Tuesday, May 24, 2016



Rainbow Festival 2016:  A Celebration of LGBT Theater

WHEN: May 27th through June 5th
Jersey Shore Art Center, 66 South Main Street, 3rd Floor Theater, Ocean Grove, NJ
TICKETS: $15/$10 for students & senior citizens and can be purchased online. 
For more information and to purchase tickets please visit us at

La Strada Ensemble Theater presents Rainbow Festival 2016: A Celebration of LGBT Theater, three programs of varied, cutting edge one-act plays created by playwrights from across the United States.  


Program Blue:

Ange & Tone by artistic director and local NJ Toms River resident A.J. Ciccotell tells the story of two young men—one out of the closet and one deep inside it.  A coming of age tale about battling the storm in and out of your childhood bedroom and learning to say goodbye to it.

Grilled Cheese With Martin by local NJ Toms River resident and founding member Dennis Gribben: Gwen invites her incredibly cute classmate Martin over for some grilled cheese and romance and find out they are attracted to the same sex.  What are classmates to do?

The Road by internationally renowned New York State resident playwright Edwin Sanchez.  Set in the 1990s, a son battling AIDS leaves his parents and writes scathing letters to his parents with no return address while embarking on a cross country adventure to an unforeseen future; his parents retaliates by writing their own heart wrenching letters in hopes that  one day he will read them.

(Above: Founding Members Evan Black and Donna Knowlton (joined with Darin Frank Earl II) in Edwin Sanchez's poetic and heart wrenching play that The Road.  Photo credit: A.J. Ciccotelli)

WHEN: Fri. May 27 @8pm, Sat. May 28 @2pm, Sat. June 4 @5pm and Sun. June 5 @1pm.

clip_image002[8]Program Red:

Eulo-Veme by local NJ Brick resident Clarissa Shirley follows the exploits of a young woman who attends her grandmother’s funeral with her straight crush.  How will things play out when confronting the truth of your desires?  Will your best friend accept you even though they are the object of your desire?

Homochondria by local NJ Glen Rock resident Brad Baron: the grandson of opera legend Beverly Sills is cursed by a fan of another opera legend to find that spirits do exist and curses come to fruition in this hilarious comedy.  Can he and his partner fight the conflicted spirits that come to haunt him?

In Another Part of the City by internationally renowned playwright Edward Gallardo:  The year is 1970 and David is planning a party.  On the guest list is George, a queenie closeted gay man who is married with children, and Peter, who takes his anger and rage against gay men in a reaction to having to sleep with them for money. 

(Above: Founding Members Doug Bollinger and Sam Pelissero (joined with Daniel Chase) in Edward Gallardo's stark period piece that examines the lives of gay men in the 1970s In Another Part of the City. Photo credit: A.J. Ciccotelli)

WHEN: Sat. May 28 @8pm, Sun. May 29 @1pm, Fri. June 3 @5pm and Sat. June 4 @2pm.

Program Indigo:

Hammer and The Sea Nymph by local Neptune resident and founding member Doug Bollinger:  Two lesbians don’t like how they are depicted in a comic book so they strike a deal.  Two lesbian superheroes might get justice from their creator.  

Anecdote by local Holmdel resident Mike Sockol: A simple dinner party is turned on its head when two young women discover their parents were more ‘with it’ than they could ever be. Secrets and the truth are revealed in this provocative comedy.

Decisions, Decisions by Chicago resident and founding member Gerry Ringwald follows two couples: one gay and one lesbian who are backing up different political factions in this scathing and hilarious satire.  Being LGBT has nothing to do with how you vote, or does it?

Bubble by local NJ Somerset resident and founding member Jennifer L. DiOrio: Troubled by the expulsion of a polyp, a married lesbian couple retreats into the healing world of their meditation bubble to find joy and connection.  Will the outside world intrude upon their mindfulness day?

Father, Forgive Me… by local NJ Toms River resident and founding member Dennis Gribben is a one man monologue where a “pray away the gay” survivor has to make the decision to cut off ties with his homophobic father in the wake of adopting a child with his partner.

The Playground by artistic director and local NJ Toms River resident A.J. Ciccotelli: A broken down childhood playground is the setting for healing, faith, and the belief in magic.  A married couple discovers who they used to be, a young woman discovers who she really is, and a dying old man discovers he can have all his heart desires.

WHEN: Sat. May 28 @5pm, Sun. May 29 @4pm, Sat. June 4 @8pm and Sat. June 4 @8pm and Sun. June 5 @4pm.

With Kylee Bell, Evan Black, Doug Bollinger, JoyAnn Chanik, Daniel Chase, A.J. Ciccotelli, Casey Conner, Darin Frank Earl II, Brianna Ellison, Angela Fragale, Ashley Friedman, Dennis Gribben, Bethany Harding, Bailey Henderson, Donna Knowlton, Erica Beverly Kostyz, Deana Loria, Kathryn Milewski, Julie Murtha, Sam Pelissero, Franklin Ricart, Alexa Spinowitz and Jakob Walsh

The plays are directed by Evan Black, Doug Bollinger, Donna Knowlton, Christine Pullen, Franklin Ricart, Veda Rouze and Jakob Walsh.