Logan Kappler graduates high school and moves away from his hometown of Kowachobee to Lakeshore College, where he is determined to fit in as a gay kid and makes plenty of mistakes in the process. Everybody questions his self-proclaimed homosexuality, and soon Kappler finds himself at the bottom of the social hierarchy of Diversity House, a freshman living-learning community. By taking risks, he finds love, hurts close friends, and somehow becomes popular in Diversity House. As the year closes, Logan is faced with the decision between finding happiness through popularity or self-acceptance. This is the story of “Gay Card,” a new musical for which student-run Center Stage will perform its world premiere.
Writers Jonathan Keebler and Ryan Korrell collaborated with director Clyde Moser and music director Matthew Walker to provide a musical that students and others here in Charleston will find exhilarating and charming to watch. This will be one of the most animated productions at the College. Our cast is determined to please – yes, take that as a sexual innuendo – and looks forward to having fun in the process.
I worked as one of the ensemble cast members in the show. The director granted us a lot of freedom to develop our characters in a unique way throughout the rehearsal process, an aspect of that I found wonderful. For my character, I get to live the dream of many homosexual boys in college; I strut my stuff, act cute and ready for college and explore my trash side at Portal, a.k.a. “the hottest gay club in all of central Florida.” The ensemble possesses a lot of autonomy, becoming characters and not just stock bodies to fill the stage. Many cast members slay at vocal runs (Madeline Shelton, Mary Daly and Michelle Sullivan), our three-man “blog” dishes sass with each appearance (Joshua Bristow, Taj Cummings, and Sarah Milowic), and lead Mark Baldino brings nuance and naiveté to Logan Kappler. These are a sampling of dedicated actors that are pouring with talent in “Gay Card.”
Nothing runs smoothly, and the rehearsal process has had bumps in regards to securing (and losing) a band, keeping an orderly schedule each rehearsal, having every cast member at rehearsals (college, am I right?), having a set prepared only five days before opening night, making sure the writers are satisfied with the staging, blocking, acting, singing, costuming, and potential baby daddies for their unborn children (spoiler – not me), convincing the haters to come see the show (not Westboro Baptist Church), working out music rehearsals and other seemingly unfeasible tasks to create the next musical extravaganza. All of these tasks sound professional as hell, both a great accomplishment and endeavor for a student-run theatre. I am confident to say on behalf of all the cast and crew that working ourselves silly with this show has formed us into better individuals.
“Gay Card” ate the entirety of my willpower, free time, energy and enthusiasm left over after long hours of work. There is no time off with this production. Songs become stuck in your head and you lose sleep because all you can think of at two in the morning is raving club music. Choreography leaves you sore so you cannot sit right for a few days. You run into your cast members in between class, meet up with them at restaurants, house parties and the one gay club that existed in Charleston. People that you once never knew existed in other departments now share intimate stories with you. You make friends. Sure, there are nights that I think this production is a pain in the ass, but you cannot simply ask for a production with, at the very least, the quality of personality, positivity, and creative ability than what this cast has to offer.
“Gay Card” opens Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through April 10. Tickets are $7 for non-CofC students and free for CofC students in Theatre 220. You can find more information about the production here.