Editor’s Note: The 32nd Annual International Fringe Theatre Festival will be held May 16-29, 2023 at different venues in and around Loch Haven Park and downtown Orlando. Freeline Media will be previewing the shows right up to the festival date.
ORLANDO — The shows that come to Orlando Fringe Festival can provide a unique, sometimes eclectic mix — not always a traditional mix such as music and dance, but often times a combo that doesn’t feel at all like peanut butter and jelly.
How about gays and horror movies? The upcoming Fringe show Scream Gays, produced by the Orlando Artist Guild and written and directed by Bryan Jager, is the work of queer artists who love horror flicks. Hence, the combination of queer humor and horror in this new musical.
With music and lyrics by Alex Syiek and orchestrations by Christopher Robinson, the show aims to have some fun with the horror genre, but from a gay perspective.
“In the spirit of our 2019 sold out parody Mean Gays, we’re taking on another genre of movies and skewering several beloved horror franchises (including Scream), in an original parody musical,” Orlando Artist Guild note, adding that the show “takes jabs (or stabs) at a number of different franchises and characters with a lot of the fun being which actors end up as which characters.”
The large cast will include Jarrett Poore, Sydney Lienau, Dave Sierra, Jenn Gannon, Megan Borkes, Kyle Masteller, Jaclyn Thomas, Greg Coleman, Jared A. Roys, Joseph A. Carrier, Gerald Kitt, Meghan Ottomano, Brandon Munoz, Kelley Wolfe, Ryan Matthew Petty and Jenna Coleman.
Jager added that “This production has really become a labor of love for the team members affected. Please consider supporting this incredible cast of theme park talent, lead by a number of queer artists.”
What’s the Background Story to this Play?
Freeline Media reached out to Bryan to scream out loud how this show got created.
Freeline Media: Gays and horror movies — sounds like a great combo! What’s the origin of this show?
Bryan Jager: So back in 2019, a bunch of us created a show for Orlando Fringe called Mean Gays that satirized a whole bunch of teen movies — Heathers, Clueless, and, of course, Mean Girls — from a queer lense. It quickly sold out, became one of the most successful projects I’ve ever worked on, and there was a vague idea in the back of my mind of doing a spiritual sequel. Different characters, different setting, but same tone and fun. Also around this time, I had the want to do a parody musical based on Scream where, instead of examining the rules of horror movies, we’d examine the rules of horror musicals. Eventually the two ideas came together as an awesome way to put a really fun queer stamp on the horror genre.
FM: As a mix of gays and horror, does this show have a Rocky Horror Picture Show-eque quality?
BJ: I can definitely see that! As one of the great horror musical comedies, there’s definitely traces of it in the various properties we lampoon!
FM: Tell us about the songs — what genre and category does the score fall under?
BJ: It’s an incredibly wide range of styles: from contemporary pop to 80’s synth to traditional musical theater. Our composer, Alex Syiek, and orchestrator, Chris Robinson have done an incredible job of pulling from a ton of different sources while also blending them together into a coherent narrative.
FM: In terms of the comedy, does it follow the Scary Movie franchise brand of humor?
BJ: You could say, in terms of comedic parallels, I’d find us in the Saturday Night Live/ Mad TV-style of broad comedy mixed with deft commentary.
FM: Was this show put together by horror movie fans?
BJ: It absolutely was! My partner, Jarrett Poore — who produces and stars in Scream Gays — and myself are huge horror movie fans, and love a wide range of films from Scream and The Conjuring to Midsommar and Skinamarink.
Where Does the Screaming Start at Scream Gays?
Scream Gays is being performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival in the Orange Venue, the Margeson Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St. in Loch Haven Park. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.
Show times are:
- Wednesday, May 17 at 6 p.m.
- Saturday, May 20 at 6 p.m.
- Sunday, May 21 at 12:45 p.m.
- Monday, May 22 at 6 p.m.
- Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m.
- Saturday, May 27 a 1 p.m.
- Sunday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.