The Musical Theater Project and Cleveland Public Theatre Presents I AM WHAT I AM, 8/10

The Musical Theater Project and Cleveland Public Theatre Presents I AM WHAT I AM, 8/10

The Musical Theater Project and Cleveland Public Theatre will present "I Am What I Am: Gays, Lesbians and the American Musical" on Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 2pm and 7pm. Both performances will be held in the Gordon Square Theatre at Cleveland Public Theatre.

The concert is presented as part of the special arts series surrounding the ninth annual Gay Games, held for the first time in Cleveland and Akron, August 9-16. The Gay Games celebrates local arts and culture as well as sport.

Conceived by TMTP's artistic director, Bill Rudman, the concert will be co-hosted by Rudman and one of Cleveland's most respected actor-directors, Scott Plate, who is openly gay. Also featured are vocalists Katherine DeBoer, Molly Andrews-Hinders and Jared Leal, with Nancy Maier serving as music director.

Gay and lesbian artists have been major creators of and performers in the American musical since the early years of the 20th century, but an onstage documentary concert celebrating their contribution to the art form has never been assembled.

The presentation spans 85 years, going as far back as the 1920s and the "coded" lyrics of gay songwriters Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart, and as far forward as the current "Kinky Boots," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Fun Home." It will include such breakout musicals of the post-Stonewall 1970s and 80s as Jerry Herman's "La Cage Aux Folles," Michael Bennett's "A Chorus Line" and William Finn's "Marvin" trilogy, which confronted the AIDS epidemic. In the 1990s John Kander and Fred Ebb's "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and Jonathan Larson's "Rent" daringly explored socio-political issues; these and many other musicals will also be featured.

The concert will explore the gay audience's adoration of such performers as Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Patti LuPone and even crack open the idea of "camp," an important aspect of gay culture since the 1950s.

"This project has been a joy to work on because the repertoire is so rich," said Rudman. "These songs tell us so much about our society and ourselves over the decades. Whether you're gay or straight, it adds up to an amazing journey."

"I Am What I Am" kicks off "The Song Is You!" 2014-2015 concert and cabaret season produced each year by The Musical Theater Project at a variety of locations.

Cleveland Public Theatre is located at 6415 Detroit Avenue in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District. Tickets for the 2pm performance are $28. Tickets for the 7pm performance are $40 and include one drink ticket and post-show karaoke party with live musical accompaniment. Both events are available for purchase online at or by phone at (216) 631-2727 x 501.

The concert is produced with support from the Toby D. Lewis Philanthropic Fund (Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland), as well as Howard Epstein and Gregg Levine. "The Song Is You!" receives additional support from Robert Conrad, Susan Kohn and Mike Kohn, the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Kulas Foundation, Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsors include Cleveland.Com, WKHR 91.5 FM and WCLV 104.9 FM.

ABOUT THE MUSICAL THEATER PROJECT-A nonprofit organization founded in 2000, TMTP produces concerts, in-school residency programs, radio programming and recordings that foster a deeper appreciation of the American musical - and the social and cultural history that surrounds it - by creating programs that educate as well as entertain people of all ages. To learn more about TMTP, visit

ABOUT CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE - Founded in 1981, Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is a recognized leader for producing and presenting new theatrical work and regional premieres; life-changing educational programs; and for nurturing Northeastern Ohio artists - particularly those whose work is inventive, intelligent and socially-conscious. For more information about CPT's 14-15 season, visit

Ohio Arts Council helps fund The Musical Theater Project with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Musical Theater Project also receives public support with local tax dollars from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, to preserve and enrich our region's artistic and cultural heritage.

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