Daniel’s Husband

To Tie the Knot or Not: The LGBT Community Debates

In Daniel’s Husband, the issue of gay marriage is an important theme, and a divisive issue for partners Daniel and Mitchell, who have different views on the topic. In the aftermath of the legalization gay marriage across all 50 states, many gay and lesbian couples face pressures to marry. So what are people’s reasons for tying the knot… Or not?

Daniel's Husband at Primary Stages

Ryan Spahn and Matthew Montelongo in the Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband. Photo by James Leynse. 

 

PRO: They want to be accepted.

“Couples as well as individuals in the LGBT community will seem less “different” from heterosexual lifestyle, so straight couples and individuals will be more inclined to accept homosexual couples into their communities.”

CON: They don’t want to be involved in a previously discriminatory institution.

“I didn’t want to be a part of any club that wouldn’t have me as a member.”

PRO: It could decrease teen suicide rates.

“We need to explain to younger generations that being different is not a social disability, so that they will never feel the need to take their own lives because they are gay.”

CON: They want to remain unique.

“We’ve got marriage, it’s called a civil partnership and I rejoice in the fact that people like me who are different from straight people can do something they can’t. I relish that.”

PRO: They want to adopt children.

“Many agencies will only release children to “married” couples, therefore rejecting stable, loving, homosexual parents.”

CON: They can gain all the benefits elsewhere.

“The beauty of a civil union or domestic partnership is that it can offer both straight and gay couples the benefits that traditionally married couples receive without having to actually get married, an act that some may find ‘patriarchal’ and ‘anachronistic.’”

PRO: They want hospital visitation and medical rights.

“Legalizing gay marriage will allow gay couples hospital visitation rights and respect the validity of their marriage by letting them make medical decisions on behalf of their spouses.”

CON: They fear it will end poorly.

“Legba Carrefour… calls it a “destructive way of life” that produces broken families.”

PRO: They do it… because they can!

“Gay people who are in favor of same-sex marriage believe anything short of marriage is not equality.”

CON: They don’t feel it will change anything.

“We love each other and have lived together for 30 years,” he said. “Why do we need to get married?”

 

The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband runs until April 28, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

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Primary Stages Profile: Michael Palmer, Stage Manager

As Stage Manager for the Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband, Michael Palmer takes on a variety of roles throughout each step of putting a show on stage. In this candid interview, Michael talks about what his job entails, his favorite theater memory, and the one factor that makes his job worth it, every single time.

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The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband. Photo by James Leynse.

What made you want to become a stage manager?

I fell into it. I started out as an actor, dancer, chorus boy, and a musician. I played and piano and violin, and I was a music major in school. And my roommate was a stage manager. Years ago on a tour, they needed an ASM (assistant stage manager). So I said, ‘I’ll do it’. And so throughout the years I would, if someone said, “Hey we need a stage manager, will you do it?” I would do it. And then I was casting a production of the Scottish play, and the stage manager left before we even started so I said “I’ll do his work until you find someone else.” And then the director was fired, and a new director came in and they still hadn’t found a stage manager so I was basically stage-managing it. The show never ended up going up and the producer pulled out eventually. But then I got another stage managing gig and another stage-managing gig. And then I just became a stage manager. I’ve been stage-managing now for about ten years full time.

Not everyone knows what a stage manager does. Could you explain your job?

It’s a hard job to describe, but how I look at it is that everyone is involved in the show, I put it in a big circle: producers, directors, actors, and designers. I kind of stand in the middle and just make sure everything is working, everyone is communicating, and everyone has what they need. It’s sort of like an office manager because, especially in the beginning, you’re doing all the scheduling, and paperwork and things that are happening: everyone has scripts, making sure scripts are updated. When you get into the rehearsal process, you’re making sure everything is written down: what props are needed, where they’re going, where the actors are moving, staying on lines to make sure they’re learning their lines correctly, and you’re working as a right hand with the director. When the show starts running, you do what’s called, “calling the show”. You’re on the headsets calling for the lights, and the sound, and the crew, and so you’re running the show.

Do you have a favorite theater memory?

There’s just so many. I grew up here in New York so I was always seeing shows: Broadway shows, off, off-off. Well one thing I remember from when I was a kid, I saw a production with Bernadette Peters before she was “Bernadette Peters,” you know? When she was just starting out- it was called Curley McDimple, she must have been about 18. Me and my family, we followed her career because she was the girl we saw. In college, I saw a production with Estelle Parsons and she just blew me away, it was just an amazing thing to see. I stage-managed a show that she directed, so I got to work with her for a little short while. On the second day, she called me, and I was like ‘every time you say my name I shake’.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think the most rewarding part of the job is the show. Everything about it, I can’t find just one thing that is rewarding, it’s the whole thing. The show, getting our show up and people applauding at the end, you know? Liking the work that we’ve all done, collaborative efforts of everyone.

The most challenging?

The scheduling (laughs). The hardest part is just trying to…doing everything that everyone needs, you’re making their lives easier. I mean not only their life on the outside, but you know people having bad days, or things going on, they need this, they need that, sometimes there may be friction. So, I think that’s the most challenging part is to make sure that you’re getting it all done the way people need it, and without stepping on toes or hurting someone. Just do it all with a smile and you’ll get it done.

What is your favorite play? Why?

It’s usually what I’m working on at the time. I mean I do have to say Daniel’s Husband is one of my favorites, it really is. I love everything about this: this experience, the people I’m working with, the actors, the crew, the play itself, the writer. I’ve worked with this director a lot, I love working with him. I love A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I don’t know if I would call that my favorite. I don’t think I have a favorite. I don’t have a favorite color either.

Primary Stages is in the midst of a season-long initiative about “home.” What does that word mean to you? 

Well it conjures up different things in different contexts. But in this context, home is right here. I feel really at home sitting here, or up there, in my booth with my headset on, I’m at home. Coming into this whole process, going to rehearsals. Most people have to have other jobs: waiting tables, working in offices, none of that is home. This is home.

 

The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband runs until April 28, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

 

Daniel’s Husband: Suggested Reading

If you were intrigued by the topics addressed in Daniel’s Husband, you might also like these plays, movies, and articles:

Plays

  • Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts: Luke and Adam are two gay men in a committed relationship. There is just one complication– Luke is extremely religious and Adam is an atheist. The men make their relationship work despite their differences, but one accident will change everything for Adam and Luke.
  • Standing on Ceremony by Mo Gaffney and Jordan Harrison: This compilation of short plays explores the touching, heartbreaking, and sometimes ridiculous moments before same-sex couples say “I Do.”

Films

  • I Do by David W Ross: This 2012 American drama follows a gay man who marries his lesbian best friend in order to get his green card. When he meets the love of his life, he is forced to make a daunting decision and confront the inequality that same-sex couples in America face.
  • Whose Life is it Anyway? by Brian Clark: (It’s also a play!) Ken Harrison is a sculptor who is faced with difficult decisions and a harrowing journey when circumstances alter his life forever.

Documentaries

  • Bridegroom by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason: This 2013 documentary tells the story of Tom Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone, a gay couple that plan to marry when the gay marriage ban in California is lifted. When Tom dies in a tragic accident, his family bars Shane from attending the funeral.
  • The Case Against 8 by Ben Cotner and Ryan White: A look into the journey of the team of people who brought the first lawsuit to the Supreme Court on marriage equality, this documentary spans five years and shows how the same-sex marriage ban is overturned in California.
  • Limited Partnership by Kirk Marcolina and Thomas G Miller: After Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan become one of the first gay couples to be legally married, they face discrimination at the hands of Immigration and Australian born Tony faces the possibility of deportation.
  • State of Marriage by Jeff Kaufman: This documentary sheds light on Mary Bonauto and the two lawyers that helped make Vermont the first state to legalize gay marriage and marriage equality.

Articles

The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband runs March 22 to April 28, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.