Gay Men's Chorus of LA Brings IT GETS BETTER to Utah
'it gets better' Stage Production From Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) Boldly Reaches Out To Utah Youth With October 11th Engagement Week-long local community dialogues and school outreach in Ogden begin Oct. 7
As part of a changing tide across the U.S. towards tolerance and acceptance of LGBT people, Utah-based Weber State University's Office of Cultural Affairs will welcome the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) to Peery's Egyptian Theater (2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, UT 84401) on October 11, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. for a special production of it gets better, a co-production of Speak Theater Arts and the It Gets Better Project, along with a weeklong itinerary of University and community-wide outreach events that are focused on ending bullying and encouraging a conversation about LGBT rights and the climate for LGBT individuals in the community.
The it gets better production is a performing arts response to the difficult issue of bullying, one of the most challenging issues among today's young adults and adolescents. From October 7th through October 11th, Utah will become a place of thoughtful discourse and learning when the company artists will visit schools and facilitate community dialogue toward reducing bullying and helping to ensure that all young people grow up in a safe, supportive climate.
"We're looking forward to this performance to have a broader community dialogue," said Diane Stern, Director, Weber State University Cultural Affairs.
While the Mormon church arguably took the lead in winning Proposition 8, a voter-approved ballot initiative to overturn same-sex marriage in California, some church leaders have recently opened themselves up to conversation with leaders of the LGBT rights movement, and the Mormon church's very own website now reflects verbiage that states homosexuality is not a choice.
"I grew up in Utah and it's quite heartening to see that there is an openness to this sensitive subject matter there," said Liesel Reinhart, Writer/Director of it gets better. "I believe that all people share an interest in keeping young people safe and happy. Our conversations will be anchored by this common belief."
Community collaborators on the project in Ogden include OUTreach Ogden, Ogden PFLAG, Mormons Building Bridges, Nurture the Creative Mind Foundation, the Weber State Center for Diversity and Unity and others. Support for the project has come from Weber County RAMP, The Bastian Foundation, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, the Community Foundation of Utah and the Browning Cultural Trust.
The It Gets Better Project was founded in September, 2010, when the first It Gets Better video was uploaded to YouTube, igniting a worldwide phenomenon. That video offered a desperately needed message of hope to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. It urged them to tough it out through the bullying and other challenges that confronted them in their teenage years, and described the positive future they could experience as adults. It told them that no matter how difficult things may be today, "it gets better." The team at the It Gets Better Project is thrilled to collaborate yet again with the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles in bringing the It Gets Better message to the stage. The 2013/2014 season is presented by AT&T, with the official airline sponsor, Southwest Airlines.
it gets better brings a week-long outreach program of visibility that explores what 'better' actually means for LGBT youth, educators and local communities. Other cities involved with the tour include: Austin, Texas; Whitewater, WI; Oxford, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Lincoln, NE, and Houston, TX.
For tickets to the October 11, 2013 7:30 p.m. production of it gets better, please call 801.626.8500 or visit the Egyptian Box Office at weberstatetickets.com. To learn more about the community workshops, please visit Weber State University's Office of Cultural Affairs at wsuculturalaffairs.org.
To learn more about it gets better or to view the touring schedule, please visit www.itgetsbettertour.org.
About Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA)
Now in its 35th Season, Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles has built an international reputation for musical excellence while remaining deeply rooted in service to the community. Hailed as "one of the last important links to a glorious tradition in music," GMCLA has over 200 singing members, a full-time professional and artistic staff, and tours internationally. They have released 13 albums, commissioned over 300 new works and arrangements and appear frequently on national TV, including an appearance on last year's Academy Awards. Chorus members donate over 60,000 volunteer hours annually to make their mission of musical excellence and community partnership a reality. They have performed for 2 sitting US Presidents, sung with award winning guests such as Stephen Schwartz, Melissa Manchester, LeAnn Rimes, Jerry Herman and Jennifer Holliday in venues from the House of Blues to Walt Disney Concert Hall. GMCLA's Alive Music Project (AMP) brings music education and anti-bullying workshops to Los Angeles schools; their youth chorus, Outside Voices, is a safe space for youth 14 & up to express themselves musically and gain valuable performance experience in GMCLA productions. GMCLA's original musical, it gets better (a partnership with the It Gets Better Project) tours the US, giving hope and support to LGBT youth and furthering their mission to change hearts and minds through the power of music. www.gmcla.org
About the It Gets Better Project
The It Gets Better Project began in September, 2010, when syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner, Terry Miller, in response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school. Two years later, the It Gets Better Project is a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 60 million times. People representing all ages, races, religions, nationalities, gender identities and sexual orientations have shared their 'it gets better' stories, with submissions from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Ellen Degeneres, Suze Orman, the employees of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, and many more. The Project makes creative use of all forms of media to share these stories, it collaborates with partner organizations to improve the lives of LGBT youth, and it supports a growing network of international affiliates working to bring the 'it gets better' message to communities around the world and to connect LGBT youth with the resources they need. www.ItGetsBetter.org
About Speak Theater Arts
Speak Theater Arts is a Los Angeles-based theater company best known for their critically acclaimed original work N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK. The company strives to invite new audiences to the live theater experiences through engaging, timely work created collaboratively by a team of dynamic multimedia artists and performers. In 2009, GMCLA collaborated with STA for an acclaimed world premiere staging of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, An Epilogue which integrated live music performances by the Chorus. www.speaktheaterarts.com.