TOSOS Announces 50th Anniversary Season PRIDE HOUSE Premiering January 18

Season includes two full productions, an expansive reading series, annual gala, and several impactful events activated to celebrate the community.

By: Dec. 18, 2023
TOSOS Announces 50th Anniversary Season PRIDE HOUSE Premiering January 18
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New York City's oldest and longest producing LGBTQIA+ theater company TOSOS (Artistic Director Mark Finley) has announced the launch of their 50th Anniversary Season, including two full productions, an expansive reading series, annual gala, and several impactful events activated to celebrate the community.

The innovative theater company will launch its ground-breaking season with the world premiere of Pride House, a new play by Chris Weikel. Fifteen performances will be staged Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7pm from January 18-February 10, 2024, at The Flea Theater, 20 Thomas Street in New York City's TriBeCa neighborhood. Opening Night is January 20, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

Igor Goldin (Yank!, With Glee) will direct a cast of thirteen, including London Carlisle, Gail Dennison, Dontonio Demarco, Desmond Dutcher, Jessica DiSalvo, Jamie HeinleinAlex HerreraAaron Kaplan, Jake Mendes, Patrick Porter, Raquel Sciacca, and Tom Souhrada.

It's 1938 in the remote beach community of Cherry Grove on Fire Island, and Beatrice Farrar is planning a party for her colorful, flamboyant friends from the New York theatre scene who are visiting. As the guests descend on her summer home, Pride House, she hopes it will be smooth sailing. When several of the “family folk,” the more conservative Long Islanders who vacation in Cherry Grove with their children, arrive for the festivities, things take a decidedly stormy turn. Literally. Little does Beatrice realize, but it is the eve of the great hurricane of 1938, an event which changes Fire Island in ways that reverberate to the present day.   

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by visiting https://www.tososnyc.org/. Direct ticketing link: https://www.redeyetickets.com/pride-house/

The running time is two hours and thirty minutes, including intermission.

““When playwright and gay rights activist Doric Wilson founded TOSOS, it was the only group in NYC devoted solely to the LGBTQIA+ experience. Fifty years later, though we've gained greater acceptance and have made many social and political advances, the voices raised to normalize bias and criminalize our existences are louder and more dangerous than ever," said Artistic Director Mark Finley. "TOSOS strives to tell our untold stories and maintain our place in theatrical and social history. The LGBTQIA+ community has always been here, and we're not going anywhere.”

TOSOS's 50th Anniversary Season will also include a reading series of six plays by LGBTQIA+ artists; multiple fundraising events that are open to the public, like TOSOS's annual cocktail party (May), Pride party (June), and Gala (October); and the company's second full production of the year, the reimagination of Doric Wilson's Street Theater, to be staged at The Flea Theater in July.

Chris Weikel (playwright) - His play Secret Identity was produced by TOSOS in residence at The Flea, and the company also presented his Pig Tale: An Urban Faerie Story in New York as well as at the Absolut Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival. His Penny Penniworth was produced Off-Broadway by Emerging Artists Theatre Company (EAT). Weikel was commissioned by American Stage Company to write an adaptation of Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales for the company's 2000 season. Chris is a judge-at-large for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and a regular contributor to Drunken! Careening! Writers! at KGB. Weikel received an MFA in playwriting from Hunter College in New York City studying under Tina Howe. His work has been developed at InterAct Theater in Philadelphia, The Lark in New York, as well as the Kennedy Center ACTF/NNPN MFA Playwrights workshop. Weikel was a 2008-09 Dramatist Guild Fellow, the 2007 recipient of the Robert Chesley Award for emerging gay playwrights, the 2008 recipient of the Irv Zarkower Award, and he is a 2011 Recipient of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Award. He was a 2013 NYFA Fellow, and the 2014 Recipient of the Smith Prize Commission for Political Theatre.

Igor Goldin (director) is a New York City based director and educator. He devotes much of his time developing original plays and musicals for the stage: Austen's Pride, a new musical of Pride & Prejudice (Carnegie Hall, NYC; Seattle 5th Ave; ACT of CT; The REV/Finger Lakes, NY; La Mirada/McCoy Rigby, CA); Brett Ryback & Eric Ulloa's Passing Through (Goodspeed Musicals, CT); Eric Ulloa's Reindeer Sessions, and 26 Pebbles (both World Premieres, The Human Race Theatre, OH); John Mercurio's Academy (Tuacahn New Works Festival, UT), Adam Gwon/Michele Lowe's The Proxy Marriage (Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals, CT). Igor received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director of a Musical for the original Off-Broadway production of YANK!. Other Off-Broadway productions include the original musical, With Glee, and the new play, A Ritual of Faith, both New York Times Critic Picks. He has directed 11 musicals for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, 3 of which garnered him the NYMF Award for Excellence in Direction. Regionally he's directed productions of Songs For A New World (Cape Playhouse, MA); Rock of Ages (ACT of CT & Engeman, NY); Matilda (co. dir./Mara Greer, Regional Premiere, Tuacahn, UT & Engeman, NY); Sweeney Todd (SALT Award nom, Director of the Year, The REV); A Christmas Story (The Human Race Theatre, OH); Mystic Pizza (New York Premiere), Kinky Boots, Newsies, Gypsy, Oklahoma, 1776, Memphis, West Side Story (“Encore” Theatre Award, Best Director), The Producers, Evita, The Music Man (“Encore” Theatre Award), Twelve Angry Men, and South Pacific (Engeman, NY); Crossing Swords and tick, tick…BOOM! (American Theatre Group, NJ). Igor is the Academic Department Director of Musical Theatre Performance at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. He was a top 5 Finalist for the SDC Joe A. Callaway Award for Distinguished Direction, a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). 

Other members of the production team include Costume Designer: Ben Philipp; Sound Designer: Morry Campbell; Stage Manager: Jess Terry; Assistant Stage Manager: Cat Gillespie; Director of Production: Reesa Graham; and Press Representative: Paul Siebold / Off Off PR.

TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence) is New York City's oldest and longest producing professional LGBTQIA+ theater company. In 1974, Off-Off-Broadway veteran Doric Wilson, cabaret star Billy Blackwell and director Peter dell Valle, started the first professional gay theatre company in NYC. It was called The Other Side of Silence—TOSOS for short. In 2002, directors Mark Finley and Barry Childs and playwright Wilson resurrected TOSOS. The company has produced over 30 mainstage shows and so many readings of new plays and works in progress we have trouble counting them all. 

MEET THE CAST OF "PRIDE HOUSE"

London Carlisle (Edwin Marshall) is thrilled to be making his TOSOS debut! London is a graduate of Auburn University. Theatre: Visit Joe Whitefeather (Florida Studio Theatre), Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments (Alliance Theatre), I and You (The Public Theatre), The Black Boy in Pink (Classical Theatre of Harlem). London is a proud alumnus of Auburn University having graduated with a BFA in Theatre Performance. London is also a frequent performer at New York City's Peoples Improv Theater and a cast member of the Ain't Slayed Nobody horror comedy podcast. LondonCarlisle.com.

Gail Dennison (Irene Gerard) - Previous TOSOS credits include Christmas Moon and The Mermaid. Other credits include That Gail, Judy's House and "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." When you least expect it, you will see Gail in various and sundry commercials (she's like a "bad penny", she keeps turning up)!

Dontonio Demarco (Poppy Fredrick) is a Brooklyn-based actor. He studied at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Recent projects include She's Got Harlem on Her Mind at the Metropolitan Playhouse, Love in a Violent Year at the New York Theater Festival, and touring Black Angels over Tuskegee this past summer. WEBEIME at The Public Theater in Pittsburgh (October 2023) produced by New Horizon Theater Company.

Desmond Dutcher (George Gerard) NYC: 'Oscar' - Mary, Mary (Retro Productions - Nominated for NY ITAward); ‘Gordon' - Doric Wilson's Street Theater; Bernadette & The Butcher of Broadway (TOSOS); The Skin of our Teeth; Old Man In Sorrow (Articulate Theatre Company); Is That a Gun...?; The Gay Naked Play; Markie 7722'(Emerging Artist Theatre); In Loco Parentis (NY Fringe Festival). Regional: ‘Bosie' - Gross Indecency (Studio Theatre); ‘Pandor' - Pericles (Washington Shakespeare Co); ‘Mikey' - Shear Madness (Kennedy Center). Film: 'Tom' - “The World Is Lit By Lightning;” ‘JD' - “Whirlwind.”

Jessica DiSalvo (Natalia Danesi Murray) Off-Broadway: Welcome to America (New Worlds Theatre Project), The Princess of Riverside Drive (Vital Theatre Company). Other: Proof (Center Stage New York), Relentlessly Pleasant (Tongue in Cheek Theater), Bootstraps (FringeNYC), The Tempest (The Tank), She Loves Me, Kiss Me, Kate, The Foreigner (Hope Repertory Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical (Shakespeare Dallas). Film: “Our Lady of Queens.” Jessica also works extensively as a voice actor and has been heard in commercials, video games and documentaries. M.F.A., Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts.  www.jessicadisalvo.com

Jamie Heinlein (Beatrice Farrar) is over the moon to be working with Chris Weikel yet again and to have the opportunity to be under the direction of Igor Goldin, having spent the best time of her performing life playing Penny in Mr. Weikel's Penny Penniworth - often across from Mr. Goldin. Most recent NYC credits include Mr. Weikel's Secret Identity (TOSOS at the flea). Virginia Baeta's Damaged Goods, Amy Witting's Road Veins & Victor, Myra Slotnick's The Weight of Water directed by David Drake (also in Provincetown), Susan in The Five Lesbian Brothers' The Secretaries, Maggie in Kathleen Warnock's The Further Adventures of... (also in Dublin and Provincetown) and Garet Scott's Roll with the Punches and Eagle Squadron Go!  Audio books include Jennifer Lancaster's series beginning with Bitter is the New Black through If You Were Here. Jamie is proud to be on the Board of Directors for The Other Side of Silence (TOSOS) and sends much love and a great big thank you to Mark Finley and her fellow Board members for letting her step back on the stage for this one!  

Alex Herrera (Brad) TOSOS debut! Favorite credits include; Off-Broadway: Imbible Day Drinking (Tenor), Side Show (Buddy); NYC: Broadway in Bryant Park; National Tours: Fiddler on the Roof, All Shook Up; Regional: Jersey Boys (NCL)(Mason Street), Matilda (Engeman Theater), Light in the Piazza (Fabrizio), Disney Cruise Lines Aladdin the Musical (Aladdin); TV: History Channel "Food That Built America" (Season 4.) 

Aaron Kaplan (John Mosher) is an actor and teaching artist based in New York City, with roots in Atlanta and Los Angeles. He has appeared in multiple films and series, performed in numerous tours and off-broadway shows, and studied with a diverse selection of teachers all across the country, in addition to teaching his own workshops in multiple states. At its core, Aaron's work is all about affecting his audience. Whether he is tickling the funny bone of thousands or helping one person deal with something difficult in their lives, as long as Aaron has affected someone in a positive way, he has done his job. Art has always been a source for change, it can and will change the world. Visit www.theaaronkaplan.com for more!

Jake Mendes (Stephen) - Flea debut. Past credits include: Mendes - Off-Broadway: Bunnicula, Pinkalicious! NY Theatre: Xanadu, A Man Of No Importance, The Little Dog Laughed, The Normal Heart, The Drowsy Chaperone. Regional: Into The Woods, Small Mouth Sounds, Buyer and Cellar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Murder On The Orient Express, Bright Star, A Chorus Line, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Corduroy, This Is Modern Art, Hedwig and The Angry Inch (Henry Award winner), Flame Broiled, or The Ugly Play, Rocky Horror Show, Little Shop of Horrors, Spring Awakening, Assassins, RENT.

Patrick Porter (Thomas Farrar) is an Actor, Educator, and Multi-disciplinary Artist originally from Shreveport, LA. It is such a thrill to be working on another TOSOS World Premiere from the mind and heart of Chris Weikel. Thanks to Chris, Mark, and Igor for this opportunity. Love to Michael. @patrickporternyc patrickporternyc.com

Raquel Sciacca (Maxine Franc) is an actress, singer, and dancer, currently attending Long Island High School For The Arts. Favorite theater credits include Susan Walker in Miracle On 34th Street (The Argyle Theater), Featured Tap Dancer in A Christmas Story The Musical (John W Engemen Theater), and Catherine in Ciao Bambino (an original new musical). Raquel has also appeared on TV and in Film, with her favorite roles being on “Evil Lives Here” on Investigation Discovery Channel and playing a young Fran Fine (Drescher) from the beloved sitcom “The Nanny” on NBC's Cozi TV. Raquel also loves doing Voiceover work and can currently be heard as the voice of Cathy Cat in the popular kid's cartoon “Orange Moo Cow.” When not acting or singing, Raquel loves tap dancing and performs with the NYC Tap Crew under the direction of Thommie Retter. Raquel would like to thank Igor Goldin and Mark Finley for this wonderful opportunity and a big thanks to her amazing team - Thommie Retter, Raquel Nobile, Badiene Magaziner, Michael Lee Brown, and Bonnie Shumofskly Bloom. Love to my family, including the best lil brother Dawson, for all the unwavering love and support. @rockysciacca 

Tom Souhrada (Arthur Brill) - Broadway & National Tours: Mary Poppins, Kinky Boots, Evita, My Fair Lady, The King & I, CS Lewis' The Great Divorce and The Boy Friend (Directed by Julie Andrews). Off-B'way: Popcorn Falls (Directed by Christian Borle), Desperate Measures (New World Stages), Liberty (Theatre 80), The Kid Who Would Be Pope (Ars Nova), Mardi Gras/The Last Word (York), Broken Hands (NY Fringe Festival Award of Excellence), The Mystery of Irma Vep, and Tony and Tina's Wedding. Regionally, Tom has performed at many of the top theatre across the country in 12 Angry Men (Engeman Theatre), My Fair Lady (Riverside Theatre), Sweeney Todd (St. Louis Rep), Beauty & The Best and The Sound of Music (Gateway), Young Frankenstein (Ogunquit Playhouse), The Most Happy Fella (Cincinnati Playhouse), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The King of Hearts (Goodspeed), URINETOWN (Geva), PHANTOM (NC Theatre), The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Cleveland Playhouse), No Way To Treat a Lady (Seven Angels Theatre), Company (FL Rep), and more. Directing credits include, I Love you, You're Perfect, Now Change; The Wound; The Dickens, A Judy Garland Christmas, and the original workshops and premiere production of Popcorn Falls. TV & Film: “Law & Order” “The Good Fight,” “Submissions Only,” “Marry Me,” and as “Prof. Ed M. Ology” & “Mimi” on the children's YouTube series “The Hello You! Show.” Graduate of NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. IG:tsouhrada



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