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Broadway at the beach

Clear Space provides theater fix for Rehoboth visitors all summer

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Rehoboth Clear Space Theatre
20 Baltimore Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Show times depend on the week

A scene from one of last year’s plays at Rehoboth Clear Space Theatre. (Photos courtesy the theater)

General admission is $30, senior citizens are $25 and students are $15

For many theaters, summer is the slowest time of year as families escape the city heat for the cooler shore. But for Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth Beach, the influx of tourists keeps the theater teeming with people finding alternative ways to spend a summer night at the beach.

The theater gets so busy that this year its management is running three different shows at once in rotation. This year’s shows, which each cost between $8,000 and $25,000 to produce, include, “Cabaret,” “Broadway at the Beach” and “Annie.”

“Our seasons tend to appeal to a variety of tastes,” says Doug Yetter, founder and musical director. “For the summer season, we offer a family musical (“Annie”), a more adult-themed show (“Cabaret”) and a revue show that bridges the gap.”

“Annie,” opened June 30 and is the famous musical about a little orphan girl who goes on adventures in her orphanage and eventually around New York City, ingratiating herself with the president and finding a home in the Warbucks’ mansion.

“Cabaret” opened June 28 and is the more mature show being performed at Clear Space. Taking place in the Kit Kat Klub in Nazi Germany, American writer Cliff falls for a Klub performer named Sally Bowles. The play observes how they try to make their love survive in a changing world.

“Broadway at the Beach” opened this week and brings several Broadway hit songs to the shores of Delaware.

All shows run until September with “Broadway at the Beach” closing the season on Sept. 2.

Despite the schedule — each show is performed at least once a week — changing sets hasn’t been a problem.

“When my former partner and I were thinking to move down here, we thought we need to clear some space,” Yetter says. “We don’t need great sets for this; we let the audience bring their imagination.”

Yetter and his former partner co-founded Clear Space Theatre when they moved to Rehoboth Beach from New York City in 2004. Yetter says they thought the community would “benefit both culturally and economically from having a year-round theater.”

Yetter had about 40 years of musical theater experience, putting on productions all over the country. At Clear Space he works largely as artistic and musical director, overseeing all productions.

Since there’s not a strong emphasis on the sets for these shows, the costumes and characters have to carry the productions. Bill Clark, the full-time costume designer, immerses himself in the various stories to dress the cast appropriately.

“When we choose the shows we’re going to do three months out from our first creative meeting, I read the scripts three times,” he says. “Then I create a costume plot, detailed scenes that serve as a map, and from there I sketch individual costumes.”

For Clark’s favorite costumes in “Cabaret,” he began studying the culture in Berlin from 1925 onward. He also studied the works by Christopher Isherwood, a gay novelist from the 1930s, who wrote the original story upon which “Cabaret” is based, trying to reflect its dark tones in the clothes the Kit Kat Klub girls don.

“I’ve put the girls in some vintage lingerie from that era with a corset pattern,” he says.

Compared to other renditions of “Cabaret,” director Dorothy Neuman says her version may appear darker.

“It’s very topical,” she says. “A force in the government, the Nazis who are coming to power, have certain prejudices in society. They consider that they have the right answer. I feel this is a very parallel situation in America, a very strong conservative right in which they think they know what is morally right and if you don’t agree with them then you are not American.”

Neuman, who identifies as a “woman who happens to be gay,” has been directing theater since 1978, starting in various places in Arlington, Va., and Washington.

Michael Matthias, who is acting in all three productions, says that he’s looking forward to “Cabaret” mostly because of its darker overtones. He also says staging three shows is made easier because they are working with mostly the same company all year round.

“We are considered a professional theater because we have a year-round theater company,” he says. “The theater holds auditions for roles not filled by the company.”

As part of the company, he’s expected to continue his growth as an actor by attending classes. This season, he plays Rooster Hannigan in “Annie,” he’s part of the ensemble in “Broadway at the Beach” and also Cliff in “Cabaret.”

Chris Poeschl, an actor brought in for the summer, says Clear Space Theatre is different from most venues where he’s performed.

“It’s such an intimate experience, when we are out on the stage we are in the audience,” he says.

Poeschl is in the ensemble for “Broadway at the Beach,” but is excited for all three productions. None of the plays are LGBT-specific, though “Cabaret,” of course, has long been a gay favorite.

“‘Cabaret’ in our theater is handled very maturely, very real,” he says. “It’s a reliable description.”

Because of the large LGBT population in Rehoboth, Yetter says he makes it a point to include shows with gay appeal.

“We really serve the community,” he says. “It’s important that we have pieces that are inclusive.”

Bob Hoffer and Max Dick, who have been attending performances at Clear Space for the past five years, say the small, tight-knit community of the theater draws in many Rehoboth gay residents and visitors.

“There are a lot of gay and lesbian people involved in the theater,” Hoffer says. “Often you will run into a lot of cast members in the restaurants and bars around the theater. Going to the theater gives you a kind of perk in your day.”

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Arts & Entertainment

10 LGBTQ events this week

Set sail on the Potomac and celebrate the beginning of summer in Rehoboth

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(Washington Blade file photos by Molly Byrom, Joey DiGuglielmo and Michael Key)

Below are our picks for some oDf the most fun and creative things to do this week in D.C. that are of special interest to the LGBTQ community.

Number Nine 11th Anniversary

Number Nine (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Wednesday, May 19
5 p.m.
Number Nine
1435 P Street, N.W.
Facebook

The gay bar Number Nine celebrates 11 years of business on Wednesday with an old school 2-4-1 happy hour.

DC Boys of Leather Happy Hour (fundraiser for DC Abortion Fund)

Thursday, May 19
6-9 p.m.
Trade
1410 14th Street, N.W.
Facebook

Join the DC boys of Leather for its monthly happy hour. This month’s gathering is raising money for the DC Abortion Fund: a local DC organization that provides financial support for residents of and visitors to DC in their reproductive health care.

Taste of Point

Thursday, May 19
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Room & Board
1840 14th Street, N.W.
$50-$100 advance / $120 door
Facebook

The Point Foundation, an organization that provides LGBTQ youth scholarships and mentorships, is holding its “Spring Garden Party” on May 19th at Room & Board. Several local restaurants are participating.

Blade Summer Kickoff Party

Friday, May 20
5-7 p.m.
The Pines
56 Baltimore Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
$20
Facebook

Join the Washington Blade for our 15th annual Summer Kickoff Party in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The special guest this year is Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Miss Freddie’s 2022

Destiny B. Childs at the Miss Freddie’s pageant. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Friday, May 20
5-7 p.m.
Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 23rd Street S
Arlington, Va.
$10 cover
Facebook

The annual Miss Freddie’s drag pageant returns in person at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant in Arlington, Va. on Friday.

Rough House

Friday, May 20
10 p.m.
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court
$10
Facebook

Join DJs Lemz, Sean Morris, Dean Sullivan and the Barber Streisand and check your clothes at the door for a night of “hands on, lights off” dancing.

Booty Cruise Tea Dance

Saturday, May 21
2-4:30 p.m.
Potomac River
Meet at 3050 K Street, N.W.
$76
Facebook | Eventbrite

Set sail with Fruity Boi Productions & N/S/A Play on the Booty Cruise Tea Dance with an open bar on Saturday. The boat leaves promptly at 2 p.m.

Worthy Mentoring Pride Brunch

Carson Kressley (Blade file photo by Molly Byrom)

Sunday, May 22
12-3 p.m.
Four Seasons Hotel
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
$150+
Facebook | Website

Original “Queer Eye” guru Carson Kressley hosts the Worthy Mentoring brunch. With a gourmet brunch, bottomless drinks, multiple DJs, drag queens and a good cause, Sunday’s event is one of the hottest tickets in town.

DC Gay Flag Football League Finals

D.C. Gay Flag Football League (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Sunday, May 22
games 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Carter Barron Fields
afterparty and awards 3 p.m. at the Dirty Goose
913 U Street, N.W.
Website

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League holds their final games of the season at Carter Barron Fields and then celebrates with an end-of-season party and awards ceremony at the Dirty Goose on Sunday.

Onyx Code Red: Crimson Cosplay

Sunday, May 22
9 p.m.-2 a.m.
5380 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite C
Alexandria, Va.
$25-$100
Eventbrite

Break out your leather, fetish, and kinky looks for a night of fun and a great cause. Red is the color, cosplay is the theme on Sunday night.

If you would like to let us know about an upcoming event, email [email protected] with details.

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Arts & Entertainment

Disney donating all profits from Pride Collection to LGBTQ+ organizations and charities

“Disney has a long history of supporting LGBTQ+ organizations & charities- the Pride Collection is showing our support for the community”

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The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company announced Monday that it is donating all of the profits of its pride merchandise to charities that help the LGBTQ community. The announcement comes over the company’s battles with Florida’s Republican political leadership over the passage of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ measure and more recent government actions that removed the self-governing law over Disney-held properties known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

In a post on the company’s blog, Disney Senior Vice President, Global Marketing Lisa Becket, who identifies a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself wrote:

“Disney has a long history of supporting LGBTQIA+ organizations and charities around the world, including GLSEN in the U.S. This year, we are further deepening our support. We will be donating all of our profits from the Disney Pride Collection sales now through June 30, 2022, to organizations that support LGBTQIA+ youth and families. This includes merchandise from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.

In the U.S., profits from the collection will benefit GLSEN,  PFLAGThe Trevor ProjectZebra CoalitionLos Angeles LGBT CenterLGBT Center Orange CountySan Francisco LGBT Center and Ali Forney Center. Profits from other regions around the world will continue to support local charities in those countries. You can learn more about these organizations and their incredible, impactful work by visiting TWDCPrideCollection.com

I’m proud to share just a bit about what we are doing for the LGBTQIA+ community and to joyfully celebrate Pride not just for the month of June, but all year-round.”

The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company
The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

The company also noted:

“The Disney Pride Collection is just one way Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is showing our support for the LGBTQIA+ community during the month of June. There’s plenty to celebrate at our theme parks and resorts, from entertainment and art displays to festive décor, Disney PhotoPass Service photo opportunities, and themed food and beverage offerings. We’ll also be highlighting inspirational and celebratory stories about our guests, cast and community on the Disney Parks Blog and across our social media channels.”

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Sports

British soccer player comes out

Jake Daniels is Blackpool FC forward

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Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels/Blackpool FC UK

A 17-year-old professional soccer player has made history only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in the sport in the U.K.

Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels joins with Justinus Soni “Justin” Fashanu as the only two footballers to declare themselves openly out. Fashanu had come out in an exclusive with The Sun tabloid newspaper on Oct. 22, 1990, and later retired in 1997. He later passed away in London in May 1998.

Daniels made his announcement via a statement released by the team on its webpage:

“This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch. I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my teammates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup. 

But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am. I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.

It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.        

In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first. I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.   

I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this.

There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.

You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.

Jake”

The team itself also noted:

“Blackpool Football Club has worked closely with Stonewall and the relevant footballing organizations to support Jake and is incredibly proud that he has reached a stage where he is empowered to express himself both on-and-off the pitch.

It is vital that we all promote an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, and that football leads the way in removing any form of discrimination and prejudice.”

The largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the UK, Stonewall tweeted:

Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in seaside resort of Blackpool on the Irish Sea coast of England.

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