Monday, October 13, 2008

The Big Voice goes to Allentown, PA!

Does this photo look familiar?

How about this one?

My friend, Dean Hiatt (L), a survivor of ex-gay programs, has created a theater company in his MCC church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. And they've decided to do "The Big Voice" as their first production. Jim and I feel so honored! Dean is playing Jim and that's Jim Lamb playing Steve. They're raising the money for the production on eBay and getting local vendors to donate lights and sets and costumes for the company. Here is the email he sent out a little while ago:

Thanks to our webangel, Michelle, our website is up and running. We are still making changes and adding to it, but go take a look. Everything you need to know about the company and our upcoming season will be there.
We are just a afew weeks away from our opening of "The Big Voice: God or Merman?", and, believe me, things are heating up!! The performances are Friday, November 14th at 8pm and Saturday, November 15th at 2pm and 7pm. Suggested Donation at the door of $15. We also have a program for free admittance for those who can't afford to pay if you contact us and let us know.
Jim Lamb and I (and our BRILLIANT ACCOMPANIST, LAWRENCE SARWONO) are rehearsing like crazy every Friday night from 7-10pm, Saturday from 11am - 8pm, and Sundays from 2pm-8pm - also with the help of our assistant director, Bruce F. Brown (a lifesavor who heard about us and volunteered his services). We also have the help of Erica Hoelscher as our costume director (heads costume department at Lehigh Valley University) and Susan Ragusa (heads lighting at Lehigh Valley University) - WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS!!!! And the rest of our tech staff who you can check out on our website. Please do!!
Fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds from the matinee of this show will go to F.A.C.T. (Facing AIDS Continuously Together), who does great work in PA. To learn more about the incredible work they do for, check them out at In fact, 50% of the proceeds from each show we do will benefit a GLBTA or allied organization in our region or other areas of the state of PA - next year we will donate 100% of the matinee proceeds to the matinee recipients. Again, check out our website for the matinee recipients of our 4 productions for this season.
Jim and I performed scenes from "Big Voice" at Allentown Pride in the Park in August and the FACT Summer Games benefit in September. We also shared tables at the MCCLV booths at these events, as well as Reading Pride.
Am in the midst of selling ads for our program, so let me know if you have any leads. Have to have them in by October 30th.
Since we are just starting up, we have no budget until after our first weekend of shows. We held a fundraiser in May to pay for start-up expenses for our first show (royalties and rental fees). So, we are holding an auction on EBAY to raise money for our lights, light board and dimmer packs. Thus far, we have raised $258 - and need another $250 to cover the costs. I have been receiving donations from church members and friends and trying to get them listed as fast as possible. It takes a LOT of time - photographing, writing up descriptions, then downloading everything onto the EBAY site. Unfortunately, between working on selling program ads, getting out flyers and press releases, supervising the tech areas for the show, working on getting the lighting system installed, directing the show, and trying to get all of my lines and music learned (since I am also one of the 2 characters in the show) - as well as working my part-time job and traveling and hour to and from the Poconos for rehearsals and meetings - IT'S A LITTLE CRAZY!! Hopefully, will get a larger volunteer staff to help me out as we get our first season underway.
Have received and signed the contract with Paula Martinac to produce her show, "Their Town", as our second production in February. It is a comedy dealing with gay marriage rights. As of this moment, I will be directing this show as well - unless God drops someone in my path who is willing to do so, and then maybe I can just concentrate on getting our theater company more organized. Will be holding open auditions for this show the weekend after "Big Voice".
Am also in the process of finding people interested in directing, choreographing and performing in our future productions.
Am in the process of choosing one-acts for our May and August productions.
We have had great support from Panzee Press, PA Diversity Network, FACT, OUT in the Lehigh Valley, our regional MCC office, as well as some other groups in getting the word out about our theater company and our first show - for which we are GREATLY APPRECIATIVE!!
This is an exciting time for us and we hope that you will be able to attend our first show!!
Dean Hiatt
Artistic Director

1 comment:

JoyZeeBoy said...

And, depending on the timing, I'll be there to see it!

Allentown isn't that far from where I live in central NJ... and I have friends who live there whom I'll happily bring with me.