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Today’s Gay Male

San Diego
Diversionary Theatre
09/30/2010 -  and 1, 3*, 4 October 2010
Nicolas Reveles: Sextet
Abdiel Gonzalez (Jesus/Ramon/Don 1), Noah Longton (Luke), David McBean (Mary/Don 2/ Tripp), Will Earl Spanheimer (Pete/Walt/Calvin), Matthew Starkey (Sam/Michael/Boy/Rick 2), Enrique Torál (Tom/Narrator/Rick 1)
Cliff Thrasher (Cello), Lee Wolfe (Violin/Viola), Nicolas Reveles (Pianist/Conductor)
Cynthia Stokes (Stage Director), Diego San Miguel (Stage Manager), Robin Sanford Roberts (Set Designer), Corey Johnston (Costume Design and Construction), Ashley Jenks (Lighting Designer), David J. Medina (Properties Designer), Peter G. Kalivas (Choreographer)

(© Diversionary Theatre)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Diversionary Theatre, located in the small community of University Heights, just a few miles from downtown San Diego. Diversionary Theatre was created to stage productions centering on gay, lesbian and transgender themes. Since its inception, the theatre has welcomed over 100 productions and is the nation’s third oldest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) theatre in the country.

The 2010-2011 season at Diversionary Theatre has added three special events to the season’s listing of works, one of them being the World Premiere of Sextet. A man of insightful musical artistry, Nicolas Reveles has already composed two operas with a focus on fairy tales as their foundation: The Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin. His third, Sextet, however, is the first opera to explore the world of human desires: a series of six vignettes that tackle relevant issues affecting today’s gay man including spirituality, sex, acceptance, intimacy, power and stability.

Respectively, Robin Sanford Roberts’ and David Medina’s set and properties design are both simple and complex. While the sole backdrop wall has a mixture of textures, patterns and props all in white, it’s versatile and innovative. Complimenting the color theme is Corey Johnston in the costume department who dresses all actors in attire bearing shades of browns and beiges with exception of David McBean’s wildly outrageous colorful kaftan which he dons during the last scene involving stability in a relationship.

Most stories are told in a light and comical manner, yet despite the hilarity, there’s a more serious meaning and lesson to be learned. While composer Nicolas Reveles appears in the wings playing piano and conducting the other two stringed instruments, his reflections of life take center stage. Mr. Reveles terms his music as “American eclectic”, that is an amalgam of different composers and musical styles including Ned Rorem, Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, church music, blues and jazz. The resulting score is perky and flashy with a reflective and cerebral scope; the music supports the stage efforts in appropriate fashion.

Sextet also includes a talented troupe of six actors and singers who provide a visceral perspective. The dashing and handsome Abdiel Gonzalez with his radiant and captivating baritone voice has an equally impressive resume of operatic accomplishments. Noah Longton is a cute young man bearing the great gift of acting which provides a humorous touch to many of the opera’s situations. One of the most expressive and entertaining of the group is that of David McBean with his exuberant gesticulations and sprightly hued voice. Having appeared in last year’s Don Quichotte, presented by San Diego Opera in a superb Ian Campbell production, is Will Earl Spanheimer. His rugged good looks and virility make him a welcome addition to the cast, especially when he takes on the role as Walt Whitman in an emotional and electrically charged episode featuring the youthful and arousing Matthew Starkey in the role of the boy. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling, Enrique Torál acts as the narrator of this timeless story, adding a flair of effervescence and comical touch that is sure to please everyone.

Nicolas Reveles has worked closely with San Diego Opera since 1998, successfully creating and developing one of the largest outreach programs of its kind in The United States. As an adjunct to upcoming operatic performances, he’s also host of Opera Talk!, an insightful interpretation of composers’ classical works that makes learning about opera sheer pleasure. In tandem to these current responsibilities, it is a welcome sign to have Mr. Reveles’ creative energies emerging amongst this sub genre that will continue to be appreciated and admired in the years to come.

Opera Talk!
San Diego Opera

Christie Grimstad



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