• Kevin Broccoli

A Message From Our Fearless Leader

When Epic first arrived in Cranston at our very own theater, I immediately wanted to check several shows off my bucket list. One of those shows was The Normal Heart and the other was Angels in America.

One of the reasons I started this company was because I was seeing a lack of representation on local stages when it came to gay artists getting to tell gay stories. For a number of years, gay people in Rhode Island were lucky if they got to see one gay character, and I remember not feeling seen for a number of years because there was no theater that was strictly committed to producing that kind of work. One Artistic Director--a gay man himself--even told me that he was worried about doing too many plays in one season that dealt with LGBTQ issues at the risk of being branded “the gay theater.”

And I thought--What would be so bad about that?

So, over the years at Epic, we’ve produced shows like The Normal Heart, Angels in America, Bootycandy, Stop Kiss, Fire Island, Orlando, and many other shows that don’t merely glance at the queer experience in America, but make it their focal point.

That brings us to Dada Woof Papa Hot--one of the first plays to examine what happens after gay marriage. It asks the question--

What happens when we get what we thought we wanted?

It looks at the people who’ve been fighting to secure the rights gay people of my generation are able to enjoy today. The fight is far from over, but within the strides we’ve made lay a new set of problems, many of them brought about because of the hold heteronormative culture has on the institution of marriage and parenting.

The characters in this play are grappling with how to maintain their identities while adjusting to a new reality, and it’s forcing them to examine their personal convictions about monogamy, domesticity, and mortality.

It’s hard to believe we’re now reaching the end of our seventh season here at Epic. As I’m writing this, it’s possible for you to see wonderful shows like Fun Home at the Wilbury Group, The Rocky Horror Show at Out Loud (featuring our director Theodore Clement #synergy), and other queer-focused productions and companies cropping up all the time, and that makes me very happy.

The month of June is when we celebrate Pride, and it’s also a time for us to look at how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. As I look back at what we’ve done here at Epic not just this season, but over the past seven years, and how much the community we’re a part of has evolved, it certainly does make me feel proud--and ready to keep fighting into a brand new season.


Photo by Samantha Gaus

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