Uptown Closes Its Season with PERFECT ARRANGEMENT
To close its 17th season, Uptown's regional premiere of Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne goes back in time to show the lengths employees will go to to hide their homosexual identity in order to preserve their job to convince society they are "the Norm". Perfect Arrangement, directed by B.J. Cleveland runs August 24 - September 2 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.
It's 1950, and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob (Kevin Moore) and Norma (Olivia Grace Murphy), have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. There's just one problem: both Bob and Norma are gay, and have married each other's partners as a carefully constructed cover. Inspired by the true story of the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap classic sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two "All-American" couples are forced to navigate around the Homophobic McCarthyism of the 1950's, lead surprising lives while ready to burst down the closet door. In Uptown's unique sensitivity and humor, we laugh at the realization that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Director B.J. Cleveland explains why he is looking forward to working on this special project with this cast, and why he believes audiences will love the play. Cleveland exclaims, "I love that this piece is surfacely a comedy that plays like a 1950's sitcom - not unlike I LOVE LUCY - but is layered with some surprising drama about leading closeted lives during a scrutinizing period of history. Although we laugh at the farcical situations of these characters, many points are brought up that will make us reflect on our OWN lives and current government."
Cleveland continues, "The play was written 10 years ago, but two quotes speak up as though it was foretelling the current political culture : 'This little morality task force they're creating, the return of the Puritans, it's not Constitutionally sound,' and 'History generally does not look kindly upon repressors.' Both of these mirror the very recent announcement of a Religious Liberty Task Force appointed by current Government officials of 2018."
The cast is made up of Uptown Players stalwarts along with actors making their debut on the Uptown stage. Cleveland explains how this mix brings a great amount of energy and charm as everyone is working so well together. Cleveland explains, "Alyssa Cavazos is making her leading role debut and is a comic gem. Olivia Grace Murphy is the Ethel to her Lucy in a comic role with an edge. Kevin Moore, Bradley Campbell, and Lindsay Hayward return with great gravitas and comic timing, and returning recent newcomers, Matt Holmes and Jacie Hood Wenzel, round out the cast as a closeted school teacher and a powerhouse Government worker with a secret."
Perfect Arrangement runs August 24 - September 2, with shows at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Performances take place at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd (at Blackburn), Dallas, TX 75219. Tickets are $25-$40 and can be purchased online at www.uptownplayers.org or by phone at (214) 219-2718.
Uptown Players is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, presenting plays and musicals that challenge audiences artistically and strive to create greater positive public awareness and acceptance through the performing arts. Now concluding its seventeenth season and ninth at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, Uptown Players has gathered a dedicated following and is providing an opportunity for a wide diversity of gender styles to come together and explore life choices through great theatre themes such as relationships, family, prejudice, and values. The response from the community and critics has been remarkable, including over 25 Leon Rabin Awards from the Dallas Theatre League, and over 30 Theater Critics Forum Awards in its first sixteen seasons. Uptown Players has also been named the best theatre company by the Dallas Voice Readers and by the Dallas Observer and was also featured in D Magazine and on WFAA's Daybreak and Good Morning Texas programs.
Uptown Players has presented world premieres, including Redesigning Women (2013), Crazy Just Like Me (2011) and the stage adaptation of The Valley of the Dolls (2007), along with the United States premieres of the West End hit musical Soho Cinders (2014), and the Pet Shop Boys Musical Closer to Heaven (2010). Uptown Players was the first regional theater in the United States to present the Tony Award winner The Boy from Oz and the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next To Normal, following the closing of the Broadway productions. Each season, Uptown Players presents several regional premieres, including recent productions of The Legend of Goergia McBride, It Shoulda Been You, The Toxic Avenger, Mothers and Sons, End of the Rainbow, The Nance, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and The Producers.
Photo Credit - Mike Morgan