DOCTOR ANONYMOUS to Run 3/29-5/4 at Zephyr Theatre
New York-based playwright/psychiatrist Guy Fredrick Glass tackles the controversial subject of gay conversion therapy in a tale of love, liberation and opera. John Henry Davis directs the world premiere of Doctor Anonymous, opening March 29 at the Zephyr Theatre.
Doctor. Anonymous is set in 1972 Philadelphia at the dawn of the nascent Gay Pride movement, and against the backdrop of two important historical events: the mayoral campaign of Frank Rizzo, the city's police chief who routinely led Saturday night "round-ups" of homosexuals, and the American Psychiatric Association's 1972 convention. Matt Crabtree (The Homosexuals at Celebration Theatre) stars as Dr. Matthew Goldstein, a psychiatrist struggling to come to grips with his own sexuality during a time when being openly gay would end his career. Barry Pearl (Broadway productions of Bye Bye Birdie, Oliver! The Producers, Lenny's Back, Baby It's You) is the straight doctor determined to "save" Matthew from himself. Kevin Held (The Deep Throat Sex Scandal at the Zephyr) plays Jake, the gay rights activist who becomes Matthew's lover, while Christopher Frontiero (An Incident at the Border at the Edgemar Center for the Arts) is John, Matthew's opera-loving best friend. Richard Sabine (A Prayer for My Daughter for Crowne City Theatre) is self-hating gay patient Dudek, and Jonathan Torres (recent graduate of the Ray Bolger Musical Theatre Program at UCLA) rounds out the cast as a young gay activist.
"It's hard for many of us to remember a time when it was not okay for two men to walk down the street holding hands or to express their feelings for one another," says Glass. "Yet it's important to remind people that there's still a faction out there who believe in the environmental aspect, that being gay is a choice."
"It's about having to pretend to be something you're not," adds Davis. "Wearing that mask day in and day out, and what that does to you inside. But it's also a passionate love story, sometimes almost operatic in style."
Although a work of fiction, Doctor Anonymous was inspired by a watershed moment in LGBT history when Dr. John E. Fryer, wearing a mask and using a voice-distorting microphone, declared himself a homosexual in front of the 1972 APA convention - leading to the decision to de-list homosexuality as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It took another 40 years for California to become the first state to ban gay conversion therapy in 2012. Today, as other states debate similar measures, and despite the support of the APA, efforts to change sexual orientation continue to be practiced in the U.S. and abroad.
Guy Fredrick Glass is a playwright who is also a psychiatrist with more than twenty years of clinical experience treating LGBT patients in New York City. His play The Last Castrato was produced at New York's Connelly Theatre. His short plays Healing and The Therapeutic Hour were published by Smith and Kraus in two anthologies. He is currently enrolled in the MFA program in playwriting at Stony Brook Southampton. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Glass maintained a gay-affirmative psychotherapy practice for more than two decades in Manhattan. He served on the executive board of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, and is affiliated with Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
John Henry Davis is a director of theater, opera, film and television. New plays and musicals he directed have premiered at Playwrights Horizons, the Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center, Dallas Theatre Center, Philadelphia Drama Guild and Baltimore Center Stage. He has worked with actors including Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Elizabeth Banks, Robert Sean Leonard and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and writers and composers such as Beth Henley, Ossie Davis and Jason Robert Brown. He directed the workshop production of Conrad Cumming's opera The Golden Gate at Rose Studio in New York as well as multiple productions of Babes in Toyland at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. In 2010, he directed The Last Castrato by Guy Fredrick Glass at the Connelly Theatre in New York City. For television and film, he directed Oz for HBO, The Sarah Jones Show for Bravo and the award-winning feature film Ordinary Sinner. He has produced and directed many documentaries including Broken Mirrors, a documentary about Jewish identity distributed by Seven Arts Releasing. He is program director of the Relational Medicine Foundation and serves on the board of the directors.
Set and lighting design for Doctor Anonymous is by Joel Daavid; sound design is by Christopher Moscatiello; costume design is by Shannon Kennedy; production stage manager is Laure Jamme; casting is by Michael Donovan; and Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners produces.
Doctor Anonymous opens on Saturday, March 29, continuing through May 4 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Two low-priced preview performances take place on Thursday, March 27 and Friday, March 28 at 8 p.m. General admission is $25; previews are $15. The Zephyr Theatre is located at 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046 (between Fairfax and La Brea). For reservations and information, call (323) 960-7724 or www.plays411.com/doctor.