Estranged Son of Pastor Fred Phelps Teams with Playwright to Bring Gay-themed Play to Westboro Baptist Church

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NEW YORK, NY, July 11, 2011 - Nate Phelps, estranged son of Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, announced today that he has teamed up with playwright James Lantz to help bring a new Off Broadway play about homophobia to the front steps of the notoriously anti-gay church in Topeka, Kansas. The younger Phelps will help bring “The Bus,” a play about gay teens, religion and sexuality to play near the Westboro Baptist Church following its Off Broadway premiere in New York City this fall.

“An estranged son of Westboro’s Fred Phelps wants to help drive The Bus”

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SevenDays, July 2011. What do cult filmmaker Kevin Smith and Burlington playwright James Lantz have in common? They’re both taking on the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., with their latest projects. Smith has fame capital to invest in his mission. Lantz doesn’t —but he does have the public support of Nate Phelps, who’s been estranged from his father, Pastor Fred Phelps, and the Westboro Baptist Church since he left home at age 18.

“Westboro lends a helping hand to stage gay play?”

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Instinct Magazine, July 2011. After James Lantz, writer of The Bus (a Romeo & Juliet-style production about a forbidden gay relationship pursued through nightly meetings in a church bus), declared that he plans to stage the play in Topeka, Kansas to directly confront the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, members of the hate group responded, well, positively. In an email sent to Lantz, someone from the WBC wrote, “We have read of your plans. We look forward to seeing the fruits of your labor. Let us know if we can help here in Topeka.