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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Texas Star Theatre

This is an e-mail I received from my former roommate Doug Goodrich. He noted that there's culture everywhere and people who attack theatre everywhere. Can't hurt for us to send them a good thought. Heck, who protests the people doing GREASE down the street? [All the bold is mine:]

Theatre People,
The new Texas Star Theatre is about to shut its doors. Not due to money or finances, but due to a small, vocal red state, conservative, ignorant, religious right-wing group that is very determined and very organized. This group has exhaustively mailed, emailed, phoned, met, conspired, complained, contacted, harassed, and have begun to break through the VIPs of Granbury that support this theatre. This support team taking the heat includes all the members of our Board of Directors, reporters, writers, newspaper publishers, government officials, school board members, merchant owners, and general audience members. Their biggest complaint, among many, is that the new Texas Star Theatre is promoting pornography, sex, bad language, vulgarities, obscenity, and encouraging the demoralization of an old historic town. It all started with the use of goddammit in Gypsy. It was used on this stage for the first time in 30 years and has made Texas Star Theatre a target of "Christian Values". These people don't intend to stop until the theatre is closed down and they have booted us out of town. Thomas Morrissey, an incredible new staff, and I have turned this dying theatre around and have brought a new and broader audience (that has broken box office records) to Granbury and has revived this theatre. Since we have taken over in June, we have had more people attend our shows than any other show in the last three years. We have quadrupled our season subscribers. We have made significant progress. We have just started turning a once melodrama driven community theatre into a world class regional theatre and for the first time; people under the age of 55 are packing into our seats. We opened our season with Gypsy (which has 4 goddammits in the script). We followed with Grease (which was the highest attended show in the last 3 years). Stars Over Texas, a musical revue of new music, was next and currently, we are in the middle of a four week run of The Boys Next Door. The Board of Directors and local supportive businesses have been bombarded with phone calls and emails demanding everyone in Granbury BOYCOTT the Texas Star Theatre. The ironic thing is that 80% of our audience is from out of town and we will not be significantly affected by a boycott. The Board of Directors is very concerned with our next show, the very popular I Love You, Youre Perfect, Now Change. The cast is here and we are in the middle of rehearsals. Although this show ran for 3 years in Dallas, a mere 50 miles from Granbury, the Christian Citizens of Granbury demand that we shut our theatre doors before the show opens on October 6th. This would cause many people, a staff of 15+, actors, designers, directors, etc., to lose their jobs and shrink the job market. I ask you from one passionate theatre artist to another to please email the list below (together or individually) and let them know you support our cause. Express to them that the
audience for theatre is diverse and larger than the local Baptist church. Please let each one of them know what theatre does on a larger scale, locally and nationally. We need your support.
Just one email to let the locals know that you support the efforts of Texas Star Theatre and its commitment to bringing plays and musicals as written to an audience that craves theatre. That in no way our season should be misconstrued as pornographic or that a performance of Grease, or I Love You, You're Perfect... should ever be confused as an evening of sex on stage.
We here at Texas Star Theatre have worked too hard to have a thriving theatre in an upswing taken away from us because of a small minority that likes to bully community officials. Texas Star Theatre will not be censored. We will not become another target. I Love You, Youre Perfect... will not be SILENCED or SANITIZED. Locally, we will continue to fight for First Amendment Rights including freedom of expression and will not fall victim to bible beating, homophobic, racist, & sexist hypocrites. If we allow this to happen with the mildest of shows, how are we ever going to be able to produce great theatrical work in the
future? Thank you for your time.
Stephen Bishop Seely
Associate Artistic Director Texas Star Theatre
817-579-5529 ext. 2#
P.S. If you would like to learn more about what has been happening locally since we arrived in Granbury, please check out Texas Star Theatre at
www.hcnews.com and go to http://www.hcnews.com/soundoff1.htm
and write a supportive SOUND OFF that will get published in the paper.
Quick comments:
I'm going to be honest, if there is vocal minority and their ticket buyers are from out of town, I'm honestly not sure how this theater can be made to "close it's doors" without getting either charged with something or not paying it's rent. And frankly, it sounds a bit like someone's in the midst of an argument they don't quite know how to handle.
BUT I love Doug, and I think it can never hurt to lend support to the good guys. Even if this almost sounds...hilarious. I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is not exactly "fight for your rights" material. Anyone who is protesting GYPSY deserves a kick in the arse, on general principles.

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