Diversionary Presents Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins


An energy crisis, an unpopular war and the fight for equal rights for gay Americans. Sound familiar? It's 1977, and 15 year-old Horace Poore is trying to make sense of the tumultuous events surrounding him -- and the tumultuous events within him - as his sexual awakening is hastened by images of Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz and former pageant queen/orange juice promoter/anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant. The coming-of-age comedy Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, by Brian Christopher Williams, is the second mainstage show of Diversionary Theatre's 2010-2011 season. The play runs October 28 through November 21, is directed by Shana Wride, and features Dylan Hoffinger as Horace, along with Beth Gallagher, Tyler Herdklotz, Dana Hooley, Tony Houck, Don Pugh, Dylan Seaton and Jacque Wilke. Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins is underwritten in part by JoAnn Clark.

The play premiered last fall in Los Angeles. "The title of Brian Christopher Williams' play suggests a slick, sassy gay comedy, and so it is, but something much more than that, something far richer..." - L.A. Weekly. Nudging Horace along his journey to self-awareness are his idiosyncratic parents, his draft dodging brother, and his dreamy gym teacher. This lyric comedy is an unconventional look at a young man's coming-of-age set against the cultural flashpoint of the early 1970s. The play contains adult situations and themes.

Playwright Brian Christopher Williams received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for "Best Writing" and a GLAAD Award nomination for "Outstanding Los Angeles Production" for Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins. His play In Stitches received the "Back Stage West" Garland Award. His work has been performed throughout the U.S., including New York (Ensemble Studio Theatre, 78th Street Playhouse, Nat Horne Theatre), Los Angeles (West Coast Ensemble, Colony Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre Center, NoHo Theatre, Matrix Theatre, Sacred Fools Theatre, Hudson Theatre, Blank Theatre Company), San Francisco (New Conservatory Theatre) and also Actors Theatre of Louisville and Florida Studio Theatre. Various titles are published by Samuel French, Inc., and in many Best of... anthologies by Smith & Kraus. His latest work is Beth and Norma Jeane: A Hollywood Fable (Julie Harris Playwriting Award finalist).

Director Shana Wride recently directed the production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for Compass Theatre, and in the spring acted in Cygnet Theatre's production of Private Lives. Other San Diego theatre acting credits include work with San Diego Repertory Theatre, Sledgehammer Theatre, Gaslamp Quarter Theatre, Ensemble Arts Theatre and Diversionary Theatre. Regional Theatre credits include Shakespeare Festival Los Angeles, The Colony Theatre, Open Fist Theatre, Malibu Stage Company and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

The Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins design and production team include: Daniel Grodecki (Set), Michelle Caron (Lights), Valerie Henderson (Costumes), Omar Ramos (Sound), David Medina (Properties), Anthony Phifer (Stage Manager), Jerusha Liu (Dramaturg), Matt Scott (Tech Director).

Former Diversionary actor Angelo D'Agostino, through his company Asorada Creative, recruited celebrity photographer Eric Scot to create the promotional image for the play. Scot, a Los Angeles based photographer, came to the project with a very clear objective - to take peripheral aim at the script's subject matter while shooting his adaptation of real events, capturing specifically, an imaginary (American Flag cloaked) Mark Spitz. Tongue-in- cheek references fill larger than life prints that will be displayed in the Diversionary lobby for the duration of the show. A highly sought after Hollywood image-maker, Scot has always mixed his subjects with an indelible imprint of sex-appeal. In his personal work, Eric focuses on the idea of light against the human body. www.ericscotphoto.com

Diversionary Theatre was started in 1986. The mission of the theatre is to produce plays with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender themes that portray characters in their complexity and diversity both historically and contemporarily.

Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins previews Thursday and Friday, October 28 and 29, opens on Saturday, October 30 and runs through Sunday, November 21. Food for the opening night party will be provided by Chef Deborah Scott's Indigo Grill. Performance times are: Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00pm, Sunday at 2:00pm. There is a Monday, November 8 at 7:30pm performance (pay-what-you-will at the door; for available seats, starting at 6:30pm). Single tickets are $31-$33 with discounts available for students, seniors (60+), military and groups (10 or more). Special four-show subscriptions are also available for mainstage season and Diversionary special events. For information, call the box office at 619.220.0097 or log on to www.diversionary.org.

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