Deep Dish Theater to Present A QUEER KISS, 10/25-11/16

Two boys and their parents find themselves at the center of an emotional storm in Joel Drake Johnson's play A Queer Kiss, being given its world premiere by the Deep Dish Theater Company October 25 to November 16. Directed by Artistic Director Paul Frellick, the play continues the company's thirteenth season at University Mall.

A Queer Kiss was developed in the theater's New Play Workshop last January, presented as a 5-night series of staged readings. "The play has evolved considerably in the course of this year," noted Frellick. "Joel was able to make good use of the time here in January, and his finely nuanced story has become even richer and more complex in the subsequent months. We are thrilled to be taking the play to the next level, and to be contributing to the cultural discussion going on locally and globally."

The drama follows two high school friends, Scott and Bret (Matthew Hager and Daniel Doyle), who share a seemingly innocent kiss that leads to a swirl of accusation, recrimination and fear. As their parents (MaryKate Cunningham, Jonathan Leinbach, Catherine Rodgers and Tony Lea) struggle to glean what is going on with their sons and determine how best to support the boys, events quickly spin out of control. Playwright Johnson is a Chicago-based writer whose plays have been produced at Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf and Victory Gardens Theaters, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and across the country (his play The Fall to Earth was produced by Durham's Manbites Dog Theatre). He has taught playwriting at Northwestern University, and was for many years a high-school drama teacher.

The design staff includes a number of Deep Dish veterans, including Miyuki Su, who designed sets for Superior Donuts, Nathan the Wise and The Cripple of Inishmaan; Elizabeth Droessler, whose lighting has adorned such productions as Othello, After the Revolution and Henceforward...; longtime Deep Dish properties master Devra Thomas; and Marc Maximov, whose sound designs include Mi Vida Loca and She Stoops to Conquer. Alyssa Breeden is the costumer, Lisa Keaton the dramaturg, David Berberian the technical director and Jeff Phillips the stage manager.

The theater will present a pre-show "Meet the Play" talk on Friday, November 1 at 7 pm as well as a series of post-performance discussions (go to for a schedule of those discussions). The Deep Dish Book Selection, Alison Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, will be discussed on Monday November 11 at 7 pm at the Chapel Hill Public Library.

Performances begin Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday (matinee) at 2 p.m. Deep Dish is located in Chapel Hill's University Mall, on Estes Drive and US 15-501.

Tickets are $24 for adults and $21 for seniors, with a $2 discount for Wednesday and Thursday shows. Student tickets are $16 for all shows.Wednesday, August 28 is "Cheap Dish Night" - all tickets are $12 (no reservations accepted). Call 919-968-1515 for ticket reservations and for more information, visit

Pictured: Matthew Hager and Daniel Doyle in A QUEER KISS.

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