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Gay Actors Zachary Quinto, Jesse Tyler Ferguson Join Reading in Honor of Playwright Terrence McNally

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Apr 1, 2020

The theater world mourned the loss of openly gay playwright Terrence McNally, author of the much-celebrated "Love! Valor! Compassion!" and writer for the musical adaptation of the gay-themed novel "Kiss of the Spider Woman," last week. McNally succumbed to COVID-19 at the age of 81.

But McNally, while tragically gone, has not been forgotten. PBS put its 2019 documentary, "Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life," on a streaming platform so that Americans waiting out the virus by self-isolating at home could recall the influential writer and activist's life and career.

And now Broadway follows suit with a reading of McNally's 1991 AIDS drama "Lips Together Teeth Apart," reported Entertainment Weekly. Though the play itself features two heterosexual couples, it is set in the home of a gay man who has died of AIDS.

The reading will take place as a livestream event that not only salutes McNally but also raises funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, an initiative by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Out actors Zachary Quinto ("Heroes," "Star Trek") and Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family") are part of the cast, EW reports.

The reading has been organized by and producers Eric Kuhn and Justin Mikita, EW notes.

The article quoted McNally's husband, Tom Kirdahy - who is on the Board of Trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS - as saying:

"Terrence used his work to make seemingly insurmountable societal issues seem surmountable through his belief in our unwavering human spirit.

"Seeing Terrence's rage, humor, love, and empathy in the face of a virus feels right during this time."

EW also noted that had produced another charitable livestreamed event, a one-night-only revival of Rosie O'Donnell's talk show. That event generated $700,000 for The Actors Fund, EW reported.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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