East Lynne Theater Company Presents THE TEMPERAMENTALS
East Lynne Theater Company, Cape May Stage, and GABLES joined forces to support LGBTQ+ Gay Pride Month with "Cape Pride: Two Staged Readings." On June 10, "The Normal Heart" was at Cape May Stage, and on Monday, June 24, "The Temperamentals" by Jon Marans, will be at The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St., where ELTC is in residence. Time is 8:00 p.m., and admission is by donation, with a suggested minimum of $10 in cash or by check, at the door. 50% will be shared between Cape May Stage and East Lynne Theater Company (both nonprofits); 50% will be donated to the Gay Men's Health Crisis (another nonprofit) to support its on-going work. Following the reading will be a Q&A with the cast.
In 1950, two Temperamentals, the code word used by homosexuals to quietly define themselves, saw the need to start an organization whose purpose was to unite, inform and empower. Founders Harry Hay, a Communist and social radical, and famed Austrian-born avant-garde fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, named it the Mattachine Society after a Medieval French secret society of masked men who were the anonymous social critics of their time, because Harry and Rudi, too, believed theirs should be, at first, an "underground" society. This was the era of McCarthyism, when much of American politics and culture was focused on containing the spread of Communism. It was also the time of the "Lavender Scare" when federal and state governments investigated and fired thousands of employees who were suspected of being gay or lesbian, claiming that they were "security risks" who were vulnerable to Soviet blackmail.
While this intelligent, witty, and entertaining play explores the trials of the society's founders as they risked their lives and livelihoods to gain equality, it also reveals the relationship between Hay and Gernreich as their passion for each other grew, along with their cause.
After premiering at The Barrow Group Studio in April 2009, "The Temperamentals" moved off-Broadway to New World Stages from February 18 - May 30, 2010. It received the Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Michael Urie, who originated the role of Rudi Gernreich, received a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor.
Meanwhile, on ELTC's mainstage, "Summerland" runs through July 20, and "Tales of the Victorians" begins on Thursday, June 20 at 4:00 p.m. at Kaleidoscope, on the Washington Street Mall.