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Art by Jason Simon

Token Theatre Friends: Pride With Caitlin Kinnunen and Larry Owens

This week, stars of ‘The Prom’ and ‘A Strange Loop’ discuss staying positive in show business and queer representation. Plus the Friends review ‘Frankie and Johnny,’ ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ and ‘In the Green.’

Twice a month on the Token Theatre Friends video series and podcast, theatre critics (and theatre besties) Jose Solís and Diep Tran bring a POC perspective to the performing arts.

This week the Friends celebrate Pride Month with two special guests: Caitlin Kinnunen of The Prom and Larry Owens of A Strange Loop. In The Prom, Kinnunen plays Emma, a high school student who wants to bring her girlfriend to prom, to the disgust and disapproval of the locals who believe only straight couples should attend. Broadway plays a different role in (the Off-Broadway) Loop, where Owens plays Usher, a queer black man working as an usher for a show about singing animals while trying to write a musical about a character named Usher who works as an usher. Kinnunen and Owens spoke about playing queer lead characters in musicals, where they find inspiration to keep working in theatre, and how they’re celebrating Pride.

The audio of the interview is also available on the podcast, where the Friends review three shows currently playing in New York City:

The Secret Life of Bees by Susan Birkenhead, Lynn Nottage, and Duncan Sheik, at Atlantic Theatre Company through July 21 ($106 -$126). This musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s novel chronicles the struggles of African American women in 1960s South Carolina, as seen through the eyes of a white girl running away from home.

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally, at the Broadhurst Theatre through August 25 ($49-$159). Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon star in the revival of McNally’s seminal play about love in the late 1980s. Are the gender politics dated for 2019, or is the play’s idea of romance still relevant?

In the Green by (previous TTF guest) Grace McLean at LCT3 through August 4 ($30). McLean’s experimental musical focuses on the life of Hildegard von Bingen, a revolutionary philosopher, composer, and scientist who spent three decades inside a convent trying to become “whole.”

Then the Friends rant for the 100th time about why Broadway has to be so damn expensive, and react to the news of the celebrity cast planned for the film adaptation of The Prom.

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