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SEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN FROM A GAY MAN Heads to Nashville November 4 & 5

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Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man
Playwright/producer Matt Murphy, with his wife
Julie Chang Murphy at the New York opening of
Sex Tips for Straight Women From A Gay Man.

- photo by Stephanie Olsen

It's a fact of contemporary life: Every gay man who has a close relationship with a straight woman - whether they first met in college, work together in a hive of corporate cubicles, found themselves next to each other in spin class or, in an especially Nashville-type situation, getting together to write the next big hit on country radio - has probably been asked to share his closely-held trade secrets about what sexual techniques will make a man, regardless of his sexual orientation, sit up and take notice.

Hey, well-dressed guy with the hipster haircut and the gene for arranging flowers and picking the right wine to pair with mushroom risotto: We're looking at you! You've been there, haven't you?

It's that universal truth - or perhaps just an urban legend - that connects people who share their lives on a deeper level and which very well may have been the genesis for Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man, the off-Broadway hit that's now touring the United States, wending its way to Nashville for a three-show stand at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, November 4 and 5.

Should you buy a ticket? Sure, if you want to spend a fun night out, laughing at a well-conceived and sharply written play that playwright/producer Matt Murphy calls "good clean fun."

"Why should you see the show? Because it's hilarious - a romantic comedy," Murphy says in a telephone interview from his New York office, a couple of weeks before his hit show comes to Music City USA. "If you want to laugh, this is the show to do it at."

And regardless of one's bent, Murphy suggests, "audiences love the show, whether they're a couple out on a date, a group of girls, a guys' night out, a straight girl and her gay best friend, a group of gay men - our show doesn't disappoint! If you want sex tips, you get sex tips; if you want a romantic comedy, you get a show that's done very tastefully."

In fact, Murphy muses, the altogether romantic comedy that provides the basis for Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man might best be described as "Will & Grace onstage" - referring to the late and lamented NBC situation comedy that focused on the relationship of a straight woman and her gay best friend and the characters whose antics made the show a hit (and which, after the success of an updated look at the W&G gang in the midst of the 2016 election season that went viral quickly, is now being considered for a network reprise) - "good, bawdy fun" that's sure to entertain.

Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man"It's not raunchy, it's not crude, it isn't graphic," Murphy, who wrote the play at the urging of his wife after she'd read the original book by Maggie Berman and Dan Anderson that provided the source material for the script. "It's really is good clean fun."

Response to Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man, which opened in New York City in 2014 and launched its national tour earlier this year, has been gratifying to say the least, Murphy maintains. The show, he says, was a success in New York but what might transpire on the road was complete unknown until it actually opened out-of-town and happened onstage...in Iowa, no less.

"Our first stop was Des Moines and we thought, 'Okay, here comes our show, Des Moines - are you gonna accept us?' The average age of the audience was 107-years-old and I couldn't be there (my wife was pregnant and delivering our third child at the time), so I started getting all these calls, emails and texts about the show. As soon as the show was finished, the cast and crew were telling me they'd never heard so much laughter."

In fact, as testimony to the audience's embrace of Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man, the show ran 10 minutes longer because of the audience's response. All those laughs made the show's run-time (which normally clocks about 70 minutes, with no intermission) longer.

But never one to rest on his laurels (Murphy is a well-known and experienced producer and his shows have included Memphis, Side Show and other notable hits), the playwright/producer considered the Des Moines reception could well have been a fluke: "I thought, 'well, that was cool and amazing, but what if it was a fluke?' Then, we were in Denver for three weeks for a completely sold out run!"

The die was cast and now the production heads to Nashville with an ever-growing, ever-laughing cadre of loyal fans who sing its praises. "The show is taking off in a way that none of us anticipated. It's just struck a nerve - and people like it," Murphy says.

It's easy to see why: The show's website (www.sextipsplay.com) offers this synopsis for Murphy's show: "This romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider 'tips' come straight from the source: a gay man. The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly meet the authors event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and this month's featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this meet the authors event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar. Will Stefan's muscles be used for more than moving more than heavy scenery? Will the power of Dan's tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event...that is for Dan to know, and you to find out!"

As Sex Tips... has entered the cultural zeitgeist - "It's fashionable, at the moment, to be a little cheeky, and our show is that," Murphy suggests - and with people now seemingly more comfortable discussing sex and its role in their own lives, its popularity should continue to soar.

"Even from the beginning, we've seen groups of people coming to the show together. We now see a lot of date nights of couples both gay and straight, a lot of straight guys coming with their wives and girlfriends, bachelorette parties, girls' night out," he says. "It proves that our audiences are not afraid of a show with 'sex' and 'gay' in the title."

"I'm pretty proud of that," Murphy says. "When people come to the show, they're going to leave with a smile on their faces...we've handled the material in such a way that we can push the envelope without going too far. People may expect rowdy and raunchy entertainment, but what they find is a sweet, romantic comedy that has sex tips scattered throughout."

While reactions may vary from audience to audience, town to town, Murphy confidently says, "I guarantee people will leave our show and go have drinks with friends to talk about it, to crack a few more jokes and that's a positive thing."

Through humor, Sex Tips... disarms its audience in a perhaps surprising and completely revealing way, breaking the ice to give everyone permission to laugh at themselves and the world around them.

Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay ManAbout the show: The hilarious Off-Broadway hit comedy Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man stops in Nashville for a two-night affair at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's James K. Polk Theater on November 4-5.

Part theater comedy, part interactive sex tip seminar, Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider 'tips' come straight from the source: a gay man.

SEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN FROM A GAY MAN is set at a local university auditorium where the English Department holds its monthly meet the authors' event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and this month's featured author is Dan Anderson who wrote "Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man." The third character is a hunky stage assistant of Eastern European descent, Stefan. Thwarting Robyn's attempts to moderate a scholarly discussion of the book, Dan aims to entertain those in attendance with a highly theatrical, audience-interactive sex tip seminar. Contains some adult humor.

Written by Matt Murphy and directed by Tim Drucker, SEX TIPS is now in its third smash year Off-Broadway in New York, where it began performances on January 22, 2014 and opened on February 9, 2014.

The production is based on the book, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, written by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman. Published in 1997, it championed the straight girl/gay guy friendship in mainstream pop culture and instantly became a national best-seller. The book was praised by the New York Daily News for "offering witty-and yes, explicit-descriptions of all manner of how-to's;" by The New York Post as "straightforward and saucy . . . a play-by-play account of how to make the most of every moment;" and by Salon.com as "a cannily entertaining romp through the nuts and bolts of sex from the male perspective." Now a cult classic, the book has also been published in Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia, England, and France.

The play has received similar critical acclaim from the media with TheaterMania touting "SEX TIPS is one of the best date-night shows you'll see this year. Breathlessly entertaining! Uproariously funny! Hysterically titillating!" Michael Musto for OUT Magazine gave the show, "Two wet thumbs up!" Broadway World calls the show "a night of fun and exhausting laughter that makes you feel good in all the wrong places."

Tickets are available at www.tpac.org or by phone at (615) 782-4040, and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick Street, in downtown Nashville.


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