THE PRIDE OF LIONS Comes to Theatre Rhinoceros Next Month

Performances run March 28-April 21.

By: Feb. 02, 2024
THE PRIDE OF LIONS Comes to Theatre Rhinoceros Next Month

GLAAD Media Award winning Theatre Rhinoceros will present the World Premiere of The Pride of Lions by acclaimed Black Filipinx playwright and Kilroys List honoree Roger Q. Mason (Lavender Men with Skylight Theatre), directed by Ely Sonny Orquiza (Driven with Theatre Rhinoceros), March 28-April 21 at Theatre Rhinoceros (4229 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114). The Pride of Lions is made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.

In 1928, five female impersonators were imprisoned for indecency after performing in Mae West’s The Pleasure Man. This is what happened on their first night in jail.

“Writing The Pride of Lions joined me with my gender-expansive self in a time when I was still developing language to love who I was fully,” said playwright Roger Q. Mason. “This play is a tribute to the people and places that helped me on that journey. Premiering the piece in San Francisco holds eminent significance for me because the Bay Area has always been at the forefront of LGBTQA+ rights, fighting vehemently for the honor and humanity of queer people everywhere.” 

The cast features Kim Larsen (The Initiation at The San Francisco Mint), Nic Moore (Red with Bread and Butter Theatre), Michael DeMartini (Caroline, or Change with Ray of Light Theatre), Brendan Looney (Hairspray with Bay Area Musicals), Patrick Chico (US Tour of My Mouth is a Volcano), and De' Sean Moore (Fences with 6th Street Playhouse). The creative team includes Lighting Design by Andrew Schmedake (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with South Coast Rep; Native Son at Center Theatre Group), Sound Design by Lana Palmer (Man of God with Shotgun Players; Josephine’s Feast with Magic Theatre), Set Design by Hector Zavala (Dream House with Cinnabar Theater), Props Design by Crystal Liu, and Costume Design by Wendell Carmichael (A Raisin in the Sun at South Coast Rep; The Bluest Eye with A Noise Within) with Dramaturg Gaven Trinidad (Theatre Communications Group 2021 Rising Leader of Color), Fight Choreographer Noah Luce (A Guide for the Homesick with Theatre Rhinoceros), Movement Choreographer Chris Steele (Cutting Ball Theater), and Intimacy Director Maya Herbsman (Clue on Stage at San Francisco Playhouse; Sanctuary City with Berkeley Rep). The Production Stage Manager will be Rachel Mogan (Resident Stage Manager at Crowded Fire Theatre). 

Performances are scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at 8pm, Friday, March 29 at 8pm, Saturday, March 30 at 8pm, Sunday, March 31 at 3pm, Thursday, April 4 at 8pm, Friday, April 5 at 8pm, Saturday, April 6 at 8pm, Sunday, April 7 at 3pm, Thursday, April 11 at 8pm, Friday, April 12 at 8pm, Saturday, April 13 at 8pm, Sunday, April 14 at 3pm, Thursday, April 18 at 8pm, Friday, April 19 at 8pm, Saturday, April 20 at 8pm, and Sunday, April 21 at 3pm. Tickets ($25-$35) are available for advance purchase at  

Roger Q. Mason (Playwright) (they/them) is a writer and performer who uses the lens of history to disrupt the biases that divide rather than unite us. Their playwriting has been seen on Broadway (Circle in the Square Reading Series); Off and Off-Off-Broadway; and regionally. Mason's World Premiere of Lavender Men was lauded by the Los Angeles Times as "evoking the mingled visions of Suzan-Lori Parks, Jeremy O. Harris and Michael R. Jackson." As a filmmaker, Mason has been recognized by the British Film Institute, Lonely Wolf International Film Festival, SCAD Film Festival, AT&T Film Award and Atlanta International Film Festival. Their films have screened in the US, UK, Poland, Brazil, and Asia. Mason holds degrees from Princeton University, Middlebury College, and Northwestern University. They are a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and Ma-Yi’s Writing Lab, as well as an alum of Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group and Primary Stages Writing Cohort. Mason has co-hosted the podcast Sister Roger’s Gayborhood and hosted This Way Out Radio's Queerly Yours: Portraits in Courage. They are a lead mentor of The Marsha P. Johnson Institute’s Starship Fellowship, the New Visions Fellowship and the Shay Foundation Fellowship. Instagram: @rogerq.mason

Ely Sonny Orquiza (Director) is a co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of The Chikahan Company. He serves as the Director of Education and Community at Magic Theatre, is a faculty member at The American Conservatory Theatre, and works as a teaching artist for Word for Word and StageBridge in the Bay Area. Orquiza was a fellow and mentor at the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Additionally, he is a Theatre Bay Area Cash Grant recipient for three-consecutive years with The Chikahan Company and a CALI Catalyst Award recipient in 2021. He has been in various work at The American Conservatory Theatre, Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire, Playwrights Foundation, The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Leviathan Lab (New York, New York), East West Players (Los Angeles), Studio 52nd (Amsterdam, Netherlands), and others. To keep in touch and learn more about his works: 

Founded in 1977, Theatre Rhinoceros (John Fisher, Executive Artistic Director) is America’s premier and longest-running queer theatre. From its inception, “The Rhino'' has been dedicated to telling the stories of the queer community and creating a welcoming home for artists who are queer or allied to the queer world. Our track record is one of bold, innovative, exciting productions emphasizing the historical underpinning of the LGBTQ+ experience while examining its present and bridging it to its future by giving voice to exciting emerging artists and fresh narratives and formats. Our diverse audiences have always been enthralled, challenged, and enlightened by our work, just as we have been inspired and energized by their enthusiasm. 

Over the years Theatre Rhinoceros has received many awards of recognition including: Theatre Rhinoceros Day in the City Proclamation from Mayor Gavin Newsom, State Assembly Certificate of Recognition from Senator Mark Leno, recognitions from Congressperson Nancy Pelosi and Assembly Persons Tom Ammiano and Carole Migden, numerous Cable Car, BATCC and TBA Awards and Nominations, and the GLAAD Media Award for Best LGBT Theatre.  

Photo Credit: Bronwen Sharp