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San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Has Announced First Season of Programming Featuring Alex Newell and More

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Has Announced First Season of Programming Featuring Alex Newell and More

On the heels of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' [SFGMC] launch of the public phase of their capital campaign to support the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts, SFGMC Artistic Director Dr. Timothy Seelig and Executive Director Chris Verdugo announced today the first season of programming to take place at the Center. Programming will bring audience members closer to renowned music artists, arts organizations, and SFGMC members. The season is anchored by two major event series: Behind the Curtain, featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of Broadway, opera, pop artists, and composers; and a collaboration with Opera Parallèle to present Harvey Milk: The Bullhorn Series. The season will also feature the new Cabaret 170 and a rare performance by Bejing Queer Choir. All events will take place at National LGBTQ Center for the Arts (170 Valencia St., San Francisco), with tickets available online at sfgmc.org.

"Over the last 41 years, if the Chorus wanted to present unique programming, we were under the constraints of renting a space somewhere in the Bay Area," says Seelig. "Now, owning our own performance space that seats 320 and has a stage, has opened up our options immeasurably. It is now ours to allow our imaginations to run wild, and we have. This spring and summer we open our doors to a dazzling array of talent from-the cast of Hamilton to the Beijing Queer Chorus. We are kicking off the programming at the Arts Center with a bang."

Verdugo adds, "By bringing creative artists at the top of their form from a broad spectrum of communities and genres, the Center distinguishes itself as a true new venue for artistic collaboration, community outreach, and social justice. It is beyond exciting to suddenly be in a position to imagine, create, and be a magnet for artist expression of every kind-centering around the LGBTQ community and our allies."

The Behind the Curtain series presents an exciting opportunity to share an intimate evening with artists most have only seen from afar and on stage. Each event will include a moderated panel, an interview, or presentation by the guest artist as well as an audience Q&A. The inaugural event takes place Sunday, February 23 at 5 p.m. and features cast members of the San Francisco company of HAMILTON, who will share stories and insights about performing in the world's biggest show. Moderated by San Francisco Chronicle arts and culture reporter Tony Bravo, the audience will learn about the artists' personal journeys, as well as what they've learned about themselves and our nation while performing at BroadwaySF's Orpheum Theatre. Discussion topics include what it means to be an LGBTQ artist in a Broadway show in 2020, as well as techniques to stay present and in tip-top shape to perform eight times a week. Additional events in the series will feature Alex Newell of the hit television series "Glee" on Thursday, March 26; Terrance Kelly, Artistic Director of Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, on Saturday, April 11; Deborah Voigt, American soprano on Friday, May 8; and more to be announced at a later date. Single tickets are $20-$30 and available online now at sfgmc.org.

In partnership with Opera Parallèle's new production of Harvey Milk, performing in May 2020, SFGMC presents Harvey Milk: The Bullhorn Series, a four-part series of conversations and performance previews that elevate LGBTQ voices and inspire civic activism in a new generation of voters and citizens. Guests include former California State Senator Mark Leno, former City Supervisor with Harvey Milk Carol Ruth Silver, singer/songwriter and activist Holly Near, Eric Marcus, podcast host and author of "Making Gay History," Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and more. The series will explore Milk's legacy, shine a light on issues that are facing the community today, and celebrate those who are working to address them. Dates are Tuesdays February 11, March 3, April 14, and May 5 at 7 p.m. Series tickets are $80, with single tickets available for $25, available online now at operaparallele.org/bullhorn.

The National LGBTQ Center for the Arts will also host choral groups from around the United States and the world. On March 19 at 7 p.m., the Center will welcome Director Barry Torres and the St. Lawrence University's Laurentian Singers, a select undergraduate vocal ensemble. Their far-ranging repertoire is drawn from traditional choral sources as well as world and popular idioms. This event will also feature Kearns High School Choir from Salt Lake City together with SFGMC's ensembles. Complimentary tickets, with a suggested donation, will be available in late February. On Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m., the Center will host Cabaret 170, a ravishing, outrageous, and heartwarming evening of song and performances by Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles's Aftershock and SFGMC's HomoPhonics and The Lollipop Guild ensembles. Tickets range in price from $25-$50 and will be available in February. Finally, in a rare appearance, Bejing Queer Choir, a semiprofessional mixed choir will perform on Friday, June 26. It is the first publicly performing LGBTQ choir in Mainland China, and is one of the first two Asian choirs attending international LGBTQ choral festivals.

For additional information on National LGBTQ Center for the Arts programming, visit sfgmc.org/arts-center-events.

Photo Credit: Brian Ziff


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