Described as “Mad Men meets Milk,” this witty, intelligent and moving play opens the closet doors on lovers Harry Hay and Rudi Gernreich in 1950’s Los Angeles as they build the Mattachine Society, the first gay rights organization in the United States.
WHEN: August 29 through September 16*
For Rep Stage’s Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stebbins, The Temperamentals holds a special place in his heart. “In 2009 I purchased tickets to see The Temperamentals Off-Broadway. I took my mentor, friend, and ‘gay uncle’ Walt Witcover. Walt just recently entered into a very difficult time in his life. This is a man I've known for over 25 years — he’ll be 88 later this month. Walt's partner of 36 years passed away in 1996. They called me the son they never had. Walt and his partner, Richard, talked about their experiences being gay in the 50's, being entrapped by policemen, finding safe houses for gay men where they could go to be themselves, clubs both social and sexual. What courage and strength it took to be ‘out’ in those days — to fight for rights and/or recognition. After seeing The Temperamentals, I thought of it as a dedication to all of those who persevered so that people like me could live the life that I lead today. When the lights came up after the performance, Walt and I sat for a long time and talked about it. It was important to both of us. I've been so fortunate to explore these worlds, meet some of these people. Plays like The Temperamentals make me wonder about the oh-so-many men and women who I'll never meet, never know, who helped to make our world a better and more accepting place.”
Of the 2010 Drama Desk Award-winning play, Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote: “Amazing, isn’t it, what could be hidden behind those sober jackets and ties that made American men look all but interchangeable in the early 1950s…Marans’ eminently likable docudrama about gay identity in the age of Eisenhower begins with a classic vision of mid-20th-century uniformity… guys in off-the-peg suits, as anonymous as the standard-issue…Yet it doesn’t make the mistake of letting its characters exchange one set of stereotypical traits (timid, oppressed, self-loathing) for another (confident, assertive, proud). The diversity that’s celebrated here is within each of the individuals portrayed. This awareness of the lively inconsistencies that teem within any personality makes The Temperamentals more than just an inspirational history lesson.”
*A post-show reception follows the Saturday, September 1, 8 PM evening performance and free post-show discussions follow the Friday, September 7 and 14 performances. There will be a pre-show lecture discussing aspects of the history of the Mattachine Society before the Saturday, September 15 matinee performance beginning at 12:30 PM in Monteabaro Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public and is subject to change. No tickets are needed for the lecture. For further information, visit www.repstage.org or call 443.518.1500.
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Rick Hammerly (Bob Hull/George Shibley/Others) has performed Off Broadway, regionally and locally, receiving a 2003 Helen Hayes Award for his turn as Hedwig in Signature Theatre’s production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as nominations for his work as Prior Walter in Angels in America and Me and Jezebel, as a post-stroke Bette Davis. In 2009, he became a founding company member of Factory 449: a theatre collective and has since produced their productions of 4.48 Psychosis, The Saint Plays, Magnificent Waste and The Ice Child. He currently serves as the producing artistic director for Factory 449, a 2011 Helen Hayes Award recipient of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. A Washington area native, Mr. Hammerly received his master’s degree in Film and Video Production from American University in 2006. His debut film, signage, which he wrote, directed and produced, has screened in over 60 film festivals world wide, garnered six festival awards and was licensed by MTV for their LOGO Channel. He is currently completing his second master’s degree, in Arts Management, at American University and is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Vaughn Irving (Chuck Rowland/Vincente/Others) is making his Rep Stage debut. New to the DC area, local credits include: Disney’s Mulan, and Wind in the Willows at Imagination Stage, Rock Bottom: A Rock Opus with Landless Theatre Co., and most recently Superhero Celebrity Rehab: the Musical (Winer of the 2012 Capital Fringe Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Musical). Mr. Irving's regional theatre credits include Wayside Theatre in VA, Totem Pole Playhouse in PA, Cumberland Theatre in MD, Drury Lane in IL, The Old Creamery Theatre Co. in IA, Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse in IL, and Post Playhouse in NE. Originally from Santa Fe, NM, he holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University, is on the faculty of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Brandon McCoy (Dale/Nigel/Others) returns to Rep Stage having previously been seen in The Glass Menagerie, In the Heart of America and Hamlet. Recent DC area credits include New Jerusalem and The History of Invulnerability at Theatre J; Pride and Prejudice at Round House Theatre; Touch with No Rules Theatre Company; Harvey, Apocalyptic Butterflies, and Picnic with The Bay Theatre Company; and Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven at Studio Theatre 2nd Stage. He is an adjunct of Acting and Voice at HCC and The Catholic University of America, as well as the Resident Teaching Artist with the Compass Rose Studio Theater in Annapolis. Next, he will be directing To Kill A Mockingbird for the Compass Rose Studio Theater and acting in Theatre J’s production of Apples from the Desert.
Rep Stage stalwart Nigel Reed (Harry Hay) returns to Rep Stage where, in 2002, he received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss. Other Rep Stage roles include John Barrymore in Barrymore, Aunt Augusta in Travels With My Aunt, Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted, Claudius in Hamlet, Trigorin in The Seagull, Frank Hardy in Faith Healer, Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story, Ambrosio in Ambrosio, Sterling in Jeffery, and Baron Van Swieten in Amadeus. Mr. Reed is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Alexander Strain (Rudi Gernreich/Woman #4) is no stranger to Rep Stage, having appeared in In the Heart of America and Bach at Leipzig. Mr. Strain is well known to DC/Baltimore audiences, having acted in numerous productions at The Everyman, The Washington Shakespeare Company, The Roundhouse Theatre, Theatre Alliance, Forum Theatre (company member) and most recently at Theatre J, where he reprised his 2010 role of Baruch Spinoza in New Jerusalem and appeared as Caleb DeLeon in The Whipping Man. He is also a Boomerang Fund for Artists Grant Award Recipient and a member of Actors’ Equity.
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