Subscribe In A Reader






Bootleg Betty



Amazon



Mister D



Towleroad



Feedjit Stats









Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

‘Kings & Queens in Their Castles’ is an intimate look at LGBT lives

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

The Washington Post
‘Kings & Queens in Their Castles’ is an intimate look at LGBT lives
By Michele Langevine Leiby April
Untitled-11489608001


When Tom Atwood decided to launch himself into fine art photography, it was mostly because he wanted to see a different image of gay men. Until not long ago, most photographic images of gay men fell into one of two categories: a display of the ravages of AIDS or a paean to the idealized, sexualized beauty of the masculine form (usually nude or in advanced stages of undress).

Atwood’s new book, “Kings & Queens in Their Castles,” offers an alternative view. His style, the photographer says, is a studied melange of portraiture and architectural photography.

“I try to challenge my subjects by showing as much of their environment as possible in the frame of the camera,” he says. “I also use a wide-angle lens and a wide depth of field so that both the subject and the background are in focus.”

Atwood, 45, a self-proclaimed autodidact, has no formal background in photography or art history. His approach was honed through trial and error and a passion for his subject matter.

“I started out photographing gay people at home because I am gay and knew a lot of gay people,” he says. “And I think a lot of gay men especially have a flair for design and live in some really playful places.”

Atwood’s subjects in “Kings & Queens” include more than 160 members of the LGBT community. They’re urban and rural, famous and anonymous, beautiful and plain, extraordinary and decidedly ordinary. His work, displaying an intimacy sometimes bordering on voyeurism, captures LGBT men and women in the process of living their private lives.

Some of today’s tumultuous social movements rely on a fair amount of identity politics. This book isn’t about that. Says Atwood: “I thought it would be interesting to photograph this group of people just in everyday moments since, for most people, their sexuality is a part of who they are, but it’s not the predominant part of who they are.”

Here are six of the book’s compelling stories:






Don Lemon

When Atwood arrived at Don Lemon’s Harlem home, the CNN anchor was getting ready to walk his dog. “He’s very friendly, very easygoing, very approachable,” Atwood says. “I realized he’s just a really a social person that’s part of a neighborhood.” He shot Lemon sitting on a skateboard on his balcony, his neighborhood as a backdrop. “I really wanted to shoot people in their everyday environment and show what their private lives are like rather than focus on their public images.”

HollyTaylorAlisonBechdel1489605841

 

 



Holly Taylor and Alison Bechdel

Atwood photographed the women in the garden of their Jericho, Vt., home. Holly Taylor, a self-declared “compost maven,” and Alison Bechdel, a cartoonist and the author of the Broadway musical “Fun Home,” live in the woods. “I love this photo,” says Atwood, himself a Vermonter. “I think it really shows a real Vermont sensibility in a number of ways. They’ve got a garden. They chop their own wood. They heat their house with wood.”





Mother Flawless Sabrina

Considered a pioneer in the transgender and gay communities, Mother Flawless Sabrina ran a national drag pageant enterprise between 1959 and 1969 that put on shows across the country, culminating with an extravaganza in New York. The 77-year-old lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side surrounded by a bevy of quirky possessions: a 1980s-era telephone with giant buttons, wigs strewn about, jewelry draped on an ornate desk. “She’s a female impersonator, which I guess is a little different from a drag queen, but don’t ask me the difference because I’m not sure I know,” Atwood says.

 

James McGreevey


The former governor of New Jersey will always be famous for the 2004 news conference in which he publicly came out of the closet, his pained wife by his side. “My truth is that I am a gay American,” he declared. Today McGreevey is a Prius-driving resident of Plainfield, N.J., where Atwood photographed him, clad in shorts and a hoodie, pruning ivy in front of his house. “He did go through some difficult times,” Atwood says, “but he seems to be still happy and proud and willing to share his life through this book.”

 

 





Bruce Vilanch

Loyal viewers of the television game show “Hollywood Squares” will surely recognize the unruly mop of comedian Bruce Vilanch, whom Atwood photographed ferrying groceries back to his West Hollywood apartment. “I think this is a fun shot because Los Angeles has a lot of outdoor/indoor living spaces,” Atwood says, and Vilanch’s apartment building has hallways that are outside rather than inside.




Randal Kleiser

“I don’t think it’s that common to keep barn animals in Los Angeles,” Atwood says of the menagerie of pets that share the home of film director Randal Kleiser. “It was an otherwise suburban ranch house.” Kleiser, known for such films as “Grease” and “Big Top Pee-wee,” enjoys a spectacular view of the L.A. skyline from his swimming pool. “I like that there’s this strong light from the side in this picture and you can see a lot in both the foreground and background,” the photographer says. (Can you find BOTH horses?)

SAGE honors Vilanch, Jewel Thais-Williams in L.A.

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Washington Blade
SAGE honors Vilanch, Jewel Thais-Williams in L.A.
March 10, 2017 at 11:38 am EDT | by Karen Ocamb

Bruce_Vilanch_and_Jewel_Thais-Williams_insert

LOS ANGELES — The fundraiser for SAGE USA March 4 in the Hollywood Hills felt like a reunion, a coming together of a generation of LGBT people with shared memories and a desire to confront aging, an issue, SAGE Board Development chair Bill Weinberger said, he heretofore had avoided thinking about. Honorees Jewel Thais-Williams and Bruce Vilanch, however, exemplify how LGBT people can age as respected elders with grace, continued activism, and humor.


Weinberger introduced Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, whom he has known since the early 1980s. Shortly after, Wilson discovered he was HIV positive. He noted that while “many of us were dealing with whether we would survive or not, SAGE has always believed we would.” Wilson shared how Thais-Williams bravely opened Jewel’s Catch One Disco as a refuge for LGBT people desperate for a place where they could be themselves.


“Jewel has been a leader, a hero, and a visionary and an advocate for a long, long time,” Wilson said. “Jewel was one of those ‘bridge’ people,” linking the LGBT African-American community to organizations such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and her alma mater, UCLA. You always speak up, whether you’re afraid or not.”


Thais-Williams joked that she was honored to be honored, having spent the last 42 years at Catch One “partying,” adding that she will turn 78 in a couple of months. “To be of service to my community has been a great joy,” she said. “But there is still a lot of work to do. Remember to always reach out to those in need.”


“There has never been a more important time to come together,” SAGE CEO Michael Adams told the diverse crowd of SAGE board members, staffers and supporters at the elegant home of James Frost and William Yi. “We are living in very challenging times,” a notion received with a knowing chuckle for its understatement.


A civilization is historically measured by how it cares and supports its children and most vulnerable and how it supports its elders, Adams said, not just the “right kind of elders….We owe it to our elders, the pioneers who paved the way for the equality we celebrate today….We need the wisdom of our pioneers, our elders.”




Demographic estimates predict that there will be 6 million LGBT people age 65 years or over in America by 2030. That sets the stage for a potentially disastrous future since, as SAGE notes, LGBT seniors are “twice as likely to be single, twice as likely to live alone, and four times more likely to be without children than their heterosexual peers.”  And, Adam said, facilities that take care of the aging population are “woefully unprepared” to take care of LGBT seniors who fear having to go back in the closet in order to get care and treatment without discrimination.


In introducing comedic writer/actor Bruce Vilanch, SAGE Board co-chair Elizabeth Schwartz—whose co-chair is former LA-based board activist Kevin Williams—said Vilanch’s appearances on “Hollywood Squares” were “instrumental in shaping gay images.” Watching him, “we didn’t have to speculate obsessively” about whether he was gay “as I did over Kristy McNichol.”  She was also grateful that he was also out about being chubby. Vilanch, she said, has a “tireless dedication to the LGBT community.”


In accepting the handsomely shaped glass award, the legendary Oscar writer said that when he was told he was being honored by SAGE, his first thought was: “You have the wrong envelope,” referring to the Best Picture mishap at the Academy Awards.


However, a recent interview with a young journalist underscored that he is now arcing “into my dotage.” The young gay man had no idea who Ted Mack was, though “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” the variety-show precursor to shows like “American Idol,” launched the careers of such future celebrities as Pat Boone and Ann-Margret.  The young man sat stone faced at the mention of her name.


“When queens don’t know who Ann-Margret is, we’re in trouble,” Vilanch said to an uproar of laughter.


“Senior gays are not venerated,” he said. “But we are valued because we can pick up the check or write it.”


As to his decision to be openly gay at a time when being out was a brave decision, Vilanch noted that he worked in the more accepting entertainment industry. But early on, he worked as a journalist writing features for the Chicago Tribune and tried to get gay stories into the paper. Vilanch cited a quote that stuck with him: “A faggot is a homosexual gentleman who just left the room.” He determined to be “the faggot who stayed in the room.”


LGBT progress is result of taking action. “We did the bravest thing—we came out and that changed everything,” Vilanch said. But the LGBT community cannot rely on help from outside. “We have to do it for ourselves….[and] we’re not done yet.”


SAGE CEO Michael Adams also announced the launch of a new initiative in conjunction with AARP—SAGETable— to build “intergenerational connections in the LGBT community” by “breaking bread with your LGBT family on May 18. Visit sagetable.org.

SAGE honors Vilanch, Jewel Thais-Williams in L.A.

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Washington Blade
SAGE honors Vilanch, Jewel Thais-Williams in L.A.
March 10, 2017 at 11:38 am EDT | by Karen Ocamb

Bruce_Vilanch_and_Jewel_Thais-Williams_insert

LOS ANGELES — The fundraiser for SAGE USA March 4 in the Hollywood Hills felt like a reunion, a coming together of a generation of LGBT people with shared memories and a desire to confront aging, an issue, SAGE Board Development chair Bill Weinberger said, he heretofore had avoided thinking about. Honorees Jewel Thais-Williams and Bruce Vilanch, however, exemplify how LGBT people can age as respected elders with grace, continued activism, and humor.


Weinberger introduced Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, whom he has known since the early 1980s. Shortly after, Wilson discovered he was HIV positive. He noted that while “many of us were dealing with whether we would survive or not, SAGE has always believed we would.” Wilson shared how Thais-Williams bravely opened Jewel’s Catch One Disco as a refuge for LGBT people desperate for a place where they could be themselves.


“Jewel has been a leader, a hero, and a visionary and an advocate for a long, long time,” Wilson said. “Jewel was one of those ‘bridge’ people,” linking the LGBT African-American community to organizations such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and her alma mater, UCLA. You always speak up, whether you’re afraid or not.”


Thais-Williams joked that she was honored to be honored, having spent the last 42 years at Catch One “partying,” adding that she will turn 78 in a couple of months. “To be of service to my community has been a great joy,” she said. “But there is still a lot of work to do. Remember to always reach out to those in need.”


“There has never been a more important time to come together,” SAGE CEO Michael Adams told the diverse crowd of SAGE board members, staffers and supporters at the elegant home of James Frost and William Yi. “We are living in very challenging times,” a notion received with a knowing chuckle for its understatement.


A civilization is historically measured by how it cares and supports its children and most vulnerable and how it supports its elders, Adams said, not just the “right kind of elders….We owe it to our elders, the pioneers who paved the way for the equality we celebrate today….We need the wisdom of our pioneers, our elders.”




Demographic estimates predict that there will be 6 million LGBT people age 65 years or over in America by 2030. That sets the stage for a potentially disastrous future since, as SAGE notes, LGBT seniors are “twice as likely to be single, twice as likely to live alone, and four times more likely to be without children than their heterosexual peers.”  And, Adam said, facilities that take care of the aging population are “woefully unprepared” to take care of LGBT seniors who fear having to go back in the closet in order to get care and treatment without discrimination.


In introducing comedic writer/actor Bruce Vilanch, SAGE Board co-chair Elizabeth Schwartz—whose co-chair is former LA-based board activist Kevin Williams—said Vilanch’s appearances on “Hollywood Squares” were “instrumental in shaping gay images.” Watching him, “we didn’t have to speculate obsessively” about whether he was gay “as I did over Kristy McNichol.”  She was also grateful that he was also out about being chubby. Vilanch, she said, has a “tireless dedication to the LGBT community.”


In accepting the handsomely shaped glass award, the legendary Oscar writer said that when he was told he was being honored by SAGE, his first thought was: “You have the wrong envelope,” referring to the Best Picture mishap at the Academy Awards.


However, a recent interview with a young journalist underscored that he is now arcing “into my dotage.” The young gay man had no idea who Ted Mack was, though “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” the variety-show precursor to shows like “American Idol,” launched the careers of such future celebrities as Pat Boone and Ann-Margret.  The young man sat stone faced at the mention of her name.


“When queens don’t know who Ann-Margret is, we’re in trouble,” Vilanch said to an uproar of laughter.


“Senior gays are not venerated,” he said. “But we are valued because we can pick up the check or write it.”


As to his decision to be openly gay at a time when being out was a brave decision, Vilanch noted that he worked in the more accepting entertainment industry. But early on, he worked as a journalist writing features for the Chicago Tribune and tried to get gay stories into the paper. Vilanch cited a quote that stuck with him: “A faggot is a homosexual gentleman who just left the room.” He determined to be “the faggot who stayed in the room.”


LGBT progress is result of taking action. “We did the bravest thing—we came out and that changed everything,” Vilanch said. But the LGBT community cannot rely on help from outside. “We have to do it for ourselves….[and] we’re not done yet.”


SAGE CEO Michael Adams also announced the launch of a new initiative in conjunction with AARP—SAGETable— to build “intergenerational connections in the LGBT community” by “breaking bread with your LGBT family on May 18. Visit sagetable.org.

Bruce Vilanch Spoke At The Black Cat LGBT Protests Feb 11, 2017

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Advocate
Bruce Vilanch Spoke At The Black Cat LGBT Protests Feb 11, 2017
BY ADVOCATE.COM EDITORS
FEBRUARY 11 2017 6:35 PM EST

2017-02-17_5-55-37

When a rally tonight in Los Angeles honors the Black Cat protest — which preceded Stonewall by two years — it will be a reminder to President Trump and his administration that protest works.

“You put a microphone in front of me, I’m going to talk about Trump,” said Mitch O’Farrell, the Los Angeles city councilman who is helping organize the rally, which begins at 8 p.m. outside the Black Cat Tavern.

O’Farrell says the Trump administration’s anti-equality agenda is backfiring. “Their authoritarian and anti-constitutional executive orders are galvanizing other historically oppressed communities into greater solidarity,” he said. Trump is giving Americans “an opportunity for us to be more enlightened and stand in stronger solidarity.”

The Black Cat protest in 1967 was itself a turning point triggered by authority. Undercover officers had gone on New Year’s Eve to the tavern in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and waited until the clock struck midnight, when partygoers would kiss. It was illegal to kiss a person of the same sex. As partners embraced, the officers took out their badges and started violently making arrests.

The queer community was fed up with regular police brutality and took what was a highly unusual step: they organized a protest on February 11, 1967.

The founders of that protest would also create a group — Personal Rights in Defense and Education, or PRIDE — and that group created a newsletter called The Advocate. That newsletter became the magazine you’re reading now.

A lot has changed in 50 years. At tonight’s rally, for example, police are taking part in commemorating history. But LGBT Americans also have to contend with President Trump, whose policies are met repeatedly with protests. The Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration included millions of people across multiple cities all over the world. Protests broke out the next weekend at airports when Trump signed an executive order that implemented his Muslim ban at the border. Last weekend, a queer solidarity rally was held outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City after Trump threatened to sign a “religious freedom” order, which would make it optional for federal workers to recognize same-sex marriages so long as they cite a religion that says it’s immoral.

This weekend, as Los Angeles marks history, it will also be speaking directly to Trump and the likes of attorney general Jeff Sessions. Late Friday night, Sessions’ Justice Department filed a legal brief that effectively ends the Obama administration’s protections for transgender students. They had been guaranteed, for example, the right to use bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity.

O’Farrell says the Black Cat proves that protest works.

“It just underscores the power of the U.S. Constitution and how we always lean towards advancements,” he said. “One misguided president being in office can not and will not reverse all of that progress. Understandably, there is a lot of anxiety fear and chaos created by what he’s doing, but we will prevail over all of that and we have the Constitution, and we have our level of sophisticated activism. The LGBT community knows how to effect change and that is one of our great strengths.”

Other speakers scheduled to be at the Black Cat rally tonight include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the cast of Queer as Folk, actors Wilson Cruz, Guillermo Díaz and Darryl Stevens, plus comedians Alec Mapa and Bruce Vilanch, executive director of Equality California Rick Zbur, and editor in chief of The Advocate, Lucas Grindley.

New Petula Clark Musical From Bruce Vilanch Could Be Headed to Broadway

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

New Petula Clark Musical From Bruce Vilanch Could Be Headed to Broadway
02/02/2017 03:56 am ET | Updated 6 days ago
By Pollo Del Mar

10

From penning witty zingers for the Tony Awards to hosting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraisers, Bruce Vilanch is no stranger to the New York theatre community. In 2005, Vilanch even starred as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. When the Hollywood funnyman returns to Broadway, though, he hopes it’s as writer of the next great jukebox musical.


“Think Mamma Mia!said Vilanch when describing his new musical Sign of the Times. “In fact, please think Mamma Mia! — because Mamma Mia! ran only 12 years, so please think of that!”



WEGOTBRUCE.COM

Bruce Vilanch has penned a new musical! The hysterical out comic says Sign of the Times, featuring the music of Grammy-winner Petula Clark, could be Broadway-bound soon.

Like other “jukebox musicals” — productions such as Jersey Boys and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical — Sign of the Times utilizes hit pop songs rather than an original score. In this case, the music of Grammy Award-winning, ‘60s British pop icon Petula Clark “and other hit-makers of the day” takes center stage.


“When I was in college, and I was hearing Petula’s music, every time I would hear one of her songs, I’d say, ‘What show is that from?’” the comedian shared during an interview on Party Foul Radio with Pollo & Pearl. “They all sounded so theatrical, because they had big orchestras behind them.”


Vilanch recalled a similar feeling when listening to ABBA years later, he told Podomatic’s No. 1-ranked LGBT podcast. Therefore it was not surprising, he said, when the quartet’s catalogue later became the foundation for the wildly successful Broadway hit Mamma Mia!


“They had these big, Broadway pop arrangements behind everything,” said Vilanch of ABBA, noting that, like the Swedish super-group, Clark’s music also “lends itself very well to a Broadway show.” He said: “It always had that feel from the beginning.”



WEGOTBRUCE.COM

Having penned three of her stage shows, Bruce Vilanch has worked with legendary Bette Midler for 47 years. “Which is difficult, because she’s only 32,” the comedian quips, “i’m contractually obligated to say that.”

A six-time Emmy Award-winner, Vilanch has supplied jokes to a veritable Hollywood who’s who, was the quirky center square for four seasons of Hollywood Squares, a long-time reporter and columnist for The Advocate and even cowrote Eartha Kitt’s campy 1980s hit “I Need a Man.” A featured writer on almost every major televised awards broadcast, he’s served as head writer for the annual Academy Awards since 2010.


The hilarious blond – equally known for his inimitable appearance – is far more than champion of the one-liner though. He’s written successful stage productions stretching back more than four decades.


Vilanch cowrote Bette Midler’s 1974 Broadway show Clams on a Half Shell and later inked her 1980 epic Divine Madness. The Divine Miss M again teamed with The Divine Miss V for The Showgirl Must Go On, Midler’s 2008 residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.


Vilanch forged a similarly long-standing relationship with Diana Ross. After befriending the MoTown legend on the set of Mahogany, in which he had a bit part, he wrote An Evening with Diana Ross. The show played Vegas, Broadway and was later turned into a television special.



BROADWAYWORLD.COM

In 2005, Bruce Vilanch starred as “Edna Turnblad” in the Broadway production of Hairspray.

When approached by Richard Robins — “a big real estate guy in Chicago,” who purchased Clark’s musical catalogue — to work on Sign of the Times, Vilanch was “immediately interested.” What emerged is the tale of Cindy, a young woman who moves to New York City in 1965 and (according to production notes) discovers “unexpected friends, lovers, careers, and conflicts are all a subway ride away.”


Based on an original story by Robins, and written by Vilanch, Sign of the Times features Clark’s biggest hits including No. 1 single “Downtown,” “I Know a Place” and, of course, the song from which the production draws its name. Also included are smashes from contemporaries Leslie Gore (“You Don’t Own Me”), Nancy Sinatra (“These Boots Are Made for Walking”), Dusty Springfield (“I Only Want to Be With You”) and more.


After debuting last summer with a successful five-week run at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, Vilanch says it could be only a matter of time before New York calls. To gain perspective on the process, he turned to modern musical theatre genius and Tony-winning Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda (who Vilanch calls “Mr. Hamilton”).


“He said Hamilton took seven years; everything takes seven years,” shared Vilanch, noting Sign of the Times is now in its third year.


“Legitimate theatre, on the Broadway end, is like movies these days,” Vilanch concluded, “Things happen years down the pipeline. Hopefully the next year or so, it’ll end up on Broadway. We’re working our way there!”


LISTEN: Bruce Vilanch talks Sign of the Times, Personal Stories About Diana Ross, Bette Midler & More

New Vilanch musical plans a tuneful, funny flashback that’s relatable

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

New Haven Register
New Goodspeed musical plans a tuneful, funny flashback that’s relatable
By Joe Amarante
07/22/16, 12:25 PM EDT

4-27-2013 3-49-54 AM

CHESTER >> In the news: Rancorous politics, nuts with guns, hateful cults of death and a drug-overdose “epidemic.”

In the theaters and galleries, meanwhile? Maybe a chance to catch your breath.

“I think theater as an escape is completely wonderful,” said director Gabriel Barre the other day, before rehearsals for the new musical “A Sign of the Times.” “There’s nothing wrong with that and a lot of entertainment can and should provide an ability to transport an audience; let’s call it that instead of escape.”

But what Barre is really drawn to, he said in a phone interview, is a show that can do that as well as “make you look at your life in a different way.”

“For me, I want people to be transported and laugh and have a good time and be dazzled and be surprised, of course,” Barre said. “But I also want them to think a little bit and to be emotionally moved, as well.”

Barre is directing “A Sign of the Times” at The Terris Theatre in Chester — about a woman from the sticks who moves to New York City in the 1960s amid the era’s backdrop of women’s liberation, the civil rights movement and anti-war protests. The musical runs from July 29 to Sept. 4 at Goodspeed Musicals’ development theater on North Main Street.

The title is based on the Petula Clark song, and Barre said it’s relatable.

“It’s quite interesting to juxtapose this song, and the protests of the ’60s that are depicted in this show, with the protests that are happening today,” Barre said. “And what’s remarkable to realize is… the signs of the times in the ’60s are not that different — sadly perhaps, tragically perhaps — than the signs of these times.

Still, Barre & Co. are creating a musical from scratch here, which is always daunting.

“That’s sort of the fun of it for me,” said Barre, who’s done several new shows at Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre as well as established musicals elsewhere and at the main Goodspeed theater in East Haddam.

Barre likes the older musicals, but he enjoys the challenge of the development process, too — “making sure the shows are clear, not too long, not too short. I’m really looking at it as a dramaturge, as an advocate for the audience.”

This one involves taking older songs — many by British singer Clark — and weaving them into “a completely new and original story.”

That was one of the first challenges that writer Bruce Vilanch had to face on the project. You know Vilanch — the hefty, blonde-haired writer who was head writer for the Academy Awards for years, not to mention “Hollywood Squares,” where he also occupied a square near Whoopi Goldberg. He also played Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray” on Broadway and has written for Bette Midler and Diana Ross shows.

Richard Robin came up with the basic story idea and Vilanch took it from there, in later collaboration with Barre and the music staff led by Rick Fox and Joseph Church.

“I’m proud of the way we’ve woven these songs into the life of this young woman, Cindy, who’s from the Midwest and comes to New York to find her purpose in New York,” said Barre.

These types of shows — from tuneful “Bikinis” to the Queen tune-fest “We Will Rock You” — can be very thin in plot and real meaning. But this one is not just a jukebox musical, said Barre, although it does crank out the 1960s hits of Clark, Lesley Gore, Nancy Sinatra and others.

“We have six main characters who all have their own subplots and relationships. So we have a plot that’s very plausible… It’s more than a thin membrane that links the songs.”

Barre said the team is concentrating on the tone of the show. “We’re really investing in these characters and hope everyone else will, as well — taking the material seriously in the right places, but also having lots of fun here and there.”

Being a Terris show, the audience will help determine how that works and help the show find the right balance, Barre said.

Why Petula Clark music (“Downtown,” “I Know a Place”) as a focus? In the show’s notes, Vilanch says he always thought Clark’s songs sounded like they were from a musical.

“Like country songs, in a way, these songs have great character,” said Barre.

Barre said most of us know the tunes “but we sometimes dismiss the lyrics and just sing along. But in the context of a show, they actually (fit) quite well and come quite easily out of the mouths of characters that Bruce and Richard have drawn here.”

So much so that it sounds like a contemporary musical, Barre said.

And like watching the Abba musical “Mamma Mia!” the audience will have fun seeing “that engineering going on” and how the songs are justified.

There’s comedy with the music, of course.

Barre called Vilanch a “great, great person with a big heart… I’ve actually worked with him before on some benefits… I love watching him put together jokes and, of course, he’s been a laugh riot in rehearsals, which I expected. But what’s really surprising to me is his encyclopedic knowledge of … musical theater… He just knows every show that’s ever been done, who starred in it, when they left… But he knows a lot about the world (too).”

And there’s plenty of dance, said Barre, crafted by choreographer JoAnn Hunter and mainly performed by an ensemble of 10 dancers.

“The whole show was conceived by me and JoAnn and the team… as a constant flowing spectacle that never stops, in a way,” said Barre. “Even the transitions are all choreographed.”

If it works, the show indeed will transport viewers to not just another troubled time but a magical place.

“I think that (parallel) is one of the things that makes this show not just fluff or trivial or a jukebox musical that you can just go and escape… but that it’s a show that will actually remind people that Americans are still trying to find what it (America) is and who we are and what does it mean to be American.

“What does it mean to be patriotic? Does it mean you commit to the country as it is or can you be just as patriotic and be committed to changing it?”

Cindy (played by Ephie Aardema) goes from being an amateur photographer to a professional in the show, which gives the show license to use projections of images from the era, too. And evocative images are certainly a sign of both times, too, for bad or good.

Curtain times are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., July 29 at 8, July 30 at 3 and 8, and July 31 at 2 and 6:30. Tickets ($49 or less) are available a 860-873-8668 or online at goodspeed.org.