Rise and fall of Anita Bryant

Posted: May 11th, 2018 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Theater | No Comments

Albert H. Fulcher | Editor

World premiere musical takes a step back in LGBT history

Diversionary Theatre’s “The Loneliest Girl in the World” hits the stage on May 24 and runs through June 24. The musical’s story, which follows the life of Anita Bryant and her loyal fan Tommy is based on the book by Gordon Leary, who also adapted the words to lyrics for Julia Meinwald’s musical score. Diversionary Theatre Executive Artistic Director Matt Morrows directs.

Morrow said this musical has significant historical LGBT history that is fit for everyone.

(l to r) Sam Heidt (Tommy) and Allison Spratt Pearce (Anita Bryant) (Courtesy of Simpatika)

“It’s a world premiere musical about the gay rights movement between 1958 and 1978,” Morrow said. “It is seen through the lens of the rise and fall of Anita Bryant and a young man who comes of age during that age and loves Anita Bryant until she turned anti-gay.”

Morrow said this musical is delightful, moving and reveals an important part of our history in an engaging way.

“I truly believe it portrays a time when our community begins to galvanize, organize and really get it together and resist in a way that really made a difference,” he said. “I believe that this is inspirational to hear right now, because right now we are going through a similar chapter in American history where unfortunately we have people running the country that want to roll back the clock,” he continued. “They want to see the LGBT community as having no rights. It’s crazy that we are still fighting this fight across the country on this level. They are stuck in a particular time, but they are in a position of power now.”

Morrow said this musical takes a look at that period of time, but it does it in a loving, magical, mischievous way, so it doesn’t come off as being polemic.

“We’re not pounding you over the head with the politics of it,” Morrow said. “It doesn’t sugar coat anything, but it does sweeten the story.

“What’s really great about this musical is that it is a love letter to people of a certain age of people that lived through the period,” he continued. I believe they’ll be able to see themselves in the story. And it’s also brand new, so I think that will attract a younger generation, a different demographic that will learn more about our history and how we got be here where we are now.”

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