November 29th & 30th, 2019
Toledo Repertoire Theatre
An elegy is a poetic writing honoring the dead. “Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens” is a musical review, written during the heart of the AIDS crisis, which does just that; it shares with the audience the types of stories of those we’ve lost to AIDS-related illness and offers hope for the future through a combination of songs and monologues.
This musical actually predates RENT and was innovative in that it expressed the concerns facing the communities being impacted by and dying from AIDS. I wanted to do this show because it tells a variety of experiences, not just those of white gay males. My hope is to be able to inspire our community and then devise our own theatrical experience educating others on what it is like to live with HIV today, asking the question, “If Elegies were written today, what would like look like? What stories should be told? What has been missing from the canon?”
It is important to be educated and help fight the stigma related to HIV. I want our audiences to walk away with more empathy and knowledge to get us toward a stigma-free community. Our cast is exceptional and does a brilliant job of that! It is comprised of a combination of professional-level actors, community members who support the cause, and HIV advocates alike. We are coming together to share with Toledo a voice that isn’t often heard.
1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States today. These people are important and deserve the same human dignity as any other. Treatment and prevention works and we all need to know that. I relate to AIDS activist Peter Stanley who said, “I think it’s a great way to live, to fight for yourself, to fight for your friends, to fight for a community of individuals who are sharing your experience and to fight for dignity and a better life, and there will be a tipping point. There will be victories and they will be joyous.” I’ve not witnessed the death. I’ve witnessed friends, family, and significant others live productive and healthy lives despite their diagnosis. They are not monstrous. They are not plagued. Since the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) language is being recognized by the CDC, we need everyone to know that treatment and prevention WORK.