On July 19, 2017

Locals shine in Vermont Pride Theater Festival

Brandon, Rochester and Bethel residents are key participants in the seventh annual Pride Theater Festival at Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, being held July 21-23 and July 28-30.

In its seventh summer season, Vermont Pride Theater will present a medical drama, a madcap comedy, and a full evening of LGBTQ playlets. With the chance to discuss these issues in post-performance talkbacks, plus the opportunity in receptions to mingle with the actors, directors, and talkback resource persons, each evening will be memorable.

Opening the festival Friday, July 21 will be the Northeast premiere of DC Cathro’s new comedy “Family Holiday.” In this fast-paced production, directed by Nancy Manney, RJ goes home to Montpelier for the holidays, hoping to have a relaxing time with his family and best friend. He arrives to find his sister newly single, his Nana on a health kick, his mother dashing in and out, and his father nervous about all of the strange behavior. Secrets are revealed and RJ is stuck in the middle of this farce for modern times. The play will also be presented Saturday, July 29.

On Saturday, July 22, the Northeast premiere of “Out of the Closet,” developed by Caroline Sposto for Emerald Theatre Company (Memphis), will be at Chandler. Directed by Kim Ward, Dvora Zipkin, and Gene Heinrich, these eight short LGBTQ plays — two previously produced in Vermont Playwrights Circle’s TenFest — are at times funny, at other times touching and serious. They explore coming out and staying in the closet, navigating societal expectations, holding onto and letting go of relationships, looking for love in the right and wrong places, and celebrating life’s moments of connection. It will also be presented Sunday, July 30.

Closing the first festival weekend Sunday, July 23 will be the Vermont premiere of Deborah Salem Smith’s prize-winning play “Love Alone,” directed by Margo Whitcomb. When a character loses her same-sex partner of 20 years during what should have been a routine surgery, her life and the life of their daughter, as well as the life of an attending physician, explode. This provocative play charts the emotional and medical aftermath of the tragedy as seen from all perspectives, in a poignant and deeply affecting drama. It will also be presented Friday, July 28.

Tickets for festival shows are $20 in advance, $22 at the door for adults; for students, $15 in advance, $17 at the door. Or buy a Pride 3-Pass, which can be used for any three tickets, for $50 for adults, $35 for students. Tickets and the Pride 3-Pass are available at chandler-arts.org or by calling 802-728-6464.

Photo courtesy of Chandler Center for the Arts

Cast members of the screwball comedy “Family Holiday” pictured, back row (l-r): Carol Ruzicka (Rochester), Gene Kraus (Bethel), and Lava Mueller (Randolph); and seated (l-r): Lennon Philo (Brandon), Andra Kisler (Northfield), and Amanda Menard (Montpelier).

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