June 2021 – It’s safe to say that Conrad Askland is not your average artist and composer. His creativity transcends “traditional” music release formats, in favor of a broader approach, which touches so many different genres and influences. From pop and uptempo folk-inspired dance music, down to musical theatre and plays, anything goes. Conrad has recently released a brand new project, Romeo and Juliet (The Musical). Any theatre enthusiast will tell you that tacking a Willam Shakespeare work is not easy, especially when it comes to turning such a well-known classic into a musical with a different twist! Thankfully, Conrad really managed to accomplish something amazing with this one, and listeners won’t be disappointed, even those who might not be familiar with the original version of Romeo and Juliet! If anything, this adaptation could be a great incentive for someone to go and pick up the collected works of The Bard! This happens to be Conrad’s third full-length musical theater project, and it still stands out as one of his most distinctive achievements. Although the musical play premiered in 2015, it was released as a full-length Youtube Video over at the artist’s official channel, linked at the bottom of this article.
This amazing project is a perfect example of what it’s like to produce great musical theatre pieces with a focus on great scoring inspired by neoclassical music composers.
I ascribe by the motto of “What was funny in third grade will always be funny.” This is MAYBE the silliest song I’ve ever written, and I’ve written a LOT of very silly songs.
I almost never write a song “just to write a song.” There’s always a reason for a song when I write it. I’m very utilitarian, or practical, in that way. “I Like Chocolate” was written for a very specific reason: to make third-graders laugh. And here’s the story all about that…
On Thursday January 30, 2020, the Historic Lincoln Theatre will show Pray the Gay Away® the musical on the big screen. This event is free and open to the public. Join us as we celebrate the cast and crew that brought this new theatrical work to the stage at the very same Lincoln Theatre. Doors open at 6:30pm and showing starts at 7pm. Open festival seating, first-come first-served and it’s free!
We will have some limited edition merchandise for sale to benefit our local chapter of Skagit PFLAG and the writer, Conrad Askland, will be on hand to meet audience members.
Pray the Gay Away® the musical sold out at the Lincoln back in November 2019, so this is your chance to see it if you couldn’t get tickets back then. We felt so bad turning so many people away when it sold out, so please join us! PTGA brought the painful world of gay conversion therapy to the stage that was a hit with audiences.
It all started in Skagit County at the Lincoln Theatre. Join us for a celebration of the cast and crew that brought this show to the stage.
All shows SOLD OUT! Pray the Gay Away® the musical Nov. 8-24, 2019 at Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. I am thrilled at the overwhelming support and ticket demand for my fourth original full-length musical.
Thank you so much to our Pacific Northwest audiences for supporting this show and its mission. Its become bigger than we ever could have imagined. We are in a whirlwind with all the comments and social media buzz coming in. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful.
We do know one thing: audiences are hungry for the experience and message of this show. It is obvious that somehow this show needs to reach more people. We have confidence the people of the Pacific Northwest will find a way to make that happen. The Great People of the Pacific Northwest. You are the best!
The first review is in from La Conner Weekly News on the premiere run of Pray the Gay Away® the musical at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA from Nov. 8-24, 2019. Thank you to Ken Stern for taking the time to watch our show and write the review.
‘Pray the Gay Away” a must see
“By definition world premieres are ambitious. This one is audacious.”
“This is a colorful, high energy production that had a supportive full house audience applauding throughout.”
“This play is a powerhouse of history and current events”
Show photos from opening night of Pray the Gay Away® the musical on Friday, November 8th, 2019 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. Presented by Theater Arts Guild. Book, Music and Lyrics by Conrad Askland. Photos by Gary Brown.
Cascadia Weekly: The play takes place in the 1980s. Same-sex marriage is now legal, and people have more rights than they used to regarding who they love. That said, what do you think the similarities are between now and then when it comes to accepting people for who they are?
Conrad Askland: The reason I am doing this production is that what you are saying should be true. We should be on the “other side” of this issue. The truth is, gay conversion therapy is still being widely practiced in the United States, and the Supreme Court is currently deciding whether the Civil Rights Act applies to the LGBTQ+ community. I personally do not see this as just an issue of gay rights, I see it as an issue of basic human rights, which the LGBTQ+ community should be fully a part of. This divide, this dehumanization, is part of the citizens of the United States defining what our culture is and what we want to stand for.
What would you most like people to know about this show and why they should experience it?
(Conrad) I think people have preconceived notions about what the content of the show is and its viewpoint…and I think most everyone is wrong. I’ve workshopped the material with a wide variety of focus groups to test the material. I always ask two questions: “Is there any place where you feel this show attacks the church?” and “Is there any place where you think this show attacks God?” Every single person in our workshops, over one hundred in all, have said no to both questions. If they had said yes, then I would have made changes. The show is not meant to preach, but to put opposing viewpoints and experiences on stage and let audiences make up their own minds. So in that way it doesn’t have a particular stance — but with the combination of music it will be very emotional for people and give them something to talk about within the community. Especially within churches. Of course, audiences are the final ones to have opinions and we will find those out on opening night.
Afterwards, I sat down with the mastermind, creative and musical director Conrad Askland, to talk this timely play, from inception to world premiere production. This is Askland’s fourth full-length musical and, he said, “by far my best work.” Askland took a two-year hiatus from his career as musical director for Cirque du Soleil and Rock of Ages to write and develop “Pray the Gay Away.” “It is not the show I want to do but the show I have to do,” he says rather openly and humbly. “The is a story that has to be told. We are seeing a roll back in the rights of the LGBTQ community. It’s not just gay rights, it’s about human rights.”
Thank you to Entertainment News Northwest (ENNW) magazine for doing a cover story on my fourth original full-length musical Pray the Gay Away®. Read the ENNW November 2019 cover story article on their website at https://www.ennw.info/
And a big thank you to Marla Bronstein who took the time to attend our rehearsals and interview cast members in preparation for this story. The world premiere of Pray the Gay Away® the musical will run Nov 8-24, 2019 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. More show info on the official PTGA play site at https://ptgashow.com/
Entertainment News Northwest November 2019 cover story
Pray the Gay Away® at the historic Lincoln Theatre
By Marla Bronstein
Pray the Gay Away (PTGA) is an original musical that is best described as a serious musical comedy. Its world premiere, 3-week run open s November 8, 2019 at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA.