The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday May 28th

Performers swap gender roles in theater collaboration at Local 506

<p>Director and UNC MFA student Arielle Yoder rehearses a Broadway number with music director Jesse Kapsha on keys. </p><p>Photo courtesy of Wagon Wheel Arts.</p>
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Director and UNC MFA student Arielle Yoder rehearses a Broadway number with music director Jesse Kapsha on keys. 

Photo courtesy of Wagon Wheel Arts.

PlayMaker’s Repertory Company is joining forces with Durham’s Manbites Dog Theater to create a night full of gender-swapped show tunes tonight in “Broadway Twisted,” the third annual performance in which songs typically performed by men will be taken on by women and vice versa.

“We get really good performers, singers, dancers — people that just like to be up on stage in front of a crowd and entertaining — and give them a song to sing,” said Wagon Wheels Arts founder Tim Scales. Wagon Wheel Arts, a North Carolina arts marketing and public relations group, is producing the show.

This event, which features eight UNC undergraduates in addition to multiple graduate students and UNC faculty singing a set of 20 to 30 songs, will do more than just entertain an audience with its interesting take on Broadway classics. The proceeds of the performance will go to the organizations Broadway Cares and The North Carolina AIDS Action Network.

“For this one night we can sing any show tune that we’ve ever wanted,” said Jackson Bloom, a UNC senior performing in Broadway Twisted.

“There’s a tradition of Broadway performers supporting the AIDS charities because so many Broadway performers were affected by the HIV virus in the 80s and 90s,” said Scales. “That tradition has held through.”

UNC dramatic arts masters student Arielle Yoder, who is directing the show, noted the importance of staying committed to this cause.

“The more awareness that is raised about the issue and the more help the charities get, the closer we are to finding a cure,” Yoder said.

Though similar benefit concerts have been held in places such as New York City, “Broadway Twisted” is the first of its kind in the Triangle area. Wagon Wheel Arts started the show as a way to make sure the awareness raised made its way into the community.

The night aims to help fight against a serious issue while still keeping the environment light and enjoyable.

“It allows students who maybe feel uncomfortable coming out or uncomfortable expressing themselves to participate in a venue that is open and supportive and fun and welcoming,” Yoder said. “It also allows students to get a better look at some of the issue that are going on in their community.”

Scales described how benefit events like “Broadway Twisted” are so important to the community and the causes they serve.

“The arts are essential to a community — essential as entertainment but also as a way to create community and support our citizens,” Scales said.

“An arts event is one that citizens come out and support, so this is a great way to redirect that energy towards a great cause.”


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