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 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. 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 history of The Bus:
Earlier versions of The Bus were staged in London, England; Cape Town, South Africa; and San Francisco, California (all non-AEA productions):
In London it was produced by Above the Stag Theatre and ran for one month in November 2014 where it played to sold out houses. In Cape Town, South Africa, it was produced in July 2012. Another production was staged in San Francisco at New Conservatory Theater Center that toured to other Northern California locales in 2013.
A still earlier version was produced in New York City and Kansas (non-AEA productions):
In October 2011, a production of The Bus that was funded on Kickstarter was staged at 59E59 Theaters in New York City where it performed to sold out houses. It then traveled to Kansas where, over one weekend, it was performed for over 400 Kansans in Wichita and in Topeka. In Topeka, The Bus was performed by candlelight in a church basement just blocks from the notorious anti-gay church led by the late pastor Fred Phelps.
Burlington, Vermont (non-AEA):
The first version of The Bus was staged 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 received from the community, artists and business leaders of Burlington, The Bus would not exist today.
Still in development, The Bus is currently unpublished and has never had an AEA production.
The Bus was crowd-funded on Kickstarter:
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.