South Carolina's First Gay Theatre, the Proud Mary Theatre Company, Debuts with I AM MY OWN WIFE

South Carolina's First Gay Theatre, the Proud Mary Theatre Company, Debuts with I AM MY OWN WIFE

The Proud Mary Theatre Company, South Carolina's first and only theatre group devoted exclusively to LGBTQ+ Stories and Voices, is proud to announce its first MainStage show, "I Am My Own Wife" by Doug Wright, on Nov.1-11 in Spartanburg and Greenville.

Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award, "I Am My Own Wife" is based on a true story, and inspired by interviews conducted by the playwright. Our debut show stars Upstate actor Dave LaPage (recently in "Death and the Maiden" and "Am I Dead?" at Centre Stage and "Important Hats of the Twentieth Century" at The Warehouse Theatre) in 30 different roles in this fascinating tale of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a real-life German Transwoman (a self-described transvestite) who managed to survive both the Nazis and the East German Communist regime, as well as operate a museum and an underground gay and lesbian support group.

Robert Fuson (Guerrilla Shakespeare Company's "Romeo and Juliet" and "To Feel Together: A One-Woman Show on Consent" and Edward Albee's "Zoo Story" at The Warehouse Theatre) will direct.

"This play is so unique in its structure and unlikely heroine," said Proud Mary Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Sandy Staggs. "Charlotte's incredible true memoir is told by one actor in 30 different and distinct roles and spans some 50 years. Audiences are in for a real treat."

Gay-themed plays and musicals can be seen periodically at local college theatres, and other community and professional theatres have, on occasion, staged mainstream gay-themed works like "Angels in America" and "The Cake" (at The Warehouse Theatre in December) or shows with minor stereotypical gay characters like "Legally Blonde: The Musical" recently at Spartanburg Little Theatre.

"But what makes Proud Mary unique is that we are focused exclusively on gay playwrights, voices, stories and characters," said Staggs, who is also publisher of the niche online magazine Carolina Curtain "Our goal is to present works that celebrate diversity and tolerance and tell stories no other theatre company in the Upstate is telling."

"Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, even our red state, and the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage and equal rights for the LGBTQ community," he said. "This is the 21st century and I believe Upstate audiences are ready for something different and will attend gay theatre."

"We launched officially on August 1, and the support has, thus far, been overwhelmingly positive," Staggs said. "And Proud Mary has just received the endorsement of Chapman Cultural Center with a matching grant."

"In our first MainStage season, Proud Mary will also present a hilarious award-winning lesbian comedy, a campy Southern satire with music and a drag queen, and a local original avant-garde piece created by one the Upstate's best-known directors," he added.

Proud Mary Theatre Company has already hosted three events including Drag Queen Storytime with Princess Onya and a staging of "The Gay Marriage Plays" and is planning more including staged readings and a "Gay on Broadway" musical evening."

"Everyone is welcome at the Proud Mary Theatre Company, both on stage and in the audience."

What: "I Am My Own Wife" by Doug Wright
When & Where: Nov. 1-3, 2017 at Unitarian Universalist Church, 210 Henry Place, Spartanburg
When & Where: Nov. 10-11, 2017 at The Ninjaplex, 188 Kerns Ave., Greenville
Time: All shows are at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $10

SEASON TICKETS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE! Experience all 4 shows for only $35.
5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE - February 1-11, 2018 at Converse College
GAY IN THE SOUTH: An Original Devised Performance Piece - May 2018 at USC Upstate
SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES - August 2018 at Locations in Spartanburg & Greenville TBA

This program is funded in part by Chapman Cultural Center, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

The mission of the Proud Mary Theatre Company, a non-profit and non-professional theatre, is to present LGBTQ+ voices and stories in Spartanburg and the entire Upstate region through innovative theatrical plays: compelling dramas, rib-tickling comedies, campy musicals, and local original works and avant-garde pieces that celebrate diversity and tolerance.

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