Denise Manzagol's Preview of GPS

Check out Denise Manzagol's preview piece of this year's GPS below:

Sizzling hot summer fun with Gay Play Series
By Denise Manzagol

For the third consecutive year, the Ringwald Theatre offers sizzling hot summer fun with its wildly popular Gay Play Series (GPS).

The Ringwald, located in Ferndale’s “Times Square", is showcasing 11 new, one act LGBT plays.
This year’s festival – attended by hundreds of people last year – continues through June 25.

Artistic director Joe Bailey said they were excited and overwhelmed with this year’s submissions of 175 one act plays some from places as far flung as Australia and the UK. “We have enough fun stuff on deck to wet everyone’s whistle.”

Joe Plambeck, marketing director, added that his marketing strategy paid off. Having grown from 44 submissions last year and 17 the first year, Plambeck said, “It is a good mixture; a potpourri of plays.”

Just a team of three - Bailey, Plambeck and Matthew Shelton, literary manager - plowed through the submissions in about 8 weeks which was no easy feat since the team was dedicated to respecting each playwright by reading though the submissions in its entirety.

According to Bailey, Detroit-area’s only GLBT short play festival made a huge splash with last weekend’s nearly sold out special opening night performance of Ronnie Larsen’s rollicking, classic play "Making Porn”.

The one act plays, split into two performance blocks, examine themes ranging from courage, to friendship, rejection, unrequited love, bullying and more.

Block A consists of six performances. Opening this set is Tony Foster’s “Defrost” which is a unique comedy about personal sacrifice. “Turnaround” by Ringwald’s artistic director Joe Bailey is a comedy about two Hollywood underlings. “Queer/Trek” by Brian Walker is a comical, mad romp with a Star Trek bent. Stereotypes are battled in “Mate Trade” by Laura Witkowski and Cara Trautman. Kristian O’Hare’s insightful “Fanny Packs & Hanky Codes” explores what others need. “Homochondria” by Brad Baron is a funny, magical piece.

Block B consists of five performances. “Ask Me! Tell Me!” by Andrew Charles Lark is an O’ Henry take on a modern theme. A shy scientist creates a make your own world in “Pocket Universe” by Duncan Pflaster. “Ten Picnics” by Mark Harvey Levine is a heartfelt story that chronicles a family of two mothers and their son. “A Streetcar Named Viagra” by Daniel Curzon is a historical retelling of the origins of one of America’s greatest dramas.

Block B’s finale “Break My Face on Your Hand” by Daniel Talbott, examines the interactions between a high school bully named Bear played by Jeffrey Vincent Howson of Chesterfield and his victim played by Christopher Burns of Northville.

The most difficult script in the collection, Bailey said he fell in love with it the moment he read it and was gratified to direct it.

Audience members will be voting for their favorite script. The winning script will receive an additional performance at the closing ceremonies on June 25 and will subsequently receive a full production at the Ringwald Theatre. In addition, audience members will also be asked to vote for a favorite actor and director.

The GPS concludes on June 25 complete with closing ceremonies, encore of winning production, and Motor City MisCast Cabaret, an audience favorite.

Making her GPS directing debut with “Pocket Universe”, Berkley resident Lisa Melinn mused, “The stories are universal. There is something for everybody and the characters could be any of us.”

SHOW DETAILS: Gay Play Series continues at the Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, through June 25. Block A June 22 at 8 pm and June 24 at 2 pm. Block B: June 23 at 8 pm and June 24 at 5 pm. June 18 at 8 pm “Vince Kelley Does Judy at Carnegie Hall”. June 25 at 8 pm: Closing Ceremonies, encore of winning production, and “Motown MisCast Cabaret”. Tickets: $10 per event. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. For information please contact 248-545-5545 or www.theringwald.com