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Miss Gay Maryland pageant on Sunday

‘This is a great opportunity for all who want to compete in the talented world of the art form of female impersonation’

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Araya Sparxx, Anastacia Amor, Miss Gay America, Miss Gay Maryland, drag, pageant, gay news, Washington Blade
Araya Sparxx, Anastacia Amor, Miss Gay America, Miss Gay Maryland, drag, pageant, gay news, Washington Blade

Miss Gay Maryland America 2013 winner Araya Sparxx (left) with runner up Anastacia Amor. (Photo by Daniel McGarrity/Daniel McGarrity Photography)

The 1st Miss Gay Maryland United States Pageant as part of the Maryland Division of the Gay United States Pageantry System will take place at Grand Central, 1001 N. Charles St. in Baltimore on Sunday, Aug. 4. The pageant starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. There will be performances by a cast of local drag entertainers.

“This is a great opportunity for all who want to compete in the talented world of the art form of female impersonation,” said Saable Jordan, the organizer of the event. “We welcome all to register for a grand opportunity in reaching your goals.”

VIP tables are $50 (seats 4 people). Tickets at the door are $13 per person. For more information, contact Saable Jordan at 410-805-9519, [email protected].

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Comings & Goings

Jennings named director of Manhattan Theatre Club

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Chris Jennings

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at [email protected].

 The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Chris Jennings on being named Executive Director of the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). David C. Hodgson, chair of the MTC board of directors said, “Chris Jennings brings a wealth of experience to his new role at MTC. After a broad national search, Chris stood out for his strong theater chops, the quality of his body of work at Shakespeare Theatre Company, and familiarity with MTC from his time with us as an Administrative Fellow here in 1996. The board is eager to begin our new partnership with him.” 

Upon accepting the position, Jennings said, “I’m thrilled to return home to MTC, where I began my career and was mentored by Barry Grove. I’m truly excited to partner with Lynne Meadow in building on her success and helping to continue to create an artistic home for the most talented artists working in the theatre today. It is thrilling that in the first few months alone, we’ll be working on new plays by Jocelyn Bioh, Qui Nguyen, John Patrick Shanley, and more. It is with mixed emotions that I take this next step after 19 seasons with STC. My time here has meant more to me than words can say. STC is well positioned for the future with dynamic artistic work and the most dedicated and talented staff.” 

Jennings is completing his 19th season with Shakespeare Theatre Company, having produced 120 shows. Highlights of Jennings’s time with STC include the construction and opening of Sidney Harman Hall in downtown Washington, D.C., receiving the 2012 Regional Theatre Tony Award, leading the artistic transition from founder Michael Kahn to Artistic Director Simon Godwin, and successfully guiding the company through the difficult periods of the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Notably, returning to live performances after the COVID lockdown, he developed a celebrated collaboration with the Nederlander Organization to premiere “Once Upon a One More Time,” which became the biggest-selling show in STC history and is now in previews on Broadway. Under his leadership, STC toured productions to Macau, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom, including to the RSC Complete Works Festival. He has built international collaborations, annually importing high-profile productions from South Africa, France, and the UK, most recently represented by the critically acclaimed and sold-out production of “The Jungle” this spring. During his tenure, STC launched District Shakespeare, a model accessibility program providing every 10th grader from all 53 D.C. schools the opportunity to experience Shakespeare live on stage. Jennings is currently leading a mixed-use real estate project, The Bard, to provide consolidated support including actor housing with an anticipated groundbreaking later this year. 

Jennings has served on numerous boards, including Theatre Washington, D.C. Downtown BID, THE ARC Community Center, and the D.C. Arts Collaborative. Before joining STC he served as General Manager of Trinity Repertory Company and Theatre for a New Audience. Chris held positions with Yale Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Dougherty Arts Center. Jennings was a recipient of an Arts Administration Fellowship from the NEA.

Jennings earned his BFA in Theatre/Music, University of Miami; and MFA in Theatre Management, Yale School of Drama.

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District of Columbia

DC Front Runners Pride 5K to take place as scheduled

Air quality improved overnight

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The D.C. Front Runners hold the Pride Run 5K at Congressional Cemetery on Friday, June 10. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Front Runners’ annual Pride Run 5K will take place as scheduled at Congressional Cemetery on Friday.

The Blade Foundation, SMYAL, the Wanda Alston Foundation, Team DC, Teens Run DC, Pride 365 and Ainsley’s Angels of America are among the race’s beneficiaries. Wegmans, Shake Shack, Knead Hospitality and Design, Choice Hotels and Capital One Café are among the sponsors.

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District of Columbia

Rooftop Pool Party postponed

Capital Pride Alliance moves official event to June 22

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A scene from last year's Capital Pride Rooftop Pool Party. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Capital Pride Rooftop Pool Party, originally scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. tonight, has been postponed until Thursday, June 22, according to a statement released by the Capital Pride Alliance on Instagram. This action comes amid an international climate event created by the Canadian wildfire that has resulted locally in poor air quality and a haze around the region.

The Capital Pride Alliance Instagram account posted, “As with all concerns regarding health and safety issues, the Capital Pride Alliance will closely monitor the air quality situation resulting from Canadian wildfire smoke and take necessary precautions in consultation with our partners in the DC government.”

“What does this mean for the pool party?” a question one private Instagram account user posed in the comment section.

“Important Update:” A representative of the Capital Pride Alliance responded through the group’s official Instagram account. “Tonight’s Capital Pride RoofTop Pool Party at VIDA The Yards is being postponed until Thursday, June 22 at 8:00 pm, due to the current air-quality situation resulting from the Canadian wildfires smoke. Please note that this postponement only applies to today’s event.”

The Capital Pride Alliance has yet to cancel or postpone any further events.

The White House earlier today rescheduled a large outdoor Pride reception planned for this evening to Saturday.

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