Blue Star puts gender fluidity in the spotlight with The Lady Boys of the Peek-A-Boo Lounge

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando performer Blue Star is one person who embodies empowerment and being comfortable in your own skin. Blue came to Orlando in 2000 to attend Full Sail University after a successful dancing career in Atlanta and New York. She planned to stay for just 13 months; she never left. In 2012, Blue opened the theater The Venue.

“I just wanted a place to put on my shows,” Blue says. “But as I say now it’s not my Venue anymore, it’s Orlando’s Venue. It’s a safe place for performers to try out new things and new shows and take risks and really grow themselves.”

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Transmasculine actor Salem Brophy on transgender pronouns and plays

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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There aren’t a lot of plays like HIR out there,” Salem Brophy says. “I can’t audition as myself and just end up in a rom com… It’s important that Jobsite cast a transgender actor in this role.”

Brophy plays Max, a lead in the Jobsite Theater’s production of the pitch-black comedy HIR, pronounced “here.” It follows a suburban family comprised of a battered housewife, an Afghanistan veteran, a disabled stroke victim and Max, the transgender “leftist teenager,” as they deal with a new and absurd reality.

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Deborah Cox talks “The Bodyguard,” Whitney Houston and returning for St. Pete Pride

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist Deborah Cox says she’s excited to be back in Tampa Bay for “The Bodyguard,” having performed in the area on other tours and for St. Pete Pride celebrations.

The show’s first U.S. national tour, based on the 1992 hit film of the same name starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, is a high-energy musical playing at the Straz Center until March 25. It follows the tale of Cox’s superstar Rachel Marron, whose bodyguard Frank Farmer (played by television’s Judson Mills) is hired to protect her from an intense stalker.

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Musical sensation ‘Nunsense A-men’ comes to the Winter Park Playhouse

By : Randa Griffin and Jeremy Williams
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Anyone who has spent time at a parochial school run by Catholic fathers and sisters, where the halls are filled with the Holy Spirit and the faculty are covered in habits, know one thing for certain: nuns are hilarious.

Before Whoopi Goldberg played a showgirl-turned-nun in Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, and before Sister Rose and Sister Blanche started collecting lingerie for needy sexy people in an episode of The Golden Girls, Dan Goggin had created the hilarious musical comedy Nunsense.

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Syreeta Banks leads ‘Dreamgirls’ to the Venice Theater

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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For actress Syreeta Banks, appearing courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association in the Venice Theatre’s new production of Dreamgirls, the lead role of Effie White is a family affair.

Banks’ earliest memories of the theater stem from her mother’s production of the same Tony and Academy Award winning musical, which first premiered on Broadway in 1981. Since then, it’s launched revivals, tours and a 2006 feature film, captivating audiences on the silver screen and stage alike.

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‘Hamilton,’ ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ among the Broadway shows coming to Dr. Phillips Center

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts announced their 2018/19 FAIRWINDS Broadway series in a press release March 9.

The season will be headlined by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2015 Tony Award-winning smash hit Hamilton. Hamilton took Broadway by storm nearly three years ago going on to receive a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, and winning 11 of them including Best Musical.

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Lee Pace says he is ‘a member of the queer community’

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lee Pace has announced he is “a member of the queer community” after declining to label his sexuality in a recent interview.

W Magazine asked the 38-year-old actor about his sexuality and described him as “surprised by the question.”

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Actor Lee Pace reluctantly comes out

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Actor Lee Pace, whose acting credits include “The Hobbit” and “Pushing Daisies,” has revealed he has dated men and women but wasn’t keen to discuss his sexuality.

Pace spoke with W Magazine in promotion for his role as Joe Pitt, a closeted gay Mormon man, in the Broadway revival of “Angels in America.”

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An Homage to Five Generations of Black Entertainers in Orlando

By : Alma J. Hill
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In 1888, the first recorded arrests in the United States for female impersonation took place at the home of William Dorsey Swann, a black man.  Less than a mile from the White House, Swann and twelve other men of color were arrested and charged with vagrancy after police raided a secret drag dance he was hosting. The following day the headline in the Evening Star read “Colored Men in Female Attire.”

The erasure of the contributions and sacrifices of people of color is rampant throughout our history, not only as a country, but as a community. Individuals of color have long been an integral part of the LGBTQ community and they are deserving of recognition and praise.

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Comedian Margaret Cho on her new tour, bi-erasure and our LGBTQ family

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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“Everything about my life is intimately connected in gay history,” superstar comedian Margaret Cho says. “It’s my community; it’s where I live, where I grew up, who I am, all my friends, all my family.”

That’s been evident in Cho’s decades-long career, beginning with her stand-up in San Francisco near the gay bookstore her parents owned. It continues today with her accolades as a performer, in which her comedic takes on LGBTQ rights, sexuality, bullying and politics have led to five Grammy nominations, an Emmy nomination and being named one of Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Stand-Up Comics in 2017.

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Legendary performer Joel Grey headlines the Garden Theatre’s 10-year anniversary celebration

By : Jeremy Williams
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Few entertainers are as synonymous with a character they have portrayed as legendary actor Joel Grey is with the Emcee from Cabaret. Grey does not so much act the part as embody the character and become the master of ceremonies at the fictional Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin.

Grey performed in the original Broadway run of Cabaret as well as the 1972 film version, winning a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role. He is one of only nine performers to do so.

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New play ‘The Bigot’ heads to Shakes Orlando with a look at prejudice in America

By : Jeremy Williams
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As Donald Trump continues with his attempt to “Make America Great Again,” his presidency is having quite an impact on the world of performing arts. Artists, musicians and playwrights are using these polarizing times to create new, meaningful works that are shining bright spotlights on the dark areas of American society.

Two such artists are Gabi and Eva Mor, a married couple who live in Manhattan. Their new play, The Bigot, which opened Off-Broadway last year, heads to the John & Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center- Mandell Theater in Orlando with performances on Feb. 17-18 and 24-25.

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