Atlanta’s Out Front Theater Company is facing a storm of criticism for producing a play deemed “blasphemous” for its gay reimagining of several Bible stories.
The company, which focuses on shows with LGBTQ themes, is preparing for a run of Paul Rudnick’s 1998 Off-Broadway play The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
It features gay-themed adaptations of key Bible stories — here it’s Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve — which has some conservative Christians incensed.
According to the New York Times, Catholic group America Needs Fatima has driven most of the criticism, calling the play “a vile insult to the Mother of God! – because she is insulted as a lesbian!”
The group is urging followers to sign a petition, which reads: “The Holy Mother of God is most pure and holy. To refer to her as a lesbian, or even to insinuate it, is an unspeakable blasphemy, which I reject with all my soul. I fear God’s wrath will fall upon us if reparation is not made.”
Paul Conroy, Out Front’s artistic director, told the New York Times that the play had been known about for weeks. It wasn’t until March 27 that the company was inundated with calls, letters and online messages.
“I guess that’s just when someone found us,” he said, “and my best guess was that it was a Monday, which means that people were at church on Sunday the day before, and that’s when it picked up steam.”
As for canceling the play?
“I’m going to let the show speak for itself, Conroy said. “I don’t see the benefit in responding because I don’t think they’re going to change their minds no matter what I say or anyone else says.”
In addition to massive amounts of publicity for the show, which opens April 27, Out Front also received a letter from Rudnick, the play’s creator. He said he was “delighted” that they were producing The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
“The play has always attracted a certain amount of controversy, mostly from people who haven’t read or seen the play, like the Fatima organization,” he wrote. “Blessedly, all sorts of people, gay and straight, and everyone from atheists to the most devout, most often end up truly enjoying themselves once they’re in the audience.
“From everything I’ve heard, you’re doing wonderful work. Thank you so much and please give my best to everyone involved. You sound pretty fabulous!”
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