The Bus is the story of two boys who regularly rendezvous in a parked church bus to explore a budding relationship hidden from family and friends. When their secret meeting place is in danger of being discovered, the boys find themselves in the middle of a conﬂict between the largest church in town and the owner of a small-town gas station — who also happens to be the father of one of the boys. Centered in small-town America in the early ’80′s, The Bus tells a story about teen sexuality, religion and, as The Burlington Free Press described it, “the flammable bonds of family.”
“The Bus is theater magic, it’s beautiful in every way theater should be … the best show I’ve seen in a long, long time” Theatre Is Easy, Weston Clay, NYC
“An extraordinary play … a taut, often darkly amusing script.” Burlington Free Press, Brent Hallenbeck, Burlington, VT
“The Bus packs a wallop … 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.” Curtain Up, Elizabeth Ahlfors, NYC
“A fascinating play, full of surprises” British Theatre Guide, Howard Loxton, London UK
“Lantz’s richly textured script and fragmented structure capture the spirit of the parochial South” The Stage, Paul Vale, London UK
“Completely enthralling!” SceneOne, London UK
“An intimate and touching drama” The Advocate
“It was a joy to see this script come to life” Out in the Mountains
“An enormous success … a complex and timely drama.” Vermont Times
“A tale of gay love and religious conflict well worth getting a ticket for ‘The Bus.’ Cape Times, Sheila Chisholm, Cape Town, South Africa
James Lantz, playwright of The Bus:
James Lantz is a filmmaker and playwright. He’s the writer of several plays including American Machine, which was a co-commissioned project of The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and called “Powerful” by the Burlington Free Press when it premiered in Burlington, Vermont. As an award-winning filmmaker, he has produced, written and directed over 200 commercial films, videos and live events for clients such as American Express, American Airlines, Amtrak, Alamo Rental Cars, Mobil Oil and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. As a screenwriter, James has received recognition from numerous film festivals; his unproduced screenplay for Hide Fox won awards at eight national film festivals. James is currently at work on a screenplay, another stage play, and two documentary feature films including A Defiant Dude which was funded on Kickstarter.com. Prior to pursuing film and theatre, James proudly taught high school in a small town in rural Virginia where he was named, ‘Teacher of the Year’ by the student body. www.jameslantz.com
Development and production history of The Bus:
London UK, Cape Town SA, and San Francisco, California:
Most recently, The Bus was produced by Above the Stag Theatre in South London and ran for one month through Nov 22, 2014 where it played to sold out houses. To see photos and learn more about this production go to the News/Reviews page.
A production of The Bus played in Cape Town, South Africa in late July 2012. Another production of The Bus was produced in San Francisco at New Conservatory Theater Center that toured to other Northern California locales for the 2012 – 2013 season.
New York City and Kansas:
A revised version of The Bus made its New York City debut in a non-Equity production in October 2011 at 59E59 Theaters in New York City where it performed to sold out houses. It was directed by John Simpkins. It then traveled to Kansas in December 2011 where, over one weekend, the play was performed for over 400 Kansans in Wichita and in Topeka. In Topeka, The Bus was performed within blocks of the notorious anti-gay church led by the late pastor Fred Phelps.
An earlier version of The Bus premiered in Burlington, Vermont at FlynnSpace at The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in 2006 where it performed for standing room only audiences — without the incredible support this production initially received from the community, artists and business leaders of Burlington, The Bus would not exist today.
The Bus is a 100% Crowd-funded Play:
Over 450 people from the across the U.S. and Canada, to the UK and Norway became backers of The Bus for its New York City production. With donations ranging from $2.00 to $5,000, most of our supporters became backers through our Kickstarter.com project including an estimated 30 to 40 teens who connected to The Bus through The Trevor Project.