Over a 10-year period, CulturalDC’s Source Festival has developed and produced about 250 new plays, employed 1,100 artists from all over the country and performed for more than 16,000 viewers.
Running through July 2, this year’s festival offers “Perfect Arrangement,” set in a Georgetown duplex in 1950 in which two married, opposite-sex couples live next door to each other. They’re all gay but use their marriages and living arrangements to hide. The piece by Topher Payne won a 2017 Lambda Literary Award.
The festival is also offering six “best of” 10-minute plays, readings of three full-length plays, six new 10-minute plays and two artistic “blind dates,” which could be anything.
Associate Producer Lee Cromwell says the festival offers a rare chance to see “thematic work explored dramatically.”
“Even though D.C. is a good city for theater professionals, there’s always a need for artists new or recent to D.C. to make art and connections,” the 35-year-old Harrington, Del., native says. “The festival is a great way to try out new formats of art or to spend an evening laughing and discovering a new world.” Full details on the festival are online at sourcefestival.org. Productions are held at Source (1835 14th St., N.W.).
Cromwell, who came to Washington three years ago to be “back on the East Coast” after a stint in grad school in Indiana, works several part-time gigs in theater, music and education. He’s single and lives in Petworth. He enjoys Mall walks, Netflix binges and, of course, the performing arts in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Since I was 16 and my parents. I wrote them a letter because I was scared to say it in person, but they were great about it.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Fran McDaniel, a mentor from my undergrad. The first person who helped me see how being gay is a part of my most authentic self.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I used to love Apex when I would visit. Number 9 is pretty great. But I’ll enjoy anyplace with good food/drink and a nice rooftop view.
Describe your dream wedding.
In October, because I want photos taken with the changing leaves and to not be too hot in a tux. I also would like tons of music, both in the ceremony and at the reception.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Support for the arts and artists. Those are two very different issues that often get jumbled together.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would change political elections, local and national, that were won through fear, intimidation and false narratives.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Watching the musical “Hamilton” became a part of the greater pop culture.
On what do you insist?
Being on time, open communication and always trying to find humor in this crazy life.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Other than press/marketing for the Source Festival, my latest posts have been YouTube music links.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Passion With a Side of Humility” (or some spin on the juxtaposition of being passionate and driven vs. the idea of humility and working collaboratively).
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I don’t think it is changeable, but if that ever happens I would fight to make sure that it is never used for harm.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in a greater spiritual presence, but one that is not easy to define or explain.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
To serve the LGBTQ communities is to appeal to a broad range of perspectives; honoring all different types of humanity is much more complicated, but in the end, more valued and appreciated.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
People I believe in. I’m fiercely loyal to those closest to me.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we get locked into way too many judgments purely by our body type and physicality.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
Too many to list. “The Birdcage” comes to mind first.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Asking “How are you?” when people don’t care or take the time to really listen to the response.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Writing this on the weekend of the Tony Awards in New York brings that to mind. But it’s usually other performers or plays that I champion that I want to win accolades.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That it’s OK to start on a journey and not know the destination.
The vibe of this city is unlike any other I’ve known and I feel like I fit here.