2013-07-04 / Entertainment

3rd Annual Summer Pride Festival Announced

Photo courtesy Chandler Music Hall Photo courtesy Chandler Music Hall The Northfield News

This year’s Summer Pride Festival at Chandler, July 12-14 and July 19-21, features celebrities who will introduce the six performances at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph. After each play there will be a talkback, then both the audience and cast members will be invited to a reception.

At 7:00 PM on Friday July 12 Gregory Maguire, acclaimed author of Wicked, will introduce the Vermont premiere of Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufmann. The blockbuster musical adaptation of Maguire’s book created a sensation when it opened at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway, where it still plays to sold-out houses. Wicked is the first book in his fantasy series that looks at the back- and side-stories of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, The Wizard of Oz. Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University. His work as a consultant in creative writing for children has taken him to speaking engagements across the country and abroad. The author of numerous books for children, he is also a contributor to “Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence”, a collection of short stories for gay and lesbian teenagers.

The Vermont premiere of Claudia Allen’s Hannah Free will be introduced at 7:00 PM on Saturday July 13 by Vermont attorney Susan Murray. She was influential in Baker v. State of Vermont, which established a constitutional right to marriage equality for same-sex couples; and prior to that, was instrumental in lobbying for the passage of Vermont’s civil-union law. Ms. Murray is an officer and board member of the Vermont Fund for Families. She received her law degree from the New York University School of Law and is a partner at Langrock, Sperry & Wool in Burlington.

At 7:00 PM on Sunday July 14 playwright Martin Casella will introduce the world premiere of his prize-winning new play, Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead. The plays in his extensive catalogue have received critical acclaim and been performed in the US and abroad. His TV projects include the film Behind the Lens for CBS; and Daddy’s Girl, a pilot of HBO. His screenplay One Night Stand was directed by Talia Shire. Mr. Casella is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and currently teaches playwriting at the Harvey Milk High School in Manhattan. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writer’s Guild of America, Actor’s Equity Association, and the Screen Actors Guild.

At 6:30 PM on Saturday July 20 photographer Evie Lovett and interviewer Greg Sharrow will host “Transformations”, an indepth look at the Vermont Folklife Center’s audio-visual exhibit, “Backstage at the Rainbow Cattle Company”, on display in the Esther Mesh Room through July 21. In this exhibit, Lovett offers viewers a unique and highly personal portrait of drag queens in rural Vermont, documenting backstage preparations for the monthly show at the now-defunct Rainbow Cattle Company in Dummerston. Sharrow’s interviews provide a rare glimpse into the thought processes and decision-making of drag performers. The repeat performance of Casella’s new play will follow their presentation.

At 7:00 PM on Sunday July 21 Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will introduce the repeat performance of Gross Indecency. His career in public service began more than 30 years ago, when at the age of 24 he was elected to serve on his town’s selectboard. In 1990 he was appointed by Governor Madeleine Kunin to fill an empty seat in the Vermont House of Representatives, where he served for 3 years. Mr. Shumlin then represented Windham County for 8 terms in the Vermont Senate, during most of that time leading his Senate colleagues as President pro tem. First elected Governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2012, the focus of his time in that office has been job creation, health care, expanding broadband and cell service, investing in education, and rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene.

The introducer for the Friday July 19 repeat performance of Hannah Free is yet to be announced.

Adult tickets for Summer Pride performances are $17 in advance, $20 day of show; for students, $12 in advance, $15 day of show. These are available on-line at www.chandler-arts.org or by calling the Chandler box office (802) 728-6464 between 3- 6 PM on weekdays.

A 3-play pass is available for the price of 2 plays, but only if ordered directly from the box office before Thursday July 18.

The festival has generous sponsorship support from the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Vermont and the Samara Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation. Vermont Public Radio is the media sponsor.

The annual Summer Pride Festival at Chandler -– the only one of its kind in the state — was inaugurated in 2011 as a way to facilitate conversations among gay and lesbian

Vermonters, their friends and family members, and the broader community.

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