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Syracuse Stage, SU Drama to participate in nationwide premiere of 'Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays'

November 01, 2011

Patrick Finlon
(315) 443-2636

Witty, warm and occasionally wacky, “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” is an evening of new short plays by an A-list lineup of writers with two Pulitzer Prizes, four Obies, one Emmy and three Tony nominations. Be there as they offer their unique takes on the moments before, during and after "I do." These plays are vows to the blessings of equality, the universal challenges of relationships and the often hilarious power of love.

ceremonyOn Monday, Nov. 7, the same evening that “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” premieres at Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City, more than 40 theaters and universities around the country will present readings of the work, written in response to the ongoing battle for marriage equality throughout the United States. Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University’s Department of Drama have an evening planned that will include a live introductory webcast from Minetta Lane Theatre, a live reading of the plays by local performers and a Twitter Q-and-A session with participants from around the globe. The Syracuse event will begin at 8 p.m. in the Storch Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St., and will be free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.

The nationwide reading of “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” was organized by Tectonic Theatre Project, the same company that organized the 2009 nationwide reading of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” which Syracuse Stage and SU Drama presented to a capacity crowd.

“After the success of ‘The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,’ we are thrilled to partner with ‘Standing On Ceremony’ to facilitate another national convening with this beautiful collection of plays about a timely and urgent issue,” says Moisés Kaufman, artistic director of Tectonic Theatre Project and contributing ‘Standing On Ceremony’ playwright.

Some of America’s most illustrious and award-winning playwrights have contributed to “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” including Heideman Award winner Jordan Harrison, Edgar Award winner Jeffrey Hatcher, Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman, Tony Award nominee Neil LaBute, Sundance Jury Prize winner Wendy MacLeod, Obie Award winner José Rivera, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Paul Rudnick andPulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Doug Wright.

Conceived by Brian Shnipper and directed by Stuart Ross, “Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” began as a series of benefit events in Los Angeles, taking on a life of their own as an inspiring theatrical evening. The show begins previews at the Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane, NYC) on Monday, Nov. 7, with an official opening night set for Sunday, Nov. 13. As was established in Los Angeles, a portion of each ticket purchased to the NYC production of “Standing On Ceremony” will be donated to marriage equality organizations.

To date, more than 40 theaters and universities are confirmed to participate on Nov. 7, in 25 states across America, including Texas, North Dakota, Florida, Kansas and Michigan, where both gay marriage and civil unions are banned; North Carolina, where the vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was moved up to 2012; California, where gay marriage was legalized and then overturned by the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008; and many states where marriage equality is not yet a reality. Beyond America, theaters as far flung as Sydney, Australia, will also participate, making this a truly international event.

Directing the Syracuse reading is Joseph Whelan, Syracuse Stage publications director and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Drama in SU's College of Visual and Performing Arts. Whelan was drawn to the play after reading an article about 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, of Buffalo, N.Y. who committed suicide just days after making a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign, because he was taunted at school for being bisexual.

Reading in Syracuse are Rob Bundy, part-time assistant professor of directing and acting for SU Drama; Celia Madeoy, assistant professor of acting and voice for SU Drama; Leslie Noble, SU Drama administrative specialist and adjunct faculty member; Lauren Unbekant, director of educational programs for Syracuse Stage and SU Drama adjunct faculty member; and Ralph Zito, professor and chair, SU Drama.

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