By Lambda Archives staff
A new stage play by activist and author Ronni Sanlo will be performed in its San Diego debut to benefit Lambda Archives. The show will be performed Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. followed by a VIP reception to meet the playwright, the cast, and famed historian Lillian Faderman.
In 1977, singer Anita Bryant kicked off her anti-gay work in an effort to repeal Miami’s new non-discrimination ordinance. Successful, Bryant took that campaign on the road across the country. The next year, the Florida legislature ruled that lesbians and gay men were not fit parents. In 1979, Ronni Sanlo came out as a lesbian and lost custody of her two young children. Years later, she wrote a letter to Anita Bryant. This play, both dramatic and humorous, shares the challenges of pain and the power of forgiveness as it tells the stories of LGBT history during that time through the AIDS crisis to the present.
Tickets are available at Diversionary.org. For the show and reception, tickets are $40 for Lambda Archives members, $50 for nonmembers. Tickets for just the performance are $20 for Archives members and $25 for nonmembers.
“Dear Anita Bryant” is presented by Lambda Archives at 4545 Park Blvd., home to the historic Diversionary Theatre. (This is not a Diversionary Theatre production, although Diversionary is proud to host this guest production.)
Sanlo has been an activist since coming out. With a Ph.D. in education, she taught at UCLA and other universities, and founded the LGBTQ centers at UCLA and the University of Michigan as well as advise on the creation of centers on other campuses around the country. She has written several books including her memoir “The Purple Golf Cart.” She was the subject of the documentary, “Letter to Anita,” narrated by Meredith Baxter.
“Dear Anita Bryant” is making its world premier Feb. 15 in Palm Springs, so the shows in San Diego will be the second and third performances ever. Playwright Robert Komishane said, “This play is so enthralling, well-crafted and deeply moving.”
Thanks to the generous donation of Anna M. Curren, both the evening performance is being sponsored as well as an 11 a.m. performance on Feb. 19 that will be free of charge for local students. Students who would like to attend should email info@LambdaArchives.org to reserve a seat.