Arts News

‘The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon’ Reincarnates in October

She’s back! The secret is out! The large, sold-out audiences that saw Dottie S. Dixon in her stage premiere in May 2009 have demanded her return. In conjunction with Pygmalion Theatre Company, The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon-The Second Coming returns to the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center during the month of October 2009.


Playwrights Charles Lynn Frost and Troy Williams, and Pygmalion producer Fran Pruyn indicate that since there has been such a call for the play to return, it would be completely unfair should they not bring it back as the opening production of Pygmalion’s 2009-10 season. “The show was the most widely attended and talked about production we’ve ever produced,” said Pruyn.

 

Frost and Williams found the collaborative effort with Pygmalion the “perfect partnership” for initially bringing the show to the stage. People from all walks of life attended the show in May; people from diverse cultures, religions, ages, political leanings, sexual orientations and genders. Both Frost and Williams agreed they “were blown away by how different every single audience was.” As they talked to audience members following each performance they pleasantly found a blend of “gay, straight, Gen Y, X, boomers and most surprisingly older Mormon women” who told them “the play spoke with truth and honesty, and was not cynical or malicious; rather it was warm-hearted, compassionate and relevant.”

In preparation for a second run of The Passion, the playwrights are currently deep in the rewriting process, planning to bring additional scenes to the show, new and hilarious multi-media such as Dottie’s One Minute Mormonism, and other topically and timely commentary; all of which will be acted and guided by the loving and accessible Sister Dottie S. Dixon. The October production will include all three of the original cast members, with Frost playing the title character of Dottie, Kent Frogley playing Dixon’s best friend, neighbor and performance accompanist Dartsey FoxMoreland, and featuring Lisa Giocoletto as The Divine Feminine returning with her amazing and powerful voice which will be woven throughout the show during this second run.

Beyond the praise and overwhelming approval of the first production was how it changed lives. One mother came to a performance with friends, and said, “I need to bring my son back to see this show with me, he has something he needs to tell me.” Indeed she did take him and went to dinner after the show where he came out to her, and a new and honest dialogue originated.

Gay and lesbian people of all ages went to the production initially with friends or alone, wondering if the show would offend their Mormon or conservative parents, and returned with large family groups opening new and accepting conversations of love and better understanding of GLBT — as well as other familial and Mormon — issues. Many non-Mormons who attended the production indicated that it given them a fuller understanding of not only the religion, but the complexities of GLBT issues when juxtaposed against it.

The play just had an amazing impact, all the while being a hilarious comedy, sprinkled with timely poignant and illuminating moments,” one audience member offered.

Not only did The Passion receive tremendous audience approval and an outcry for it to return, it also received much critical praise. Scott Renshaw of Salt Lake City Weekly said, “A one-man/woman show is an opportunity either to crash or to soar, and Frost soars. But what’s truly surprising is how smartly constructed this play is.”

Kelly Ashkettle of IN This Week wrote, “Thank goddess for Sister Dottie S. Dixon. Her one-woman show is a sparkling comedy featuring a wacky, 50-something Mormon woman who’s funny to a Utah audience. The production details were meticulously crafted.”

Critics from the online media also praised Sister Dottie. Mike Bonifer of The Huffington Post described Dottie as “a game-changer of the highest order. The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon, which chronicles her experiences as the activist Mormon mother of a gay son. Her show, a comedy with what she describes as ‘moments of poignancy,’ addresses the controversy of Sister Dottie’s stubborn refusal to accept the Mormon church’s anti-gay positions.”

And, Janice Dickinson Dirt from SLC Dirt.com said, “All fuss and pretense aside, I was incredibly moved by the performance. Mormon or not, you’ll laugh, you’ll love, you’ll feel things and you’ll probably wish your own mother would do half the things Dottie does for her gay son.” 

 
The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon-The Second Coming will be directed by Pygmalion’s Fran Pruyn, although the original production was directed by Utah native Laurie Mecham. The show opens Oct. 2 and runs through Oct. 25, tickets go on sale August 2009 and will be available through arttix. Group rates are encouraged and available; there will be great discounts for groups on Monday and Wednesday performances.

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