Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG to be Presented at Marin Theatre Company

Torch Song will be performed May 9 - June 2, 2024.

By: Apr. 10, 2024
Harvey Fierstein's TORCH SONG to be Presented at Marin Theatre Company
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Marin Theatre Company Will Close out its 2023/24 season with Torch Song, the seminal comic drama by Harvey Fierstein, directed by Evren Odcikin. An adaptation of Fierstein’s 1982 play Torch Song Trilogy, this newly revised two-act Torch Song, focuses on Arnold Beckoff, a lovelorn Jewish drag queen armed with the pithy wit of a Fran Leibovitz, who is looking for love in New York City. By turns hilarious and touching, this rollicking work finds Arnold stumbling through modern life, wallowing in cynical despair at ever finding a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit. An unexpected visit from his disapproving mother from Miami reminds Arnold that what he really needs is respect. For this production, Marin Theatre Company has assembled a stellar cast that includes Dean Linnard, Nancy Carlin, Joe Ayers, Patrick Andrew Jones, Edric Young, and Kina Kantor.

Torch Song will be performed May 9 - June 2, 2024 (Press Opening: Tuesday, May 14) at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. Tickets ($39.50 - $65.50 + fees) are available at MarinTheatre.org or by calling 415-388-5208.  
When Torch Song Trilogy opened in its original three-act version in June 1982, it took Broadway by storm, captivating mainstream theatergoers and critics, and running for three years. Audiences embraced the story’s universal message of the human need for acceptance, while throwing open doors for the LGBTQ+ community who for the first time experienced a Broadway production that was shining an uplifting light on gay culture. The fast-paced drama and its flamboyantly dramatic, wickedly funny lead offered up scenes such as a hilarious bar back-room sex hookup, as well as messy relationship and mother-son dynamics, the longing for parenthood, and a description of a brutal hate crime that is still sadly topical today. It starred the author, who received Tony Awards for Best Actor and Best Play, with the inimitable Estelle Getty as his mother. Such was the seismic cultural shift of a Broadway mega-hit centered on gay life, that it has been argued that without Harvey Fierstein leading the way, there would never have been mainstream television shows such as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Will & Grace,” “Modern Family,” “Transparent,” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Wrote critic Mel Gussow in The New York Times, “The lonely but far-from-forlorn hero of Harvey Fierstein’s ‘Torch Song Trilogy’ is a die-hard romantic who takes his heart, soul and fatalism from the 1920s ballads that give the work its title and its tone. At the end of a long, infinitely rewarding evening in the company of Arnold and his family and friends, he confesses with a sigh that he has always wanted exactly the life that his mother has had — ‘with certain minor alterations.’” Torch Song in its new abbreviated form returned to Broadway in 2018, directed by Moisés Kaufman, starring Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl, in a triumphant production that was hailed again by The New York Times as “A seriously entertaining interpretation of living large as a proactive defense against feeling small.” Entertainment Weekly noted the show, “brings laughter and tears simultaneously. It's impossible not to feel electricity in the theater,” while The Hollywood Reporter called it “profoundly moving.” 
The cast for this production features Dean Linnard, making his MTC debut as Arnold Beckoff. Linnard has been seen in the Bay Area in Born With Teeth (Aurora Theatre Company), Octet (Berkeley Rep), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Winter’s Tale (California Shakespeare Theater), Twelfth Night, The Three Musketeers, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Marin Shakespeare Company), Bad Jews, Hand to God (Left Edge Theatre). He received San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC) Awards for Groundhog Day: The Musical and Indecent at San Francisco Playhouse. New York credits include the world premiere of Dave Harris’ Tambo & Bones at Playwrights Horizons.  
Appearing as Mrs. Beckoff, Arnold’s mother, is Nancy Carlin, returning to MTC where she appeared in All in the Timing and My Old Lady. Carlin is well known to theatre audiences around the Bay for her frequent appearances at A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Playhouse, and most recently, at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in Steel Magnolias. Beyond the Bay, she has been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, among others. 
Featured as Ed, a closeted schoolteacher with whom Arnold attempts a relationship, is Patrick Andrew Jones, who has been seen on stages across the country and around the Bay, including A.R.T./NY, The Lark, Hudson Stage, The Brick, The Kraine Theater, San Francisco Playhouse, Capital Repertory Theatre, Pacific Repertory Theater, Berkeley Rep, A.C.T., Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and Teatro Delle Due (Italian tour). His film and television credits include “The Worst Best Man Ever,” “The Traumatist,” “The Food That Built America” “Empires,” and “Diarra from Detroit.” 
Appearing as Laurel, the woman Ed marries, is Kina Kantor who has performed with the Magic Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A.C.T., TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, San Francisco Mime Troupe, San Francisco Playhouse, Bindlestiff Studio, Theatre Rhinoceros, and The Rueff at The Strand Theatre.  
Edric Young plays Alan, a handsome young model. Young has been seen locally with African-American Shakespeare Company, Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company, San Francisco Playhouse, Theatre Rhinoceros, and Stanford Asian American Theater Project. 
Joe Ayers will portray David, a troubled gay teenager. Ayer’s credits include work on and offstage at companies such as Asolo Rep, American Stage, A.C.T, California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Playhouse, Berkeley Playhouse, Los Altos Stage Company, and New Canon Theatre Company. 
Director Evren Odcikin is a Turkish-American director, writer, and arts leader with a commitment to advocating for historically excluded stories and voices in the American theatre. His directing credits include work at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Northern Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, PlayCo, American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Rep, Geva, South Coast Rep, the Kennedy Center, The Lark, InterAct, Cleveland Public Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread, Crowded Fire Theater, and Magic Theatre, amongst many others. As a playwright and translator, he has been commissioned and produced by California Shakespeare Theater, NYU Abu Dhabi, Golden Thread, Crowded Fire Theatre, and Custom Made Theatre Co. In 2023, he served as the interim artistic director at OSF, where he had been the associate artistic director and director of artistic programming since 2019. Recognitions include a “Theatre Worker You Should Know” feature in American Theatre magazine; a National Director’s Fellowship from the O’Neill, National New Play Network, the Kennedy Center, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation; and a TITAN Award from Theatre Bay Area. 
The design team bringing this production of Torch Song to life on stage will include Sarah Phykitt (set design), Ray Oppenheimer (lighting design), Lana Palmer (sound design), and Jessie Amoroso (costume design). 


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