August 4, 2012 The Bus was recently picked up by Cape Town, South Africa, theater director Wayne Hendricks where his production of the play just finished a successful two week run at Milnerton Playhouse. In a review in the Cape Times, Cape Town S.A., Sheila Chisholm headlined her review: “Dramatic Tale of Gay Love and Religious Conflict Well Worth Getting a Ticket for “The Bus.” You can check out The Bus’s South African website here and check out an article in SevenDays here. Pictured above are actors Timothy Mayers and Darin Graham. Also pictured below cast members: Johann van der Merwe, Robyn Bensch, Coleen Tapson, Barry Altwig and director Wayne Hendricks.
We’re also proud to announce that New Conservatory Theater Center in San Francisco has picked up the play and added it to its 2012/2013 season where it will play for one month. When we performed the play at 59E59 Theaters New York City, NCTC Artistic Director Ed Decker traveled from San Francisco to see a performance; he then secured the West Coast premiere rights to perform THE BUS at NCTC. We’re doubly excited about our play being in San Francisco because Ed has also decided that following its run at NCTC, he’s going to tour the play to rural areas of Northern California.
In addition to these runs, we continue to field requests from other theaters around the country interested in producing THE BUS.
December 14, 2011 “During our mini-tour, we were moved to tears by the hospitality and generosity of the good people of the Sunflower State. Many on our team said it was the most humbling and moving experience of their professional lives. Our goal was to perform as near the Westboro Baptist Church as we could, and indeed, we did — we were within sight of the Kansas State Capitol building and just over a mile from the notorious church headed by Pastor Fred Phelps and his family. In our audience was a mother whose son died of AIDS, parents who came to understand, students who drove up to three hours to see our show, gay couples and straight folk, believers and atheists, people on the front lines fighting for LGBT rights in Kansas — and even a couple of Kickstarter supporters.” Read the whole post here.
December 7, 2011 “The New York cast, crew and playwright of the off-Broadway show “The Bus” will stage a single show tonight at Wichita State University as a counter-protest to Westboro Baptist Church’s anti-gay picketing. Wichita is one of two Kansas destinations for the show; the other is Topeka. “When we started this project, we decided to be proactive and take it to a place that resonated, where hate groups are actively pursuing high schools,” said playwright James Lantz.” Read the whole article here.
December 6, 2011, Nate Phelps, an estranged son of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred W. Phelps Sr., will return this weekend to his hometown to support the presentation of a play about two gay teens, a large church and small-town homophobia. “The Bus,” which played off-Broadway in New York City this fall, will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday in downtown Topeka at the Blue Planet Cafe, 110 S.E. 8th. It then will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday at Metropolitan Community Church, 4425 S.W. 19th. Read the whole article here.
December 1, 2011, Topeka, KS Nate Phelps, estranged son of Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps, will conduct a talk back at two Topeka performances of ‘The Bus.’ The younger Phelps assisted in bringing the Off Broadway production to Topeka and, along with the playwright and cast, will be available following the show for a discussion about the play which features a large church and two gay teens. ‘The Bus’ will be performed by the original Off Broadway cast at the Blue Planet Cafe at 110 SE 8th Ave on Friday Dec. 9 at 7:00pm, and Saturday Dec 10 at 1:00pm.
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. (Read the whole review here.)
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.
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.
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.”
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.
October 3, 2011, “James Lantz wrote this play, in which two small-town gay teen-age boys become embroiled in a tussle between a church and a gas station. John Simpkins directs.”