ANIMIZE Magazine Volume 4 Issue 1 January 2019 - Page 45

That is not to say that the play hasn’t changed along with its audience. Fierstein has taken the four hour play’s three acts and revised it down to its current two act version that now runs under three hours. In doing so he has himself had a opportunity to revisit his own work. As an actor, working alongside the playwright has been a gift to the cast. ‘He has been essential to our understanding of the text and the time these characters are living in. While the play is not fully autobiographical, Arnold’s experience was inspired by Harvey’s real life experience and Harvey has been at the ready with personal stories and historical anecdotes that help illuminate the life of a gay person in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He made a change to some staging because he remembered that dancing was illegal in gay bars at the time of the play. Little fact checks like that are important for our credibility as we tell the story of a specific time period. But they’re also emotionally resonant and help to inform our performances in deeper ways.’

Michael describes the audience’s reaction to the work as electric. He comments on the physical reactions, ‘raucous laughter and heartfelt tears’, that have greeted the cast nightly. But the play itself has left its mark on him personally. ‘Alan’s bravery inspires me. As does Arnold’s. This play has taught me a lot about pride. I’ve never been prouder to be gay and this play and the friendships it’s given me have a lot to do with that.’

‘I think Alan is fearless. He’s also a little reckless. I think I’m slightly more risk averse than Alan, but that also might just be because I grew up in a very tolerant, open minded corner of the world and never had to be as daring as people like him did.’ Despite their differences, Michael sees some similarities. ‘Where I think I match Alan’s fearlessness is in love. I demand a lot of my partners, like Alan. But, also like Alan, I think I give a lot in return.’

Torch Song begins its North American tour starting in the fall of 2019 in Los Angeles. Hsu Rosen is excited for audiences outside of New York to see the play, he is equally excited for the release of several film projects he has been working on. ‘I’m particularly excited for people to see a short film called Lavender.’ Starring Hsu Rosen, Urie and Ken Barnett, it will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.