October 10, 2011 “A big city play about gay teens that hopes to open the minds of small town audiences. If any play can do it, this is the one. … Thankfully, The Bus is theater magic. It’s beautiful in every way good theater should be. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long long time. Go see it while you can, before it has it’s real run in Topeka.” Review, Theatre Is Easy by reviewer Weston Clay.
October 10, 2011 “Driven by Our Town-y narration, James Lantz’s intimate and touching drama stars Bryan Fitzgerald and Will Roland as teens who swap spit in an old bus parked in the middle of an explosive conflict between a megachurch and a gas station. … An admirable critique of faith-fueled small-town homophobia, The Bus next travels to Topeka, Kan., in hopes of imparting its message to Westboro Baptist Church.” Brandon Voss, The Advocate
October 10, 2011 “There aren’t a lot of places gay teenagers Jordan (Bryan Fitzgerald) and Ian (Will Roland) can go in their small middle-American town without being discovered. And the one refuge that they have found becomes a battleground in James Lantz’s quietly affecting play, The Bus. … Fitzgerald delivers a terrific performance, with subtle shadings of emotion that flash across his face at key moments.” Dan Bacalzo, TheaterMania
October 10, 2011 “By the end of this production, some in the audience were teary-eyed and most were touched because this little play is not really so little at all, dealing as it does with weighty subjects: a struggle of teenage boys trapped between the most influential church in town, their own passions, and a struggling gas station. … Simplicity does not mean simple. The small-town simplicity of The Bus packs a wallop that is worth your time, whatever your beliefs.” Elizabeth Ahlfors, ‘Curtain Up’
October 10, 2011 The leading actors deliver moving performances … there are touching moments of dialogue. “Why can’t we hang out like regular kids?” Jordan prods. “We are regular!” Ian exclaims. Lantz has also written entertaining lines. “I don’t even like musicals,” Ian says to prove he doesn’t fit the gay stereotype.
October 10, 2011 Fitzgerald is deeply moving as Jordan, a young man coming to terms with his sexuality, and Roland succeeds in portraying the more awkward boy, torn between his parents’ conflicting interests. … Following its New York premiere, The Bus will travel to Topeka, Kansas, for a symbolic performance near the extremist Westboro Baptist Church, which has gained national notoriety over the years for its homophobic beliefs and anti-gay protests. That ambitious project alone is more than sufficient reason to support this play
October 10, 2011 The Bus has the flavor of Our Town with a little Alfred Hitchcock tossed in. … We are not asked to take sides, and because this is a tale told with great care, we find it difficult to do so – even though we would like to. This is a more than worthy night at the theatre. Come see it before it goes on the road, straight to the heartland.
October 9, 2011 The New York premiere of James Lantz’s The Bus, a new drama about homophobia in small-town America, officially opens Off-Broadway Oct. 9 at 59E59 Theaters. John Simpkins (Bloodsong of Love, ReWrite, Things to Ruin) stages the work that began previews Oct. 4 and will continue through Oct. 30. Following its Off-Broadway debut, presenters will bring the production to Topeka, KS, to confront members of the Westboro Baptist Church in early November.
October 4, 2011 John Simpkins doesn’t fancy himself a gay activist, but the NYC director has taken on a new, politically charged play by James Lantz about two Midwestern boys who discover their sexuality in an abandoned church bus—and it’s got him feeling ferocious. Read the article here.