A celebration of LGBT theater planned for Pride Month in Ocean Grove

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La Strada Theater Rainbow Festival
La Strada Theater Rainbow Festival

La Strada Ensemble Theater presents Rainbow Festival 2017: A Celebration of LGBT Theater. The festival features three programs of varied, cutting edge, one-act plays. The shows begin June 1st at Jersey Shore Art Center, 66 South Main Street, 3rd Floor Theater, in Ocean Grove.

“As a community, we have stories to tell, great stories,” said Artistic Director A.J. Ciccotelli. “But we have much more work left to do to maintain our newly brand spanking new rights that we must never take for granted. Expression goes back to the cave people who wrote their stories on walls and gathered by the camp fire and told them. It’s what kept them informed, connected and kept them going.”

“We are a little festival now but it’s my goal to get bigger,” said Artistic Director A.J. Ciccotelli. He hopes the Festival will open our hearts more and let many different voices be heard. “It’s important to have the younger voice be heard but equally as well the older voice,” he said. “Our need to be heard later in life is as critical. We experience what everyone else goes through but because of what we survived our voices must be heard.”

Program Orange:

Out of the Mouth of Babes by company member and local Asbury Park, NJ resident Gary C. Walter is a heartwarming play about enlightenment and taking charge of one’s-own life, as our young protagonist is forced to drag his father out of the closet, kicking and screaming. (World Premiere)

Bernie by internationally renowned playwright Edward Gallardo is a brilliant and powerful look at a youth’s attempt to be accepted and heard: The year is 1970 and Bernie is going a little mad in the mental hospital. Even after several attempts to end his pain, he still insists he is happy! (NJ Premiere)

A Life Worth Digging by local Somerset, NJ resident and founding member Jennifer L. DiOrio: During her midlife crisis, an archeologist discovers a life worth digging. (World Premiere)

Ripples of Water by artistic director and local Toms River, NJ resident A.J. Ciccotelli: A man celebrating his 50th birthday finds a one night stand with a much younger man who has just walked out of his marriage. Will they find solace in each other or never see each other again after a weekend of romance?

This program plays Thurs. June 1 at 7pm, Fri. June 2 at 8pm, Sat. June 3 at 4pm and Sat. June 10 at 8pm.

Program Violet:

Rainbow Wreath by local Toms River, NJ resident and founding member Dennis Gribben: A sister must choose between her gay brother’s happiness and her homophobic boyfriend’s love. (World Premiere)

Between Them by local Neptune resident and founding member Doug Bollinger: A college freshman decides to come out to her best friend… and introduce her to her new girlfriend…a nd convince her everything’s OK… and not jump off the gorgeous cliff where they are all standing admiring the view. (World Premiere)

Hugh’s First Tape by artistic director and local Toms River, NJ resident A.J. Ciccotelli: The year is 1984 and all Hugh wants for Christmas is a tape recorder to tell his last thoughts before Death takes him, until the spirits of the future reveal a life that is indeed worth living. (World Premiere)

Small Town by Little Egg Harbor, NJ playwright Ashley Friedman: Two girls with a complex history reunite one last time to find clarity in their relationship and in themselves. A passionate play that will make you question, can one truly overcome their love? (World Premiere)

Heterosexuals or The War Over Jane Fonda – A.K.A You’re Family by legendary Café Cino Playwright Robert Patrick (Haunted Host & Kennedy’s Children): It is 1990 and when Desert Shield and Desert Storm occur, a gay pacifist and candle maker is forced by financial circumstances to move in with his sister and redneck brother in law. This is an engaging comedy that explores a family from two vastly different set of beliefs and about what brings them together and tears them apart. (Revival)

This program plays Sat. Jun 3 at 8pm, Sun. June 4 at 2pm, Fri. June 9 at 8pm and Sat. June 10 at 4pm.

Program Green:

The Oath by artistic director and local Toms River, NJ resident A.J. Ciccotelli: A staged reading about two sisters. One is a lesbian and one is not, in this memory play about camaraderie, loyalty and loss. Staged reading stars founding member Donna Knowlton and Janet Rothstein.

This program plays Sun. June 11 at 2pm.

The Festival Stars Kylee Bell, Evan Black, Nadia David, Dennis DaPrile, Gian Carlo Durland, Dennis Gribben, Griffin Holland, Donna Knowlton, Phil Korz, Erica Beverly Kostyz, Margaret Leone, Nathan Magno, Benjamin McGowan, Candy Predham, Autumn Shenko, Clarissa Shirley, Hannah Stphan, Alexa Spinowitz and W. Allen Wrede

Tickets for program Orange and Violet are $18/$12 for students & senior citizens and can be purchased online. Program Green is a suggested donation of $8 and can be purchased online or at the door.

For more information and to purchase tickets please visit lastradaensemble.org.