“The Bus Opens Off-Broadway, Oct 9″

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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.

“Crashing the Tea Party”

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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.

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.

“Westboro Baptist Church has actually offered to help bring the play to Kansas”

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Queerty, July 2011. James Lantz’s play gets its Off-Broadway launch in October, but they’ve got even bigger aspirations: Topeka! Lantz is spearheading a Kickstarter campaign to bring the show to the home of the Westboro Baptist Church. They’ll use the ensuing brou-ha-ha as an opportunity to stand against some truly awful people, just as Lisa Lampanelli did recently. Now, obviously, these two groups are steadfastly opposed to each other. But they share a common goal: publicity. And to that end, the WBC has actually offered to help bring the play to Kansas.

“Help bring a gay play to Westboro Baptist Church”

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Popnography, June 2011. After being shocked by the Westboro Baptist Church the first two or three times, we’ve long realized that the hate-based traveling family circus is nothing more than a recurring cold sore on the mouth of common decency. … Simply put, how do we react in the face of such sloppy, undiscerning, cluttered hatred? Pay them a visit!