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Antwayn Hopper, Michael Joseph Murray and More From SECRET IDENTITY Cast to Reunite for Virtual Benefit Reading

Antwayn Hopper, Michael Joseph Murray and More From SECRET IDENTITY Cast to Reunite for Virtual Benefit Reading This Friday July 3rd at 6:30pm EST, A STAR IS BORED and TOSOS will be reuniting the cast of SECRET IDENTITY by Chris Weikel for a virtual benefit reading for The Okra Project directed by Mark Finley, Artistic Director of TOSOS, who directed it's world premiere last January.

Livestream Link

The cast is led by Keith Weiss, Nicky Maindiratta (The Social Ones), Antwayn Hopper (A Strange Loop), Michael Joseph Murray (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Kory Majansky, Zach Gault, David Leeper, Jamie Heinlein, Keno Golaub, CJ Diorio, Caturah Brown, and Michael Lynch (Hot Peaches, Leaving the Blues).

While tickets are free, they are asking viewers for a suggested donation of $10. They will donate 100% of the proceeds towards The Okra Project. The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People wherever they can reach them.

The donation link will be included in the livestream the day of the reading. You can also donate early on the A Star is Bored page, @starisbored.pod , through their Facebook campaign.

The Donation Link

As NYC's oldest and longest-producing LGBTQ+ theater company, The Other Side of Silence (TOSOS) is dedicated to an honest and open exploration of the life experience and cultural sensibility of the LGBTQ+ community and to preserving and promoting their literary past in a determined effort to keep our theatrical heritage alive.

The world can be unbearable when the school bully paints a target on your back. That's what it's like for JT, a seemingly ordinary 16-year-old nerd. But JT has something big to hide, something he can't tell anyone about. That "something" flies, wears spandex and fights crime. He's JT's escape from the unbearable real world. Lines between the real world and the imaginary start to blur, and JT may become a casualty of his own storytelling. When adolescent fantasies come in heroic proportions, it's difficult to keep them under wraps.

Secret Identity is the new play by Chris Weikel, whose work Fern Siegel described in the Huffington Post as "witty" and "clever." It gives voice to the ways bullying can wreak havoc in the lives of LGBTQ youth. But it's also about forging deep bonds of friendship, finding your tribe, and the superpower of the creative spirit. It shines a light on the decisions that marginalized people must confront in a society where bullying has become the norm.

"High school is, of course, a natural for drama and lately it's been getting a lot of attention on the big musical stages," said TOSOS Artistic Director Mark Finley. "It's heartening now to see gay teen characters are getting some much-needed stage time. The heroine in Mean Girls has two BFF's and one of them is a big gay kid. Evan's frenemy in Dear Evan Hansen cracks that the relationship at the center of its plot has all the earmarks of a secret gay romance. And everyone laughs. Because it's a thing. This is a far cry from Bye Bye Birdie."

"I started writing this play in 2010 following the death of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year old Rutgers student who leapt from the George Washington Bridge after being bullied online by his roommate for being gay," playwright Weikel said. "It seemed inconceivable to me that LGBT youth were still facing the same pressures I had 25 years earlier, and I wanted to use my art to change that if I could. To find authentic voices for my teenage characters, I dove back into my adolescent love of comic books, and as I re-read those stories, I realized just how much I had identified with those beautiful and fabulously flawed superheroes who forever felt compelled to hide what made them special. Their world had been very real to me in my youth, and it's exciting to see it come to life on stage now."

"Secret Identity is significant among its contemporaries because it moves its gay content from the sidelines into the foreground, said TOSOS Artistic Director Mark Finley. "But what's particularly resonant is what it says about bullying. Every sitcom and after-school special tells us that we 'have to stand up to bullies.' But do we? Especially when it's easier to adapt or sidestep them? Isn't it like being beaten up all over again to tell an adult (much less a parent) about it? For a gay or questioning kid, there's the added confusion of being labeled something that's mysterious but not good. Or worse, what if it's true?

"At its core, Secret Identity is about integrity -- which is a superpower that seems to be in pretty short supply these days. I hope it inspires a superhero in you."

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