Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Disgraceful Mr. Dobbs

Pressure is building for CNN to do something about their resident conspiracy-theorist-in-chief Lou Dobbs. His nightly "reporting" on Obama's birth certificate drew fire today from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which called on CNN to take Dobbs off the air for "fanning the flames of racism." None of this should be surprising; for years, Dobbs has used his program to spread misinformation and paranoia.

In 2006, Dobbs ran several segments on the Amero, an imaginary currency that he believes will be shared by North America and replace the U.S. dollar. That same year he called for a new Sept. 11 investigation, vaguely citing the many "9/11 lies" told to Americans. Another favorite myth Dobbs reported on in 2008 is the NAFTA Superhighway, which (according to Lou's reporting) would extend from Mexico to Canada. None of these stories had a factual basis, and CNN repeatedly failed to exercise any editorial judgment.

Lou Dobbs has even appeared as a guest on leading Sept. 11 Truther and "Birther" Alex Jones's radio program and was sympathetic to Alex's rants. Knowing Lou, he probably believes the pressure to fire him is coming from the Illuminati and the New World Order. CNN needs to move quickly and remove Dobbs from their lineup to prevent further embarrassment. It's been a long time coming.

Originally posted on The Hill's Pundit Blog. Crossposted on The Huffington Post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OnStage - Ruined, The Temperamentals, and Jeffery & Cole: Make It Bigger

The New York City stage is packed this summer and the three Off-Broadway productions I'm recommending, Ruined, The Temperamentals, and Jeffery & Cole: Make It Bigger, all represent the wonderful diversity of offerings currently available to theatergoers.

Ruined, which won the Pulitzer Prize this year, is the story of Mama Nadi, a women who owns a brothel in the middle of a civil war in the Congo. Loosely inspired by Brecht's Mother Courage, Ruined offers us a glimpse into the lives of these women as they struggle to survive. It's one powerful story.

The script feels authentic and was carefully researched and developed by interviewing women who live in the region under these deplorable conditions. The production has been running for months at Manhattan Theatre Club, but is still fresh, vital, and beautifully performed.

I'd be shocked if Ruined doesn't get a shot at Broadway soon.

Playing until August 23rd, The Temperamentals is the true story of the creation of American's first gay rights group. Staged both simply & beautifully in the intimate Barrow Group Theater, you feel as if you're a part of their early organizing - both victories & defeats. The entire cast is fabulous; lead with strength by Thomas Jay Ryan and Ugly Betty's Michael Urie.

Harry Hay, the founder of The Temperamentals, wasn't as known to me as Stonewall or Harvey Milk, but he's courageous and intelligent. Anyone currently involved in the fight for gay equality (and who believe it has to do with way more than marriage) will find lots to like in Hay's philosophies. He's no fan of total gay assimilation, and would question the value in the current pursuit of a strictly heteronormative agenda.

In fact, shortly before his death (at the age of 90) in 2002 Hay said, "The assimilationist movement is running us into the ground." Amen brother.

For big laughs, with zero assimilation, head downtown to Earl Dax's Hot! Festival. Queer performers have taken over the uber-trendy Dixon Place. Two of those performers are my good friends Jeffery Self and Cole Escola, extremely funny guys who have scored quite a hit with their current Logo TV show Jeffery & Cole Casserole.

Jeffery & Cole's Hot! Festival offering, 'Make It Bigger,' is loosely based on their story, from YouTube to the boob tube. Wonderfully raunchy and politically incorrect their rise to fame story has lots of familiar elements and big laughs. You can see their final performance on Thursday night.

Ryan is a freelance theater director, who is currently directing Vote! at FringeNYC and Street Lights at NYMF. His musical White Noise recently premiered regionally in New Orleans. Read his blog here.

Published on The Huffington Post.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer of Theatre '09

July has been a very busy month for me! I've been lax on blogging, but I'm always updating my Twitter feed.

Over the weekend of July 17th, I had a great run at the 10th Annual Midtown International Theater Festival with my friend writer/actor Michael Hirstreet's short-solo play My Broken Brain. He got a great audience response and is looking into other venues to continue developing the script.

The show I created in 2006, White Noise, received it's first regional production in New Orleans this month. It was a huge production, with a $2.2 million dollar budget, and was well-received by the local critics. Their main paper, The Times-Picayune, called it "Powerful." The production closed yesterday and they'd still like to open it on Broadway.

Most of the drama in New Orleans was off-stage. As reported by Michael Riedel in the New York Post, White Noise's "co-director" and producer has issues.
Mitchell Maxwell, another flop king, is causing such strife that he's been banned from his own show, the Broadway-bound musical "White Noise." The volatile producer verbally abused his creative team, frightened his actors and threw such a temper tantrum in the lobby of the Omni Hotel that terrified guests called the police, several production sources told The Post. "I have never experienced anything this crazy in my life," one member of the creative team says. "He is not a stable man."
Don't miss any of the details, it's crazy. The stuff they couldn't print will probably make it into a screenplay of mine someday.

I've been in rehearsals for the musical comedy Vote! at FringeNYC. It's going REALLY well. As I've mentioned before, we have an incredible cast.

I took this picture yesterday on my iPhone at a music brush-up.

Tickets just went on-sale. They are just $15. That's the best deal in New York. Buy yours now, we open on August 14th and they are selling fast.

We're in pre-production for Street Lights, which was invited to the New York Musical Theatre Festival this year. White Noise got it's start at NYMF and we're excited to return to the festival. We open on October 14th, more details soon.

I'll try to keep up with the blog more. Hope to see you all at Vote!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First Vote! FringeNYC Casting Announced

I spent some of last week at Ripley Grier Studios casting the FringeNYC production of Vote! It was a fun process and our casting director Daryl Eisenberg did a first-rate job. The first two days we saw over 200 people. The third day were callbacks and a dance call lead by Rachelle Rak, our choreographer.

The creative team got together on Monday night and we made decisions. I'm excited about the cast, a bunch of crazy talented people.

We're going to announce the full cast next week, but Broadway World has the preliminaries.
VOTE! The new ‘cartoon' musical about high school election espionage premiers as part of the 13th annual New York International Fringe Festival- FringeNYC - starring Deidre Goodwin and Morgan Karr.
Vote! will play the historic Minetta Lane Theatre, a 400 seat Off-Broadway house. This will be the first production in New York City. A workshop production of Vote! was recently staged with students from the University of Indiana in Bloomington.

Ryann Ferguson and Steven Jamail's award winning partnership began 8 years ago at Rice University. Together, they have collaborated on numerous projects including 2005 Fringe Festival show, Byzantium and the Harper's Guild Award winning aria, "Lotus Song." The two have joined forces again with their long-time director, Ryan J. Davis (Street Lights - NYMF '09 & White Noise), a noted political pundit with The Hill and The Huffington Post.

Joining the team for FringeNYC is choreographer, Rachelle Rak, a veteran Broadway performer and recently of Every Little Step film fame. Other new additions are lighting designer Brian Tovar (Perez Hilton Saves the Universe) and Hilary Noxon (In The Heights) as set designer.

Previous cast members, Krystal Joy Brown (RENT National Tour), Landon Beard (Altar Boyz), and Tracy Weiler, continue on with the project. The full twenty-person cast will be announced soon.
Not officially announced, but on the website: Kevin Michael Murphy (Craig Stevens!) and Nina Sturtz (The Battery's Down). Check out the full article. Also, visit Vote's new website. I'm excited to start rehearsal, stay tuned for the full cast.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We're surrounded by GDINOs!

An e-mail circulating among NYC gay politicos of a poorly photoshopped wanted poster, attacks the many gay New Yorkers who recently endorsed the reelection of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The image contains some familiar faces including Corey Johnson, Brian Ellner, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Co-founders of Friends of the Highline: Robert Hammond and Josh David, Kelli Conlin, former Clinton aide Richard Socarides, and me. We're all GDINOs, Gay Democrats In Name Only, and wanted for treason against the LGBT Community for supporting Michael "Leviticus" Bloomberg.

We're lucky that the anonymous author, obviously ashamed of their design skills, is only going after gay Democrats. I'd hate to have both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama wanted for treason, after having said favorable things about Bloomberg in public. New York's openly-gay City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has, so far, refused to endorse a Democratic Candidate for Mayor. However, she did appear on stage with Bloomberg at last week's Gracie Mansion Gay Pride Celebration, a wonderfully fun and well attended BBQ. There sure are a lot of GDINOs.

A recent poll, showing the Mayor up 22% against the presumptive Democratic opponent, also had him leading with Democrats by 9%. Bloomberg is just 2 points shy of being the choice of a majority of New York City Democrats. Only 40%, the loyal Democrats, are voting for the party's choice.

It will be interesting to see in November just how many real, loyal, non-treasonous, Democrats will show up to vote for whoever that guy is running against Bloomberg.

Crossposted on The Huffington Post.