Prizm News / March 7, 2018 / By Bob Vitale

 

Two narrators for “Two Boys Kissing” talk about the show and how it moves audiences. (Video courtesy of the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus)

Columbus, Philadelphia gay men’s choruses collaborate on a choral theater piece to be presented in both cities starting this weekend.

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By Bob Vitale

David Levithan’s 2013 novel, “Two Boys Kissing,” which weaves together stories of young gay men and the generation that fought and died before them, comes to life this weekend in a Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus performance that breaks new ground on stage and off. 

The chorus will perform its spring concert Saturday and Sunday at the Lincoln Theatre in a collaborative effort with the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. The piece of choral theater—it includes soloists, actors, musicians and more than 100 combined chorus members—also will be performed by the two choruses on Saturday, March 24 in Philadelphia. 

“It’s really unique with two choruses collaborating together,” said Adam Burk, executive director of the Columbus chorus. “The sound coming from stage is going to be amazing.” 

“Two Boys Kissing” was adapted into a musical piece that premiered in 2016 at a gathering of GALA Choruses, a national federation of LGBTQ groups. It was there that Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus Artistic Director Timothy Sarsany was taken with it and decided to bring it home to Columbus. 

David Levithan
“Two Boys Kissing”

Levithan’s novel follows two 17-year-old boys who are on a mission to set a world record by kissing for 32 continuous hours.  

They become the focal point of their community—detractors and supporters both—as well as other LGBTQ young people struggling with gender identity, relationships, family and other issues. 

The whole story is narrated by a Greek chorus of men who have died of AIDS, who take joy in the openness of the young men but also know of the struggles they’ll face in their lives. 

“The work doesn’t pull punches,” Burk said. “It can be very funny. It can be very tough. It can be very challenging.” Sarsany says it’s a timely story.

The choruses in both cities have rehearsed separately, although directors have been in touch throughout preparation for the performances. They’ll put it all together for the first time this weekend.

In addition to the collaboration with its Philadelphia counterpart, the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus has used a $4,000 grant from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation to buy copies of Levithan’s novel for young people attending Columbus’ Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, Arts & College Preparatory Academy and the Kaleidoscope Youth Center. Students and their families also will attend a performance this weekend. 

And Levithan will be in Columbus on Friday to speak as part of the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Carnegie Author Series. He will be at the Main Library, 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, 43215; seating starts at 6 p.m., he will speak at 7 p.m., and there will be a Q&A and book signing to follow. Admission is free, but you should register here. 

Only about 60 tickets are left for Saturday night’s Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus performance at 8 p.m. the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St., Columbus, 43203. About 100 tickets are left for Sunday’s show at 2 p.m.

You can order tickets here.

bobvitale@prizmnews.com
@Bob_Vitale

 

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.