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The Ringwald gets gayer

By |2018-01-16T07:01:44-05:00September 8th, 2011|Entertainment|

By Bridgette M. Redman

Artistic director Joe Bailey and company member Joe Plambeck aren’t willing to pigeonhole Who Wants Cake? as a gay theater, but they readily admit they are the gayest theater in Southeast Michigan.
“We are the gayest overall in terms of doing the most predominately gay stuff from show to show,” Bailey said. “But when I think of a gay theater, that’s all they do.”
Bailey pointed to their performances of such shows as “House of Blue Leaves” and “Killer Joe,” saying there is a whole canon of non-gay shows that they produce.
“I agree we do a lot of gay shit,” said Bailey, “but by saying we’re a gay theater, there is the implication that we only do gay shit.”
Plambeck said the mix of shows helps with audience development. “We started off wanting to do lots of gay material that we knew hadn’t been done or hadn’t been done for awhile. We’re eclectic, we’re doing a little of everything that we as a company love. We are doing a lot of gay shows this season.”
The upcoming 2011-2012 season at the Ringwald Theatre celebrates all their audiences have come to love about the Ferndale store-front theater. There are drag shows poking fun at iconic films, a musical tribute to a drag queen and shows that explore issues such as religion and AIDS. These include “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Silent Night of the Lambs,” “The SantaLand Diaries,” “Angels in America: Part I,” “It’s Liz-a-Palooza,” “Speed the Plow” and “The Divine Sister.”
The season opens Sept. 9 by bringing back “Southern Baptist Sissies,” exploring the attempts of young gay men to reconcile their sexuality with their religion and culture. Who Wants Cake? cites this show as the production in their first season that put them on the map.
The show welcomes back several people reprising their roles, along with three new “sissies” in the main roles. Plambeck returns as Andrew, a character conflicted about his identity.
“The discussion of religion and sexuality is one that so many people get involved in,” Plambeck said. “It does a really nice job of exploring how the Southern Baptist upbringing affected four different gay boys who went in four different ways. It isn’t against church or religion, it’s about finding the balance and realizing that God loves everyone. It isn’t a harsh play at all. It leaves people feeling warm and moved at the end.”
Bailey emphasized that the Southern Baptist part is superfluous, that it was chosen only because the playwright Del Shores grew up as Southern Baptist.
“The questions are really bigger, more universal in terms of organized religion, not just the Southern Baptist section of Christianity. It deals with how you reconcile your sexuality with your religion. Anyone who has questioned something in the Bible or what they were taught from a religious standpoint…can really get something out of this play.”
In other words, like the theater itself, the show may be gay, but straights can come too. Southern Baptist Sissies Friday-Monday through Sept. 26 Who Wants Cake? at The Ringwald 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale $10-$20

Who Wants Cake? at The Ringwald 2011-12 Season

Sept. 9-26
Southern Baptist Sissies
The journey of four gay boys in the Baptist Church.

Oct. 14-Nov. 7
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The story of an “internationally ignored song stylist” who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation.

Nov. 25-Dec. 19
Silent Night of the Lambs
A twisted take on two classic tales

Dec. 21-23
The SantaLand Diaries and Season’s Greetings
The delightful anti-holiday treat makes its return to The Ringwald stage for three performances only.

Jan. 14- 30, 2012
Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches
An epic that ranges from earth to heaven, and focuses on politics, sex and religion.

Feb. 17-March 12
It’s Liz-a-Palooza!
In honor of Elizabeth Taylor’s birth month: two unique looks at both her life and one of her most famous roles.

March 30-April 22
At one of Hollywood’s hottest studios, Charlie Fox has a terrific vehicle for a currently hot client.

May 11-June 4
The Divine Sister
This outrageous comedy pays homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.