Staging a queer comeback

Here's a roundup of homo-friendly shows to see this Pride weekend


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Want some dramatic entertainment for Pride Week? There’s lots of queer-oriented theatre and comedy around town and at the summer festivals. No surprise that Buddies in Bad Times offers some of the tastiest shows.

Curated by Erika Hennebury , the retro cabaret Can’t Stop (tonight, June 22) riffs on 70s and 80s tunes, mostly disco and rap. Look for video, music, dance and performance by the Cliks’ Lucas , Scandalnavia’s Nolan , Shane MacKinnon , Kimahli Powell , the Inflammables and the Fat Femme Mafia , hosted by Deb “Dirk” Pearce .

Buddies also offers Twenty Times Two (Friday, June 23), an evening of two-minute performances curated by R.M. Vaughan . The irrepressible Keith Cole presides, with works by Mariko Tamaki , Kirsten Johnson , Cathy Gordon , Maurice Vellekoop , Jean Yoon and others. There’s a promise of whipped cream and hoop skirts, though not necessarily in the same act.

If comedy’s your thing, Buddies presents Homo Night In Canada (Saturday, June 24), hosted by the B-Girlz , with queer standup by a variety of funny people, including David MacLean , Mae Martin , Ted Morris and Susan Fischer . Proceeds go to the U of T’s Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and Buddies.

Don’t overlook the next generation of LGBT artists. The Fruit Loopz Youth Stage (Saturday, June 24) in the Alexander Parkette Stage, both outside and inside Buddies, features a variety of work by up-and-comers, sponsored by Supporting Our Youth (SOY). Later that same day at the Wellesley Stage, burlesque troupe Skin Tight Outta Sight offers provocative and fun material in Iconic , a send-up of gay icons and anthems, with performers Miss Kitty Galore , Helene DuCharme and the Wet Spots .

At the launch of Lesbian Plays: Coming Of Age In Canada , you can meet the authors (including Alec Butler , Susan G. Cole , Corrina Hodgson and Lisa Walter ) and hear them read from their works (Friday, June 23, at the NOW Lounge).

Several ongoing shows have gay content or are written by queer artists. Michael John LaChiusa changes the gender of characters in Hello Again , his take on the daisy-chain-structured La Ronde, and ends up with two pairs of male lovers. Soulpepper has a go at Oscar Wilde ‘s bon-mot-filled The Importance Of Being Earnest , with Damien Atkins as Algernon. Puppetmeister extraordinaire Ronnie Burkett ‘s latest, 10 Days On Earth , looks at a developmentally challenged man suddenly bereft of his care-giving mother.

If you want a trip outside T.O., you can catch gay-authored works at Stratford and Shaw and indulge your inner (or outer) Broadway show queen. Shaw’s presenting Noel Coward ‘s Design For Living , directed by Morris Panych and designed by his partner, Ken MacDonald , about an emotionally tangled threesome (two men and a woman) also on the season’s bill is the Cole Porter musical High Society .

At Stratford, Seana McKenna stars in Tennessee Williams ‘s delicate The Glass Menagerie . Colm Feore and Blythe Wilson anchor Lionel Bart ‘s Oliver! , and Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘s South Pacific features Cynthia Dale , Theodore Baerg and Bruce Dow .

jonkap@nowtoronto.com

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