NEXT UP - THE PARIS LETTERMonday, June 04, 2012
Sherry Netherland
The Group Rep at The Lonny Chapman Theatre is proud to be presenting The Paris Letter by Jon Robin Baitz

We are only the second company in California to be granted the rights to The Paris Letter. The first was the Kirk Douglas Theatre, in 2004, which was the world premiere.

Playwright Jon Robin Baitz was twice honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination. The first time in 1996 for his play, “A Fair Country,” and the second time was this past year for “Other Desert Cities,” which is also a current Tony Award nominee for Best Play. Baitz is popularly known as the creator of the TV series, "Brothers and Sisters."

The Paris Letter is a gripping drama that affirms the bonds between human beings to show the struggle of a man born one generation too early. Before Stonewall, when "Are you a friend of Dorothy's?" was code for "Are you gay?" when you went to a psychiatrist to cure homosexuality, a man could marry, have kids and "prove" he was straight. This was a time when being discovered as gay or lesbian could mean ruin. The play takes us on an electrifying journey back and forth through time in the life of Sandy Sonnenberg, a man who lives a life of privilege which lulls him into believing he is untouchable. His extra-curricular homosexual affair entangles him in a disastrous financial scheme which cuts the thin thread that ties him to a conventional life.

Although seen through the lens of a gay man, this play is even more about friendship and the high price that truly committed friendship exacts. It is also about seeking personal enlightenment and the struggles we have to live with the decisions we make in its pursuit.

The themes of the Paris Letter remain timely. Our main character, Sandy, seeks psychiatric help in the early 1960’s with hope of curing himself of homosexuality. In May, 2012, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, often known as the father of modern psychiatry, issued a letter of apology to the gay community for “making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy.” He also apologized “to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some ‘highly motivated’ individuals.”

The Group Rep is producing this thought provoking masterpiece because of its commitment to equal rights. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals are still victims of hate crimes and their civil rights can still be denied. Gay marriage is still illegal in most states and even in the states where it is legal, married same-sex couples cannot share in those rights that are granted to married couples at the federal level.

The Group Rep is passionate about its commitment to marriage equality and equal rights to all Americans, honoring their mission statement, penned by founding artistic director, Lonny Chapman - “First, to entertain; then to illuminate the human condition – and never be boring.”

We are attempting to raise $2,250 to underwrite the production costs of The Paris Letter which will include the cost of the royalties and set design. Our membership dues and ticket sales revenues account for only 1/2 of our annual budget. The remainder of our operating expenses are drawn from donations.
Please visit our indiegogo campaign and help us reach our goal.



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