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Studio Players opens Season 9 with Harvey Fierstein’s prescient ‘Torch Song’


The Studio Players kicks off its Ninth Season on September 10 with the Southwest Florida premiere of the two-act revival of Harvey Fierstein’s award-winning 1983 Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

Its title abbreviated to Torch Song, the revival follows a torch song-singing, Jewish drag queen by the name of Arnold Beckoff (Perry Ventro). Set in  New York City, the play dramatizes Beckoff’s life from the 1970s to 1980s. Told with a likable, human voice, Torch Song follows Arnold’s odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect.

Interestingly, when it debuted in 1978, Trilogy was vilified by the gay community for championing a gay man’s yearning for a committed, monogamous relationship and parenthood. In a post-Obergefell v. Hodges world in which married gay couples with children are the new normal, Torch Song Trilogy can be viewed as prescient. But the revival is more than a mere historical ode to pre-Stonewall gay struggles for acceptance in a homophobic world. Torch Song commends itself to modern audiences with a companionable mix of rapid-fire dialogue, snappy one-liners and sizzling zingers, many coming from Arnold’s insult-at-the-ready mother, played by Patti Caroli.

Directed by founder and producing artistic director Scott Lilly, Torch Song runs for 11 performances from September 10 through September 26 on select dates.

August 23, 2021.

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