Skip to comments.Express route to controversy in Atlanta (Pedophile Musical)
Posted on 12/19/2005 6:44:50 PM PST by wagglebee
Around the holidays, the biggest challenge for many theater companies is convincing audiences to care about yet another staging of "A Christmas Carol." This season in Atlanta, however, Actor's Express wants to stir up buzz about a less familiar property -- namely, a pedophile musical.
The Express has already started pushing "Love Jerry," a new tunertuner written and composed by Megan Gogerty that follows the tortured story of Jerry, who develops a sexual relationship with his nephew while trying to stay friends with the boy's father.
A delicate, often heart-wrenching piece of theater, the show, which preems Jan. 22 at the Express, never descends to shock-value tactics as it explores volatile terrain, and its lilting country songs give the characters emotionally vulnerable texture. Should it manage to attract a crowd, "Love Jerry" could very well leave them cheering.
But how do you convince anyone to come sing along with a child abuser? It's a double-edged question: Not only can untested musicals be notoriously hard to launch, especially when the writer is an unknown, but pedophilia (not to mention incest to boot) has proven anathema to ticket buyers.
At the movies, for example, heaps of critical praise couldn't produce box office for such abuse-oriented films as "The Woodsman," marketed as a redemption tale with a spooky secret, and "Happiness," presented as a boundary-pushing comedy. And though John Patrick ShanleyJohn Patrick Shanley's "Doubt" has had a stellar Broadway run, that play stays in more comfortable territory by never confirming whether its protagonist has molested someone or not.
In "Love Jerry," there's no question what's going on, yet Gogerty refrains from demonizing the title character. She focuses instead on the entire family's attempt to comprehend what's happened.
This moral grayness makes the play even trickier to market, yet it's also what convinced Express artistic director Jasson Minadakis to produce it. He says he "absolutely believes" in the show and is continually "shocked by how powerfully it expresses itself."
Minadakis also feels "Love Jerry" perfectly suits his theater, which has a reputation for quirky, Off Broadwayish fare, such as this season's "Bug" and "The Long Christmas Ride Home." In fact, he first heard about the script because staffers at Atlanta's Alliance Theater, where the play had been a finalist in January's graduate playwriting competition, kept saying his company should give it a home.
"I was called by just about every staff member at the Alliance and told about it," he says, and Kent Gash, the Alliance's associate a.d.a.d., eventually was hired to direct the production.
No doubt the local pedigree the Alliance confers will help boost sales, as will the advance excitement created in the theater community by the play's reading at the playwriting competition. Gogerty reports the impassioned post-reading discussion lasted 90 minutes -- as long as the play itself -- and only confirmed her belief that "if you can get people to see this thing, the word of mouth will spread like wildfire."
To get more mouths talking, Express marketing director Sherry Ward has held meetings with local abuse survivor groups. She knows, though, that some of her most important work will be in crafting the images and taglines attached to the show's publicity.
"We are kind of starting at zero with this one," she admits. "The challenge has been that when (you are) doing a musical about child abuse ... some people might think it's campy, but we also don't want to go too dark."
With that in mind, initial poster concepts featuring a man putting candy in a child's hand were jettisoned as being too frank. Now the promos are more suggestive, featuring an eerie shadow of a man in a clown nose staring into a room. (The clown refers to a somewhat supernatural character who tempts Jerry.)
But no matter what the posters' design, the show's themes may still leave many Atlantans nonplussed. The city is famously prone to legitlegit controversy. In 1993, a county commission rescinded all public arts funding rather than support a staging of Terence McNally's gay-friendly "Lips Together, Teeth Apart." And just last year, the police shut down a production of "Naked Boys Singing" -- which the Express hosted but didn't produce -- for indecency.
Add this to the general audience apathy for the unknown, and it could seem foolhardy for any Atlanta company to stray from surefire hits.
Minadakis says he and his local contemporaries remain committed to risk. He insists Atlanta's population "could be very turned on by challenging theater" as long as they keep getting the chance to see it.
"Are we making it more difficult for ourselves than we could?" he asks. "Yeah. But as a theater community that's just emerging onto the national scene, it would be wretched for us to back down."
"She focuses instead on the entire family's attempt to comprehend what's happened."
lol! MORE PROOF! Proof that dimbulbs are incapable of comprehending what is utterly wrong and disgusting about INCESTOUS PEDOPHILIA!
1 - 1 = 0
Uncle poking nephew = Prison for the Uncle
This sounds like it should be in The Onion or on Scrappleface. (shakes head)
"No doubt the local pedigree the Alliance confers will help boost sales, as will the advance excitement created in the theater community by the play's reading at the playwriting competition."
A little Atlanta background - The Alliance is the major theater company in Atlanta. It's connection with the High Museum of Art, The Woodruff (Coca-Cola money) foundation and the Woodruff Arts center make it more influential and less vulnerable than it would otherwise be if Atlanta had theater in proportion to it's population... that's a lot of establishment to put behind something like this.
They must really think it's a well written play. Even though we have the third largest gay population of any city, the Alliance doesn't do many gay plays or many plays that have just been written. And this is several steps edgier than Lolita.
(Evil laugh from the devils of the Left) -- "Comrades, our desensitization pogrom continues on schedule. Wahhh Ha Ha Ha!"
Freakingly sick ****.
The CDC confirms as much...
Atlanta's population could be very turned on"
I believe Atlanta has just the population that could be "turned on" by theatre about child abuse/pedophilia/homosexuality. It's the home of "down low" after all.
How charming. Pedophile, yes.
It's also incest. How long before they try to get that into law?
Theater has historically represented the cutting edge of societal change. Consider this an important milestone on our societal slide into hell.
Just wait til the awful, pedophile-friendly British musical "Billy Elliot" (or drama "The History Boys")hits the US. The Brits have been softening the man-boy love stuff for years now.
TOO DARK?! I am unaware of any topics that are "darker" than sexually molesting innocent children, yet they seem to be concerned about not making it seem mainstream enough. It is sickening.
There's a British version of NAMBLA?
This so-called "theater" is disturbing and disgusting. The bile kept rising up my throat as I read through the article.
The fact that such a despicable and vile topic could be discussed as though it were a proper theater event is evidence that our "culture" is heading into the abyss.
There needs to be a spiritual revival, and you know - I'm no sectarianist. Religious principles, as far as basic human moral behavior, are essentially the same in every religion in the world; even Buddhism which is atheistic has the same moral guidelines.
The aggressive secularists and those who want to destroy every vestige of human decency and morality from our laws, our culture, our entertainment, our schools - they are actually enemies of freedom. Why? I just posted this on another thread:
If you cared to read what the actual writers of the Constitution wrote about law being informed by moral values inclulcated by the religions of the world, you wouldn't be promoting animalism in the name of freedom. I realize you think you're pretty smart, and you probably are. I freely admit my lack of higher education, and inability to enter into tricky debates in legalese, and have little ability to use proper philosophy class verbiage. But the fact is that our laws have been based on the moral absolutes that are common to all theist religions, and this is not an accident.
Either we adhere to those moral absolutes, or we follow the alternative. The only alternative is what various minds of men speculate and create, and since they differ, the Big Dog wins. Jettisoning moral absolutes will develop into totalitarianism in a short time, because those who do not want your version of hedonism, aggressive secularism and immorality mandated by law will have to be forced into submission.
This was the thread:
Canadian court lifts ban on swingers clubs (Group Sex OK in Canada!)
"Reading, reflection and time have convinced me that the interests
of society require the observation of those moral precepts ... in
which all religions agree." --Thomas Jefferson
LOVE JERRY A Musical That Bravely Confronts Child Sexual Abuse
I wanted to write in and attempt to correct some misperceptions about LOVE JERRY, the new musical that is about to open at Actors Express Theatre Company in Atlanta, GA. I hope to show that the tag pedophile musical has been inappropriately attached to this play. LOVE JERRY does not in any way condone child sexual abuse nor does it glorify or exonerate Jerry, the abuser - quite the opposite.
Two Georgia child abuse prevention agencies, PREVENT CHILD ABUSE GEORGIA and STOP IT NOW! GA, have strongly endorsed this production, the script, and the music. I cannot speak more eloquently on the plays behalf than to share with you the words of Sally Thigpen (Statewide Coordinator of Stop It Now! GA):
This is a musical about family struggle and is actually scripted reality. The audience will be challenged to think about the issue in a more realistic and personal way. The stranger listed on a Child Abuse registry is not the most common risk to sexually abuse a child - it is someone that child knows and trusts, most likely someone in the family. This play unfolds this reality and honestly looks into a family, exposing all the guilt, shame, and secrets that child sexual abuse entails. It reveals the complexity for a family who both loves and hates the abuser. The play offers an amazing portrayal of behaviors by an adult abuser that could have clearly been recognized and addressed by other adults within the family, adults who could stop the progression of the abuse - essentially preventing the abuse BEFORE the child could be harmed. We see this play as an opportunity to educate the public One of the goals of Stop It Now! Georgia is educating adults in communities about how they can better prevent child sexual abuse through recognizing behaviors in others and confronting those behaviors before a child is harmed. This play truly illustrates that.
We can no longer pretend that child sexual abuse is only perpetrated by socio-paths who live on the fringes of our society. If we do, our children will continue to be victimized. We must recognize that the majority of abusers were themselves abused as children. Child sexual abuse is an insidious cycle of violence.
I believe that to make the strides necessary to eliminate child sexual abuse we must reframe the way people deal with this issue. People must be educated to identify the warning signs of child sexual abuse and they must be made aware of the dangers of turning a blind eye to those warning signs. I am producing LOVE JERRY because I believe it is an invaluable piece of art that will allow us to begin to reframe the discussion that our society must have about this horrible crime.
LOVE JERRY does not hide the facts that child sexual abuse does happen within families, that abuse can be systemic within a family and that with courage and love a family can survive child sexual abuse and the ultimate betrayal of family trust.
LOVE JERRY is not a piece of sensationalist theatre, it is not looking to exploit a very delicate issue, nor is it a piece of shock theatre. LOVE JERRY deals with a very real problem in a brave and honest format that will hopefully encourage people to learn more about how child sexual abuse can be prevented. We also hope that this play will show victims of child sexual abuse that they are not alone, that help is available, and that healing can begin.
If you care about stopping the national epidemic that is child sexual abuse, I am hopeful that you will find a way to see this important piece of theatre either here in Atlanta or at a theatre in your community.
If you know someone who is a victim of child abuse please share the following information:
Childhelp USA®, National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD® (1-800-422-4453)
Prevent Child Abuse GA: 1-800-CHILDREN www.preventchildabusega.org
Stop It Now GA: 1-404-870-6565 www.stopitnowga.org
Actors Express Theatre Company
and yet there are leftists who claim that there is no culture war.