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Seattle Gay News

Arts & Entertainment

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Seattle Men's Chorus welcomes Armistead Maupin to Benaroya Hall

Live Sex Onstage! Live Nude Men! Naughty Bits! Has the Seattle Men's Chorus taken a new and decidedly more controversial approach to its upcoming Tunes From Tales (Music for Mouse) concert at Benaroya Hall on March 13 & 14?

It wouldn't be the first time that author Armistead Maupin's wildly popular Tales of the City series has found itself at the center of controversy.

When PBS broadcast the adaptation of the first book in the series, fundamentalists from coast to coast were outraged by the show's realistic presentation of life in San Francisco in the 70s (which included nudity, pot smoking and a long, loving kiss between two male characters). They threatened boycotts, leading the network to bow out of plans for a sequel.

Artistic Director Dennis Coleman laughs, "Some of the passages that Armistead will read in Tunes from Tales are a little racy." He continues, "The story begins in San Francisco in the seventies, and Armistead's characters are nothing if not realÉthey experience everything that the decade had to offer."

 

Tunes from Tales indeed takes the Chorus on a new adventure, blending live acting, music and the author himself, reading selections from his best-selling Tales of the City.

"We wanted to create a compelling show that would serve as both an introduction to the characters for the uninitiated and a revisiting of old friends for Armistead's fans," Coleman said. "The wonderful thing about Armistead's novels is that they resonate far beyond the Gay community. The appeal is universal, I think, because we can all see glimpses of people we know or have known in his beautifully crafted characters, and that familiarity is very comforting. Plus, he weaves a tale that's so fun and interesting that you can't wait to turn the page."

SMC will accompany the author with songs fans know and love from the time of the stories, including old favorites like "San Francisco"; "Que Sera, Sera"; "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys", and "Home" (from The Wiz). In addition, Chorus members will re-enact scenes from the books, including the jockey shorts contest that Mouse finds himself competing in to raise money for his rent.

"This is a new concept for us, and one that I'm sure the audience will love as much as we do," Coleman said. In Coupeville, one of the Chorus members will read Maupin's words, but Seattle audiences will enjoy the author's own voice.

Maupin travels extensively reading selections from works new and old. Those lucky enough to see him last year when Emerald City Arts presented him in Writing My Way Out know he's a master at bringing his characters to life in a staged reading. For those of you who missed that opportunity, Tunes From Tales (Music for Mouse) is a chance to see your favorite Chorus in action and find out why so many people have embraced the likes of Mrs. Madrigal, Mary Ann Singleton, Mona, and of course, Michael Tolliver Ð "Mouse" to his friends.

About Tunes from Tales, Maupin says "This is the first time a production like this - combining music and my work - has ever been done, and I'm thrilled for the opportunity. I've admired the Seattle Men's Chorus production values from afar, especially their show with Harvey Fierstein, and this really struck me as a logical pairing. Besides, I love being a big ham, and the emotional resonance that the music will give the material only makes the event more exciting for me.

Tickets to Tunes From Tales (Music for Mouse) for the March 7, 3:00 p.m. performance in Coupeville at the Coupeville Performing Arts Center are $10 to $25. For tickets and information, contact 360-678-4515. This concert is a benefit for the Whidbey AIDS Support Fund.

Tickets for Tunes From Tales (Music for Mouse) at Benaroya Hall, March 13 at 8pm and March 14 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., range from $12.50 to $30 and are available through the SMC Ticketline at (206) 323-2992, Ticketmaster at (206) 292-ARTS or any Ticketmaster outlet.

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This Week At Thumpers

Mary Lofstrom will grace Sunday Evening Cabaret 

Local jazz vocalist and composer Mary Lofstrom will be performing at Thumper's Sunday Evening Cabaret for the month of March (March 7, 14, 21, 28). Mary moved to Seattle from Minnesota in 1990 and brought her talent to the local jazz, R&B, and blues scene. She has studied jazz voice locally with internationally renowned vocalist Jay Clayton. She has performed at many local venues presenting both her own original music and jazz standards.

In 1977, she released her first CD, entitled My Secret Joy, with all original compositions performed by her trio, the Saint Mathias Trio. Her songwriting is laced with humor, heartbreak and irreverence.

For these performances she will be accompanied by Kyle Aho. For a fun evening of jazz aimed at the Lesbian and Gay community, don't miss this opportunity to hear a wonderful jazz vocalist in a Gay and Lesbian venue.

Don Carey starts the show at 7 p.m. with popular and jazz standards on the piano. Mary Lofstrom performs at 9 p.m. For cocktail or dinner reservations call Thumper's at 328-3800.