Forward Theater Company And The Fair Wisconsin Education Fund Present A Staged Reading of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays April 22 At Overture Center

Madison, WI -- “I do.” Two little words, and suddenly your whole world changes.

Forward Theater Company will present a staged reading of Standing on Ceremony, an evening of new short plays focusing on marriage equality and the moments before, during, and after saying “I do.” The event, which will be held Sunday, April 22nd at 7:00pm in the Playhouse at Overture, is a fundraiser for the Fair Wisconsin Education Fund, an LGBT advocacy group. Tickets (available for a suggested donation of $20 apiece) may be purchased at fairwisconsin.com.

Conceived by Brian Shnipper, Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays began as a series of benefit events in Los Angeles, then moved to Off-Broadway. Witty, warm, and occasionally wacky, the plays celebrate equality, the universal challenges of relationships, and the often hilarious power of love.

“We are extremely pleased to be presenting a staged reading of this remarkable work,” said Jennifer Uphoff Gray, Forward Theater’s Artistic Director. “The plays are extraordinary – some funny, some tragic, and all very timely,” she added. “Since Forward’s mainstage offering, Love Stories, focuses on marriage from a historical perspective, we thought it would be interesting to also examine marriage in a very contemporary context.”

Richard Ganoung, a member of Forward Theater’s advisory company, initially brought the project to the theater company, and will be performing in one of the plays. “As an actor, it’s really gratifying to work with such an array of talent. Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Artistic Director C. Michael Wright will be directing several of the plays, as will Jen Gray and FTC’s artistic associate Frank Honts. And the actors we’ve been able to recruit from Madison, Milwaukee, Spring Green. . . they all just want to be part of it. They are all volunteering their time, to be part of this amazing play.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Forward Theater Company on this exciting project. It’s wonderful to be part of such a powerful event that brings the broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied community together to celebrate the different ways that the community exemplifies the institution of marriage,” stated Katie Belanger, Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin Education Fund. “We thank Forward Theater Company for their work to support Fair Wisconsin Education Fund’s efforts to build more inclusive communities and workplaces for LGBT Wisconsinites.”

The nine plays that make up Standing On Ceremony were created by a group of critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights with two Pulitzer Prizes, four Obies, one Emmy® and three Tony® nominations between them. The short plays include:

“Traditional Wedding,” by Mo Gaffney, centers on a long-married lesbian couple reminiscing about their wedding. It features Jessica Lanius and Stephanie Monday.

“The Revision,” by Jordan Harrison, is an amusing look at how two men might rewrite their vows to more accurately reflect the limited options currently available to a gay couple. It features Bruce Bradley and Bill Bolz.

“This Flight Tonight,” by Wendy MacLeod, asks if there is any hope for happiness when a lesbian marriage begins in Iowa. It features familiar FTC actresses Georgina McKee and Marti Gobel.

“On Facebook,” by Doug Wright, was adapted from an actual Facebook thread chronicling one long fight among friends on the subject of gay marriage. It features FTC advisory company members Michael Herold, Sam White, and Karen Moeller, along with Travis Knight, Tara Ayres, and Susan Sweeney.

“Strange Fruit,” by Neil LaBute, is the story of two men in love whose plans to get married “the old-fashioned way” are thwarted when reality rears its ugly head. It features FTC advisory company member Richard Ganoung and Milwaukee actor T. Stacy Hicks.

“The Gay Agenda,” by Paul Rudnick, is a sadly hilarious plea for understanding by an Ohio homemaker and member of Focus on the Family. It features FTC advisory company member Jim Buske and APT actress Tracy Michelle Arnold.

“My Husband,” by Paul Rudnick, puts a hilarious gay twist on the stereotype of the Jewish mother desperate to marry off her children. It features FTC advisory company member Sarah Day, and FTC favorite Nick Harazin.

“London Mosquitoes,” by Moisés Kaufman, is the poignant story of a widower trying to make sense of the loss of his longtime partner. It features Milwaukee actor Norman Moses.

“Pablo and Andrew at the Altar of Words,” by José Rivera, is a moving play about two men who use their marriage vows to “say the things we never really say.” It features UW Madison MFA candidate Santiago Sosa and Ryan Schabach.

The Fair Wisconsin Education Fund (FWEF) was formed in 2002 as a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to educate the general public about the harms of discrimination towards LGBT individuals and build more inclusive communities and workplaces for LGBT Wisconsinites. FWEF employs legislative drafting, communications, outreach and legal challenge preparation to reach these goals.

Standing on Ceremony
"★★★★! ROARS OF LAUGHTER!"
-TimeOut New York
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“FUNNY AND MOVING. A STAGED CELEBRATION of how changing laws are changing lives.”
-The New York Times

Posted on 4-4-12