I gotta give props to the Alliance Theater here in Atlanta, if giving props is still a thing that people do. WE ALL STILL PLAY WITH POGS, RIGHT? Some way too many years ago, something like nine years ago? When I was just out of grad school, the Alliance was the first regional theater to say hey, we like you! And they flew me down for a reading, as part of the Kendeda Graduate playwriting competition. I’m now back for an alumni reading of my new play about Cake and same sex marriage,  and props are very much do. For one, they have an incredible network of actors — Atlanta attracts some good ones with all of the TV and Film being made here — and they are ACTUALLY SOUTHERN. Which is to say they  don’t overplay the accent, and know what it means to feel split in two between Northern and Southern, liberal and conservative, as my characters oftentimes are. Second set of props: the diversity of their audience. I saw their magnificent new show last night — a GOSPEL MUSICAL, I MEAN, COME ON — Born for this: The Bebe Winans story. I found myself enveloped in a house that was nearly fifty percent African American. And it felt great. They were so vocal and responsive and engaged that I left wondering: how can we put gospel music into every single play? Of course we can’t literally. There are some plays, some, that do not need gospel music. And of course, some plays are plays, not musicals. But might each play have its own gospel music, a thing that draws people in, not just theater students, but everyone, that forces people to their feet?

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