsea Studios.

    If you'd like to support the show and are free on Saturday night, we're hosting a fundraiser for our fall production at Hurley's Restaurant & Bar at 282 West 48th Street in Manhattan. It starts at 6PM and there is a $10.00 admission, with cheap drink specials and ticket raffles all night. More details on Facebook. Hope to see some of you there!

    Krystal, Kevin, Chad, & Joy

    The Company

    Krystal Brown

    Our Music Director Sonny

    Photos by Cassie Corrigan

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Craig Stevens At Mr. Broadway

    Craig and his "girlfriend" Janine came to The Broadway Beauty Pageant again this year and put together this very funny video with the contestants, Jeffery Self, Tovah Feldshuh, and near the end a special guest appearance by yours truly.

    Craig & Janine have a live performance coming up on May 31st at The Laurie Beechman Theater. Details here.

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Be Good to Mama!

    Sunday is Mother's Day and if you have as great a mom as I do, and I have a pretty great mom, you have to do something special for her!

    My friend Martin Giannini, who is also one half of the Street Lights producing team, is presenting a Mother's Day concert that benefits the LGBT Center. Lots of great performers, including Jenn Colella and Malcolm Gets. Details below, from the Playbill article. I'll be there!

    Kerry Butler, Malcolm Gets, Jenn Colella and Alan Campbell will perform as part of When You're Good to Mama at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center on May 10.

    Glen Roven created the 7:30 PM concert, which will honor the special bonds between LGBT individuals and their mothers. Adam Kensinger directs the fundraiser evening that is produced by Martin Giannini.

    Currently announced to perform are Kerry Butler (Xanadu), Alan Campbell (Sunset Boulevard), Allison Case (Hair), Jenn Colella (High Fidelity), Malcolm Gets (A New Brain), Greg Jbara (Billy Elliot), Mark Kudish (9 to 5), Andrew Samonsky (South Pacific), Paige Davis ("Trading Spaces"), Mathew Schecter (Waiting For Godot), Glenn Seven Allen (The Light in the Piazza), Taylor Sternberg (Jersey Boys), Rachel Cobb (La Boheme), Ansel Elgort, Noah Galvin, Matthew Garrett, Benjamin Perry and the male ensemble of South Pacific.

    For tickets, priced $25, visit GayCenter. The Center is located at 208 West 13th Street in Manhattan.

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    National Day To Ask God For Favors

    Today is The National Day of Prayer, a day that celebrates the power of asking god to do favors for you and your friends and family.

    In reality, prayer doesn't do anything.
    Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.

    And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.

    In the study, the researchers monitored 1,802 patients at six hospitals who received coronary bypass surgery, in which doctors reroute circulation around a clogged vein or artery.

    The patients were broken into three groups. Two were prayed for; the third was not. Half the patients who received the prayers were told that they were being prayed for; half were told that they might or might not receive prayers.

    Analyzing complications in the 30 days after the operations, the researchers found no differences between those patients who were prayed for and those who were not.

    In another of the study's findings, a significantly higher number of the patients who knew that they were being prayed for — 59 percent — suffered complications, compared with 51 percent of those who were uncertain.

    The study also found that more patients in the uninformed prayer group — 18 percent — suffered major complications, like heart attack or stroke, compared with 13 percent in the group that did not receive prayers.

    At least one earlier study found lower complication rates in patients who received intercessory prayers; others found no difference. A 1997 study at the University of New Mexico, involving 40 alcoholics in rehabilitation, found that the men and women who knew they were being prayed for actually fared worse.

    The most amusing finding is that people who were prayed for tended to do worse than people not prayed for at all.

    Read the whole article at the The New York Times.

    Upcoming Street Lights Reading!

    From Broadway World:

    Street Lights, a new hip-hop/R&B musical by Joe Drymala, will receive an industry-only reading on May 15th at 6PM and May 16th at 12PM, at Manhattan Theatre Club Studios. Ryan J. Davis directs and Martin Giannini & Brett Levenson produce. More info on the reading, please e-mail

    Street Lights is a story about inner city teenagers who dare to fight City Hall. With their high school music program hanging in the balance, they fight social injustice, bureaucratic apathy and the scourge of drugs and violence in their neighborhood. A new generation finds it's voice, learning how powerful they can be when coming together in common purpose. With a truly contemporary pop and hip-hop score, Street Lights is a new kind of musical about hope, ambition, anger, injustice, love, and the promise of a new generation.

    The cast includes Broadway vets Wilson Mendieta (Bombay Dreams, Man of La Mancha), Heath Calvert (Good Vibrations), Todd Pettiford (RENT, The Lion King), Joy Lynn Matthews (The Music Man), who join Lacretta Ross, James Alexander, Desiree Rodriquez, Chad Carstarphen, Kevin Curtis, and Krystal Brown.

    The public is invited to Street Light's launch party on Saturday, May 16th, 6PM at Hurley's Restaurant (232 W. 48th St). Live entertainment and a raffle that includes tickets to The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The York Theater's Musicals in Mufti Series, and more to be announced at the event.

    Street Lights is the second major collaboration for Davis & Drymala. Their first, White Noise, was recently announced by Sibling Entertainment to open on Broadway in Fall 2009. White Noise, which Davis conceived & directed and Drymala wrote, premiered three years ago in a sold-out run at The New York Musical Theatre Festival, received strong reviews and was featured on Good Morning America & ABC Primetime Live.

    Creative credits: Book, Music, & Lyrics by Joe Drymala, Directed by Ryan J. Davis, Produced by Martin Giannini and Brett Levenson, Music Director Sonny Paladino, & Casting by Daryl Eisenberg.

    Broadway Beauty Pageant on LXTV

    Really fun HQ video report from Matt Maggiacomo at LXTV, live from The Broadway Beauty Pageant.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    It's Fine for Obama to Remain Silent on Gay Marriage

    Queerty points out that Obama hasn't said anything about any of the recent gay marriage victories. Why should he? He thinks it's best left-up to the states and the states are deciding. Gibbs said that as plainly as he could today at the White House, "I think the President believes this is an issue that's best addressed by the states." Obama continues to support Civil Unions.

    Obama is focused on major issues like the economy, the environment, and reforming health care. Just because he hasn't addressed Don't Ask, Don't Tell or DOMA doesn't mean he hasn't done anything for the gay community. Gay people live in the environment and are part of the economy. Some don't even have health insurance! Don't be dismayed Mr. President, some of us understand that you have to prioritize. You've already started helping the gay community, even if some of us don't get it.

    The GOP and Gay Marriage: Let's Get it Straight

    Maine leaped to the right side of history today with the passage of a gay-marriage bill through legislative channels. I'm impressed with the momentum of the LGBT movement post-Iowa, and it looks likely that advocates will reach their goal of marriage equality throughout New England by 2012.

    What's overblown is all this talk, from Meghan McCain to Jon Huntsman, of the Republican Party "embracing" gay marriage. Not taken into account is what is sure to be a brutal 2012 primary decided largely by Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In a recent poll, only 3 percent of Iowa Republicans found candidates who favored gay marriage appealing. And does anyone seriously think Huntsman has a shot at the GOP nomination? Republican primary voters in early 2012 states are too conservative for him, and he's the governor of Utah!

    More likely than the GOP endorsing gay marriage is that 2012 candidates will be racing to support "traditional families" the most. (Huckabee may get super-duper-married, instead of just super-married.) It's gonna get really ugly, further regionalizing the party and peeling away young voters.

    Lead by the Huckabees, Palins and Gingriches of the party, opposing gay marriage will be a cornerstone of the 2012 Republican candidates. We haven't heard the worst yet.

    Originally posted on The Hill's Pundit Blog.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Odds & Ends

    It's been a really busy week. We cast the upcoming reading of Street Lights and are gearing up for rehearsals, which start on May 11th. Here are a few odds & ends for a rainy Friday evening.

  • If you're looking for a show this weekend, check out the closing weekend of Prospect Theater Company's Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, by Peter Mills. It's a new country/bluegrass musical that tells the story of The Playboy of the Western World. Prospect's productions are top-notch and this was no exception. We saw it earlier this month and really enjoyed it.

  • I'm on The Board of Directors of The Deconstructive Theatre Project, a company founded by my good friend & roommate Adam J. Thompson. Last year we co-directed a trendy benefit performance of the French-Canadian play Lilies for the company and we're planning another fundraiser this year.

    Adam is developing a new project about the "changing American scientific and cultural landscape during the development of the atomic bomb." Should be pretty cool. Check out their April Newsletter for all the latest and join them on Facebook.

  • From my friend Mark:
    Salon Ziba is proud to announce a very special event on Thursday, May 7th to support support the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporate Team for Team In Training. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program is the nation's largest and most successful endurance training program, preparing athletes of every level to run or walk a 26.2 mile marathon or 13.1 mile half-marathon; cycle a 100 mile century bike ride; or participate in a triathlon, while raising funds for blood cancer research. The night of the event will include exclusive hair and spa treatments will be available at a discounted rate and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
    See their flyer for details.