ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - We are counting down the days to the return of the Atlanta Pride Parade and a big part of the parade are the grand marshals.
Each year a committee chooses several representatives and this year there are seven.
One grand marshal is Paul Conroy, the artistic director for the Out Front Theatre Company.
“I fully admit that when they called me last year I started to cry,” Conroy said.
He says being picked to be a part of the parade reinforced to him that what his theater is doing matters.
“It made up for all of the late nights. And all of the, you know, the days that we were close during the pandemic. And all the times of ‘how are we going to stretch a buck to make things work?’”
In just a few short weeks, Out Front will raise the curtain on their 6th season.
Conroy started the West Midtown theatre in 2016 with a laser-focused mission aimed at telling the stories of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“To me, it seemed really odd with Atlanta being essentially the capital of the South that we didn’t have a theater dedicated to telling those stories on a consistent basis,” he said.
Conroy says people drive more than two hours to see their plays, musicals, concerts and even drag shows, but the pandemic forced them to keep their doors closed for nearly two years.
“The theater industry across the country has not bounced back.”
But Out Front’s newest season could change that. Right now, Out Front’s cast and crew are rehearsing for a production of Kinky Boots, which will open Oct. 20.
Kinky Boots tells the story of a man who inherited his family’s shoe factory and enlists the help of a drag queen to save the business. Along the way, the two become friends. Kinky Boots has music and lyrics by 1980s pop icon Cyndi Lauper.
“It’s theater that really talks about something. It is wonderful. I think us as a society right now are still longing for comfort and joy and music,” Conroy said.
You can catch Kinky Boots at the Out Front Theatre Oct. 20 through Nov. 5.
You can also find a full list of pride-related events here.
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