Art enthusiasts mingled over food and cocktails in Midtown on March 8 while Out Front Theatre Company announced its upcoming season.
A local nonprofit dedicated to the production of narratives by and for LGBT individuals, Out Front Theatre Company invited supporters and donors to celebrate a successful season, which included “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and an early production of “A Kid Like Jake.”
The company’s “2017-2018 Season Announcement Party” had attendees waiting in anticipation for a new show lineup, ticket prices and season schedule.
Assistant Artistic Director Jacob Demlow kicked off the event by raising a glass and lending a heartfelt “thank you” to the company actors, supporters and donors for a fruitful debut season. Demlow announced that the company is holding a theater camp program for children June 5-16, where they hope to provide an inclusive space for kids to explore the arts and their own identities.
“We really want to give young kids an opportunity to be themselves,” he said.
Demlow also told the audience about the company’s “Have a Seat” fundraising program, giving donors the opportunity to purchase seats in their Midtown theater as an act of financial support.
Paul Conroy, company founder and lead artistic director, unveiled the company’s lineup, headlining the season with the famously raucous rock musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” opening Oct. 19 and closing Nov. 5 of this year. The rest of the lineup, which will run through 2018, includes:
- Bathsheba Doran’s “The Mystery of Love and Sex” from Feb. 1-18.
- Jonathan Tolins’ playful comedy “Buyer and Cellar” March 8-25.
- Del Shores’ intimately dark “Sordid Lives” May 3-20.
According to Conroy, the company settled deliberately on a lineup that would reach broad audiences and express a variety of genres found in the modern theater.
“This is the work of over four months,” he said. “We have a musical. We have a comedy. We have a drama. We have something that is a premier that people aren’t going to know.”
Conroy insisted that the company was immensely proud to present a season lineup that they felt spoke to LGBT communities and adhered closely to their mission statement.
“Other theaters will pick a show that’s a very worthy show, but it may not fit into their mission,” Conroy said. “I want our mission to be as clear as possible that we are always going to tell these stories, even if it’s not a story that’s easy to stomach.”
Both Demlow and Conroy told The Sentinel that the company wants to provide a space for young individuals to work in theater, citing past workshops for college and high school students. Demlow also expressed interest in expanding Out Front Theatre Company’s relationship with KSU after working with the university’s chair of the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, who holds a position on the company’s advisory board. According to Conroy, giving college students a safe place to express themselves while they learn is an important part of the experience. By fostering a relationship with KSU, the company hopes to be an outlet for students to navigate and explore their identities.
“We want everyone to know that who they are is right, and normal, and validated,” Conroy said. “If they feel that they can’t fully be themselves, then maybe they can come and be a little more themselves with us.”
Those wishing to attend a show before the second season launches will have a chance to catch Out Front Theatre Company’s production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” — an inventive re-imagining of the biblical Genesis story with an LGBT twist — from April 7 through May 14. Tickets are available for purchase online at the company’s website. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors and $15 for children under 13 years old. Season tickets will also be available for purchase soon.