Jeff Whitty Hub

Musical Theatre Under Fire for Artistic Director's Prop 8 Support

California Musical Theatre is Sacramento's "oldest professional performing arts organization and California's largest nonprofit musical theater company" according to the Sacramento Bee and its artistic director Scott Eckern, who has been with the theatre for 25 years, has placed it in turmoil following revelations that he donated $1,000 to the campaign to pass Prop 8.

EckernHairspray director Marc Shaiman is leading the charge to boycott the theatre. Shaiman reportedly told Eckern: "The idea that your donation came from a salary that for a short amount of time was drawn from profits from a show I wrote upsets me terribly and I would never allow anything I write to play there and will encourage my colleagues to consider doing the same."

Some of Shaiman's peers, including Avenue Q writer Jeff Whitty, contacted Eckern with their concerns.

According to the Bee, the theatre is contemplating what to do: "Richard Lewis, the organization's executive producer, said the board of directors will conduct an emergency meeting on the matter this afternoon. He said it was too early to tell how this would affect Eckern's 25-year employment with California Musical Theatre."

Additionally, an Anti-Gay Blacklist has sprung up online highlighting business owners and prominent supporters of Proposition 8.

Prop. 8 gift gets theater's leader in a ruckus [sacramento bee]
Dra-ma [good as you]

Jay Leno Apologizes for Requesting Ryan Phillippe's Gayest Look

Jay Leno has apologized for remarks he made to Ryan Phillippe when Phillippe appeared on his show to promote the movie Stop-Loss. Leno mocked Phillippe's first role as a gay teen on One Life to Live before pointing at the camera and asking a visibly disturbed Phillippe to give it his "gayest look."

LenoSaid Leno in a statement: "In talking about Ryan's first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn't mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say, and I apologize."

The incident prompted an angry letter from Avenue Q scribe Jeff Whitty, who wrangled with the late night host about his homophobic remarks during the Brokeback Mountain days, and inspired the creation of My Gayest Look, a website at which you can find dozens of pictorial messages for Jay Leno (including mine).

My Gayest Look [for jay leno]
Avenue Q Scribe Jeff Whitty Offers Jay Leno His 'Gayest Look' [tr]
Jay Leno Asks Ryan Phillippe to Give Camera His 'Gayest Look' [tr]

Avenue Q Scribe Jeff Whitty Offers Jay Leno His 'Gayest Look'

UPDATE: There's now a whole website!

LenoYou may remember the clip I posted last week of Ryan Phillippe's appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in which, after mocking Phillippe's first acting role as a gay teen on a soap, Leno pointed at the camera and asked Phillippe to give his gayest look.

You may also remember that in April 2006 Avenue Q scribe Jeff Whitty challenged Leno on his mockery of gay people. Whitty's challenge, in which he wrote Leno a letter which was followed up by a half-hour chat, was picked up by mainstream news outlets.

Well, Whitty got word that Leno was up to his old tricks again, so he's published another letter to the comic on his site, along with a photo of his gayest look, which you can see AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Avenue Q Scribe Jeff Whitty Offers Jay Leno His 'Gayest Look'" »

Tales of the City Musical Looks Broadway-Bound

Back in January I posted that a Tales of the City musical was in the works, driven by Avenue Q scribe Jeff Whitty and Scissor Sister Jake Shears. It appears the project is moving along swiftly:

Maupin"Jason Moore ('Avenue Q," "Shrek') will helm the show, which follows the idiosyncratic characters encountered by a young Midwestern woman in 1970s San Francisco. Produced by 'Avenue Q' producers Jeffrey Seller, Robyn Goodman and Kevin McCollum, 'Tales of the City' hopes to hit Broadway during the 2009-10 season. Budget for the developing show has not yet been determined, although creatives and producers expect a large-scale musical that, like the original book, follows the storylines of nearly a dozen major characters. Seller estimated capitalization would cost no less than $10 million. Plot of the musical will focus on the 1978 novel 'Tales of the City,' the first of seven 'Tales' books, with elements from the second novel likely included as well."

Said Whitty: "Even now, it still feels like the future to me. I want the world to get to the place that we were in San Francisco in the 1970s."

Jake Shears Penning Musical Version of Tales of the City [tr]

Jake Shears Penning Musical Version of Tales of the City

Spinner reports that Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears has been hard at work on a set of tunes for a musical version of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City.

Maupin_2Spinner reports: "Since his pal, Jeff Whitty, sent him a note asking him what he thought of the books a year ago, Shears has been coming up with ideas and melodies. 'Over a year ago, I got a note from him saying, 'What do you think of 'Tales of the City?' I'm crazy about 'Tales!' I grew up on the books,' Shears enthuses. 'They were a big part of my teenager-hood. They're just great, great books with amazing characters and I love the era. My heart just started racing. I got very excited about it.' He's spent almost a year working on the project already, amassing 15 numbers. 'It's poppy and since there's no arrangement yet, all of our writing is just piano and my voice,' he explains. 'As it take shape, it's gonna even take on more of a style.''

Whitty wrote the book for Avenue Q.

According to Spinner, Scissor Sisters have also just begun working in the studio again on their third album:

"The flashy New York City five-piece are currently forcing themselves to hit the studio on a daily basis, to pen a host of new tunes. So far, Shears said they've come up with a handful of new 'really dancy' pop numbers and at least one sparkling rendition of someone else's song. 'We've started out with a really cool cover, which I'm not even gonna say what it is,' Shears says coyly. 'I mean, no one would know anyway. It's a pretty obscure song.'"

Jake Shears Interviews Dolly Parton in UK Special [tr]
Jake Shears Would "Take That" if Asked [tr]
Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears and Partner to Get Hitched [tr]

Avenue Q Scribe Jeff Whitty Takes on Viral Video Stars

Here is a new series of webisodes from Avenue Q playwright and Jay Leno confronter Jeff Whitty and friend Jenn Harris, called "Meet the Casting Directors".

You may remember that Whitty took on Leno in April 2006, fed up with the late night comic's homophobic humor. Said Whitty in his letter: "Every single out-of-the-closet gay person has had to say, 'I am not part of mainstream society.' Mr. Leno, that takes bigger balls than stepping out in front of TV-watching America every night. I daresay I suspect it takes bigger balls to come out of the closet than any thing you have ever done in your life."

In this series, Whitty takes on the viral video stars of YouTube in mockumentary fashion. Enjoy.

(via americablog)


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