Norman P. Dixon Is Becoming Norman @ NoHo Arts
written & performed by Norman P. Dixon
directed by Debra De Liso
musical director Steven Applegate
NoHo Arts Center
through September 12
Telling one's life story to an audience requires unparal-leled bravery. To admit openly that one is gay and to express the fears that go along with it - about coming out to parents, friends and the public - is an even greater act of courage, but one that becomes quite liberating, as joyously detailed by Norman P. Dixon in his one-man play about growing up Mormon, Becoming Norman, currently playing at the NoHo Arts Center. Through sharing his story, that many will relate to and say, "That's me up there!", this talented man looks ahead to a new life and encourages us to follow suit.
One tremendous help factor throughout Dixon's struggles has been the support of his parents, who, when told about his lifestyle, reaffirmed their love for him. This love has remained a part of his life to this day. Not all gay men have been so blessed.
Without giving away his entire story - you should go and hear it for yourself! - the major obstacle for him to overcome has always been fear. This is a common problem for many, reaching a level of self-acceptance that allows you to go on and conquer the next phase of achievement. After he gave his first concert in public, he closed down through fear of not being good enough. Eventually after venturing out of Utah in a move to Los Angeles, and working a myriad of jobs, including a tour guide at Universal Studios, office work, and private bookstore clerk, Dixon at long last started to believe in his abilities to sing and act and perform as himself. A graduate of Brigham Young University, he was greatly inspired from his youth by the artistry of k. d. lang - whom he later met and assisted in her charity work with Tools for Peace - and empowered by a series of workshops with Rev. James J. Mellon at NoHo Arts Center, which have helped him to become who he is - and of course, the change was all made possible by the love of his new partner of 19 months, Raul.
Dixon peppers the various bridges of discovery in his journey with original songs. He has a lovely voice and is ably accompanied by musical director Steven Applegate. Meticulous set design of Norman's life, with a wallpaper collage of photos covering childhood to the present, musical scores of shows sung in high school, college and beyond, and other personal trinkets of memorabilia is by Lacey Anzelc. Director Debra De Liso gives Dixon plenty of freedom to explore different aspects of his life with excellent pacing throughout.
This is a wonderfully warm, humorous and enriching evening of theatre for gays, straights and beautifully geared to young teenagers who are coping with their fears of coming out. In a condensed version it will be ideally suited to travel to high schools, colleges and other venues of this or any community.