Public Announcement – Tuesday, April 2, 2019
“Pray the Gay Away” – a serious musical comedy written by Conrad Askland, will premiere November 8-24, 2019 at the Historic Lincoln Theater in Mount Vernon, WA (USA). The show will be produced by TAG (Theater Arts Guild of Skagit County, WA) and directed by Lindsey Bowen and Gabriel Guevara.
Auditions will be June 25-27, 2019 in Mount Vernon, WA. Show information and audition signups are available at https://ptgashow.com. Follow the PTGA 2019 show on Facebook at: https://www.Facebook.com/ptgainfo .
Conrad Askland (writer) on “Pray the Gay Away – a serious musical comedy
“Pray the Gay Away” is my fourth full length original musical. My previous musicals were Witches (2012), PAN (2013) and Romeo and Juliet (2015). This project is much more complex than my previous projects. The interplay of the book, music and lyrics is very delicate because of the subject matter. “Pray the Gay Away” is about gay conversion therapy. This story takes place in Minnetonka, Minnesota 1982. It is a story about a church, an emerging LGBQT support group and a family caught in the middle of differing views on gay conversion therapy, sexual identity, politics and theology.
A show is never complete until a public paying audience is in front of it. On the November 8, 2019 premiere is when we will know how the general public views this work. I would anticipate, and it should be obvious with a show dealing with politics, religion and sexual identity, that audience views on this musical may differ wildly.
I can tell you that in our many group readings so far, the material of PTGA is landing as I intended it to land. Readers have been surprised to find out that many of the stereotypes they were expecting in the script, were not there at all. I believe the vision for this story is unique. I also believe that it is told in a way that is very entertaining and moving. The show uses humor to address a painfully serious subject that we are currently dealing with in the United States in different ways. Not just gay conversion therapy, but also the topic of gay conversion therapy in its application to adolescents.
I have been working on the book, music and lyrics of “Pray the Gay Away” for many years. My fear had always been that I was too late to bring this to the stage. Too late to be socially relevant. Too late to make a difference. The sad truth, here in 2019, is that if anything, I am too early in bringing this to the stage. The battle still wages on as strong as it ever has.
It is time to take this topic and bring it to the stage in a new light. The subject of gay conversion therapy needs to be talked about more. It should not, and cannot, be swept under the rug anymore.
This is not a show I want to do. This is a show I have to do. To quote the great 16th century theologian Martin Luther:
“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
– Conrad Askland (April 2, 2019)