The five-week event, produced by Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, presents professional Off-Broadway productions of new works by Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) authors or spotlighting gay issues. Five fully-staged professional productions featuring Actors’ Equity Association casts, talk-backs with the authors of the Festival plays, appearances by members of the LGBT community, in addition to other events.
This year’s Main Stage selections, from submissions worldwide, are Edward the King by David Brendan Hopes, directed by Sidney J. Burgoyne, Spill the Wine by Brian Dykstra, directed by Margarett Perry and Jumping Blind by Philip Gerson, director TBA. Two additional plays will be produced in the Studio Theatre: The Wrath of Aphrodite by Tim O’Leary, directed by Martin Casella and Steve Hayes’ Hollywood Reunion, written by and starring Steve Hayes.
A GayFest press release included the following plot summaries for the 2008 GayFest selection:
EDWARD THE KING by David Brendan Hopes (World Premiere) – May 14-24
Beset by the duties of his birth and dominated by a heroic father, Edward looks forward to a life of apparent conformity and desperate subterfuge, until he meets Piers Gaveston in a dirty alley. It is love and rebellion at first sight. From then on, Edward steers a perilous course between desire and safety, which does not entirely end even when he becomes king, and faces not only the usual enemies of unconventional love, but his queen and her lover as well. Edward the King neatly straddles the fourteenth and twenty-first centuries, which manage to appear almost equally violent and inhospitable to love.
David Brendan Hopes is Professor of Literature and Language at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and director of Black Swan Theater.
SPILL THE WINE by Brian Dykstra (World Premiere) – May 27- June 1
The compelling story of a woman forced to confront her own identity. After being diagnosed with a fatal disease, Emma makes a decision to spare her husband the pain of watching her die. She leaves him and, to her surprise, discovers that she is attracted to a woman, then faces the possibility that perhaps she left her marriage less to spare her husband, than to make the discovery about her own sexuality.
Brian Dykstra has been seen on stage and screen throughout the US and UK. His play, Clean Alternatives, won the coveted Fringe First Award at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
JUMPING BLIND by Philip Gerson (World Premiere) – June 4-14
What if you had to choose between country and love? During World War II, an English resistance fighter and a wounded German soldier fall in love in occupied France. During the final fight of the resistance, they are drawn into a furtive, passionate affair and on the eve of D-Day both are forced to make choices that will haunt them the rest of their lives. Jumping Blind is inspired by a true story of unique heroism, sacrifice and lifelong love.
Philip Gerson writes for theatre, television and film. His work for theatre includes the play Night (NY International Fringe Festival 2007); the book for the musical, The Last Metro, based on Francois Truffaut’s film.
THE WRATH OF APHRODITE (World Premiere) – May 23-25, May 30-June 1
Sex, love, jealousy, betrayal and violence pave the way for the final showdown in this radical re-imaging of the Greek tragedy. A handsome prince and his gang of friends have pledged celibacy but their devotion to chastity becomes much more difficult when the young prince realizes that his best friend is in love with him. Then things really get out of hand when his stepmother falls under the spell of Aphrodite and grows mad with lust towards him. Which love will survive the wrath of Aphrodite?
Tim O’Leary grew up in New Jersey, and started acting at the age of 11 in the children’s chorus of a Paper Mill Playhouse production of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
STEVE HAYES’ HOLLYWOOD REUNION (World Premiere) – June 6-8, 13-15
An autobiographical comedy about the author's Christmas visit to Hollywood to cheer up an old friend. Obsessed with old movies all his life, Steve convinces his friend to forsake a traditional Christmas celebration for what he calls a "Hollywood Babylon Homosexual Holiday." In the hope of connecting to a world that his fantasies have thrived on, he drags his friend to an assortment of landmarks, cemeteries and meetings with some living legends who were part of Hollywood's “Golden Age.” In doing so, he comes to realize the role that the world of the movies has played in shaping his life as a gay man, not only in terms of what it has given him, but what it may have cost him as well.
Steve Hayes is an actor, comedian and playwright who has performed in one-man, two-person and musical comedies throughout the country. He was the recipient of the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival Award as Outstanding Actor for his role in The Penguin Tango by Stephen Svoboda. Steve Hayes has taught comedy at The University of Miami, The Actor's Conservatory Of Manhattan, Helen Baldassare's Cabaret Symposium in New York and at The Cabaret Conservatory at Yale University.
Profits of GAYFEST NYC's fundraising efforts are used to provide scholarships and after school programs for students of Harvey Milk High School in New York City. Founded in 1985 in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, Harvey Milk High School is a fully-accredited, inclusive, voluntary public high school focusing on the educational needs of children who are in crisis or at risk of physical violence and/or emotional harm.
GAYFEST NYC 2008 Web Site/Tickets