A Staged Reading of Torch Song Trilogy
By Harvey Fierstein
Monday, March 5, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.
Weathervane Playhouse is pleased to present a FREE staged reading of Harvey Fierstein's landmark play.
ABOUT THE PLAY
Torch Song Trilogy is a collection of three one-act plays: International Stud, Fugue in a Nursery and Widows and Children First! Arnold Beckoff is at the center of all three of these stories. Arnold is a Jewish homosexual, drag queen, and torch singer who lives in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The play begins with a soliloquy in which he explains his cynical disillusionment with love.
Each act focuses on a different phase in Arnold's life. In the first, Arnold meets Ed, who is uncomfortable with his bisexuality. In the second, one year later, Arnold meets Alan, and the two settle down into a blissful existence that includes plans to adopt a child, until tragedy strikes. In the third, several years later, Arnold is a single father raising gay teenager David. Arnold is forced to deal with his mother's intolerance and disrespect when she visits from Florida.
Torch Song Trilogy was developed and premiered at La Mama ETC over the course of two years from February 1978 to October 1979 under the direction of Eric Concklin. It next played at the off-Broadway Actors' Playhouse (under the direction of Peter Pope) from January 1982 to May 1982. The original off-Broadway cast was Harvey Fierstein (Arnold), Joel Crothers (Ed), Paul Joynt (Alan), Diane Tarleton (Laurel), Matthew Broderick (David) and Estelle Getty (Mrs. Beckoff). The play transferred to Broadway in June 1982, and ran for 1,222 performances through May 1985 at the Helen Hayes Theatre. The Broadway production of Torch Song Trilogy won two Tony Awards for Fierstein (Best Play and Best Actor in a Play).
The award-winning and popular work broke new ground in the theatre. "At the height of the post-Stonewall clone era, Harvey challenged both gay and straight audiences to champion an effeminate gay man's longings for love and family," wrote Charles Busch in 2002 for The Advocate.
The play was made into a film in 1988 starring Harvey Fierstein (Arnold), Brian Kerwin (Ed), Matthew Broderick (Alan), Karen Young (Laurel), Eddie Castrodad (David) and Anne Bancroft (Mrs. Beckoff).
In the fall of 2017, a revival of the show was produced at Second Stage directed by Moises Kaufman. The revival starred Michael Urie (Arnold), Ward Horton (Ed), Michael Rosen (Alan), Roxanna Hope Radja (Laurel), Jack Di Falco (David), and Mercedes Ruehl (Mrs. Beckoff).
WHAT IS A STAGED READING?
A staged reading is a form of theatre without sets or full costumes. The actors, who read from scripts, may be seated, stand in fixed positions, or incorporate minimal stage movement. A staged reading allows an audience to enjoy a play "for the play's sake."
AUDIENCE ADVISORY: Due to adult language and themes, Torch Song Trilogy is not recommended for young children.