TOSOS and Iconoclast produce two great gay plays this summer

An App. A Hook Up. Wanderlust. … A Father. An Estranged Son. A Reality TV Show. Grab your tickets to two great, original gay plays. In partnership this summer, TOSOS and Iconoclast will bring to the stage, first, during Gay Pride Month, Grindr The Opera, followed by TOSOS’s presentation of Robert Macke’s House Of Chavis in July. 

Grindr The Opera is Erik Ransom’s original, operatic parody about the hook-up app that changed gay life as we know it. 

Composer/Lyricist/Writer Erik Ransom states, “The advent of Grindr represents a huge paradigm shift in the way queer people seek out connection, and I find it fascinating how it spread out into straight culture as well when apps like Tinder and Bumble started to crop up.  My goal in writing the show was to raise questions about how our most basic evolutionary imperatives are affected by the rapid advancement of technology and how well we, as a society, are keeping up with these novel trends.”

In Robert Macke’s play, House of Chavis, a father discovers his estranged son is competing on a reality television series … as a drag queen. The play is a funny and moving exploration of the ties that bind families, both biological and chosen, as well as the forces that drive them apart. 

Playwright Robert Macke writes “It is a portrayal of how toxic masculinity can forever damage the relationships between queer youth and their parents. My religious upbringing skewed my understanding of reconciliation — wrongdoings were to be stored up until you met up with a priest in an ornate closet. This play is about a man looking for absolution, but there is no priest and there is no ornate closet. However, there is a camera crew and a reality TV producer.”

Grindr the Opera will perform live in concert at the Green Room 42. The concert, co-produced by TOSOS and Iconoclast Theatre Collective, will have two performances ONLY on June 17th and June 24. Performances are at 9:30 p.m. To purchase tickets or find out more information https://thegreenroom42.venuetix.com/

House of Chavis is produced by TOSOS, directed by Mark Finley and begins previews July 13 with opening night on July 16th at the Flea Theater, where it runs through August 6th. Performances are at 7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday (Tickets start at $40). To purchase tickets or find out more information: www.tososnyc.org/houseofchavis

Meet the Team

ERIK RANSOM (He/His) is an award-winning, internationally produced writer, composer and performer. His magnum opus, GRINDR The Opera, won London’s 2019 Off West End Award for Best New Musical, and has been produced across the U.S. Other works include: Coming, Shooting Star (Ovation Award nominee) and More Than All the World, a musical retelling of Marlowe’s “Edward II”. Erik starred in and wrote songs for the feature film, “Happy Yummy Chicken” featuring Taryn Manning, and served as lead comedy writer for The Celebrity Roast of Michael Musto, presented by Rosie O’Donnell and hosted by Bruce Vilanch. 

RACHEL KLEIN (She/Her) is a NYC based director who The New York Times has praised: “What makes this show pop is the bracing vision of its director, Rachel Klein.” Off-Broadway Direction: Red Roses, Green Gold (The Minetta Lane Theatre/ft. music of the Grateful Dead), Around the World in 80 Days (The Davenport Theatre) The Anthem (The Lynn Redgrave Theatre.) Selected NYC and Regional: The Suffragist (Gallagher Bluedorn Theatre) 54 the Musical (House of Independents) and Secret Summer: An Immersive Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Foundry.) Rachel is the Director and Showrunner of the hit audio series, The World to Come.

ANDY PETERSON (He/His) is an award winning composer, orchestrator and musical director. Composer credits: The World To Come (audio series), Razorhurst (NJ, Sydney), Stalker: The Musical (New York, Chicago, Sydney. Selected Musical Director/Arranger/Orchestrator credits: BROADWAY: Tootsie (Marquis Theatre), My One and Only: In Concert (Stephen Sondheim Theatre) OFF-BROADWAY: Red Roses, Green Gold (Minetta Lane Theatre), Atomic (Theatre Row). Install musical director for new shows on Celebrity Beyond and Universal Studios Beijing. 

ROBERT MACKE (he/him) is a bisexual playwright based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2019, he graduated with an MFA in Playwrighting from The University of Idaho where The Last Mother in the House of Chavis was originally workshopped. Robert’s plays have been performed at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival and Know Theatre of Cincinnati. His works include The Kingdoms at Hand but the Games AfootGolcondaIf A Tree Falls…,and Space Pornography 2000: A Crowdsourced Musical with music and lyrics by James Allen. He shares a writing credit with Alexx Rouse for their short play A Rolling Stone Gathers No Loss. If you would like to see what Robert is up to, you can find him on twitch.tv/angelamurkrow every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday morning.

MARK FINLEY (He/Him) is the artistic director of TOSOS and has directed many of its acclaimed productions including Doric Wilson’s “Street Theater, a 2016 Innovative Theater (IT) Award Winner for Outstanding Revival.  He made his Off-Broadway directorial debut with Chris Weikel’s “Penny Penniworth,” and most recently directed the TOSOS production of Byron Loyd’s “Rebel Boy Fireworks (which premiered at the United Solo Arts Festival) and Virginia Baeta’s “Damaged Goods (Emerging Artists). Mark is also an author, an actor and a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

About TOSOS and Iconoclast

TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence) is New York City’s oldest and longest producing professional LGBTQIA+ theater company. In 1974, Off-Off-Broadway veteran Doric Wilson, cabaret star Billy Blackwell and director Peter dell Valle, started the first professional gay theatre company in NYC. It was called The Other Side of Silence—TOSOS for short. In 2002, directors Mark Finley and Barry Childs and playwright Wilson resurrected TOSOS. The company has produced over 30 mainstage shows and so many readings of new plays and works in progress we have trouble counting them all. 

ICONOCLAST THEATRE COLLECTIVE was created as a call to creative arms, a genre-defying bolt of lightning in the dark. We use theatricalized musical storytelling on and off the stage, breaking barriers and exploring new mediums in order to foster community and generate timely, resonant work. Prizing proactive thinking, listening, and craftsmanship, it is ITC’s mission to create space for daring musical theatre storytelling—even if that physically space does not exist. We understand the rules. It’s time to break them. 

This article was originally published on our sister site, Queer Forty.

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