SUNRISE AT HYDE PARK
Words & music Tom Wilson Weinberg
EZRA BERKLEY NEPON as Lorena Hickok
HEIDI HAYES as Eleanor Roosevelt
ANDREW CROWLEY as Ray Corry
Designed by Kevin Broad
July 23rd, 24th, 25th, 2014
WILLIAM WAY COMMUNITY CENTER
1315 Spruce St., Philadelphia
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Presented by ARTS PROJECT CHERRY GROVE
Cherry Grove, Fire Island
* Center to stage new Weinberg musical, Philadelphia Gay News
* 6 Gay Things to do in Philadelphia, G Philly
* Tom Wilson Weinberg Brings His “Sunrise at Hyde Park,” Love Story of Eleanor Roosevelt & Lorena Hickok, to Cherry Grove
1932: Lorena Hickok, a hot-shot reporter for the Associated Press, is assigned to interview Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of New York State Governor and Presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hickok wants to be covering crime, corruption and war. The shy, reluctant Eleanor wants to be left alone. This awkward interview changes the lives of both women.
1962: Ray Corry, an ambitious young curator at the Roosevelt Museum in Hyde Park, pressures the ill and aged Hick to donate her 30 years of letters, the intimate correspondence of two remarkable women. Corry is shaken by the content he discovers – the passion and complexity of the Eleanor/Hick relationship and the impact the letters have on his own life.
Based on ELEANOR & HICK, words & music by Tom Wilson Weinberg, book by Peggy Stafford, original direction by Darren Katz.
PRODUCED AUG 2009, JAN 2010
In this 1-hour show, five deviant queers, their mythical beast secret identities, and all of their ghosts walk into a cabaret. The result is a play about yearning for ancestors, the empty spaces left by the first generation of AIDS deaths in queer communities and the way the next generation is called to fill those spaces. In a culture based on chosen families, which of our desires are inherited?
In this re-interpretation of Yiddish theater classic The Dybbuk, the consensual possession of a lover by the ghost of their beloved is a model for acknowledging the collective loss we hold and reflect in our queer bodies. The cabaret is a love letter to the ghosts among us. More information, photos, and documentation here.
I’ve had the pleasure of co-creating and performing in many spectacular Purimshpils organized by the Auf Tslokhes Spectacle Committee, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeiter Ring, and Great Small Works. I recently compiled a history of these fabulous productions – check it out!
I’m quoted in this 2/10 piece on Purim over at Tablet Mag: Unmasked: Has Purim replaced Passover as the best holiday vehicle for expressing individual Jewish identity? By Liel Leibovitz
More about the history of radical queer purimspiels! Wrestling With Esther: Purim Spiels, Gender, and Political Dissidence. Zeek Magazine, March 2006
Plus here’s a couple new and old postings from my life as Ben Hesherman, bar mitzvah boy metalhead and 1999 Drag King of Philadelphia!
May 2014 article in the Jewish Daily Forward quotes me about Ben Hesherman: Jewish Drag Kings Reclaim Male Roles for Women
…The future of drag king performance is anyone’s guess, though no one thinks it will disappear. Nepon hopes the art form moves to the “edge of weirdness, politically, theatrically, and culturally.”