Gay playwright/actor Joe Gulla's latest work, The Bronx Queen, which examines the playwright's experience growing up as a gay Italian boy in the Bronx, has been selected for an Encore Performance at the United Solo Festival.
"I call the show 'The Bronx Queen' in an attempt to be provocative," Gulla says. "I want my audience to derive any meaning they want from the title. The show provides lots of options. For instance, my Dad was a rough-and-tumble Bronx guy. I was his first-born son, and he was waiting for a star quarterback, someone to talk and play sports with. Then, I showed up! Ha! One of the ways he tried to 'straighten me out' was to take me fishing, weekly, on a charter boat called The Bronx Queen. I was a gay boy, in Jordache jeans fishing for flounder... Believe me, I wish I was making this up!"
As Gulla explains: "I am a Bronx boy, but I always resented being born so close, yet so far from Manhattan. That resentment informed a lot of my young life. As a gay man, I felt things would have been easier for me if I lived closer to the Empire State Building. Perhaps, it is true. But, as I say in the show, the things that (seemingly) limited me. Things that I felt held me back. Well, those things made me... more me! And, ultimately, galvanized me!"
"I was a big fan of monologuist, Spalding Gray. I saw all his performances back in the day. Everywhere. Off-Broadway. Lincoln Center. I found him fascinating. Watching a man walk out on stage, pour himself a glass of water and just 'talk.' Wow. Just wow! I promised myself I would attempt that one day. The Bronx Queen is my story, my struggle with self-acceptance, and my homage to the Bronx neighborhood I grew up in. I deliver it by sitting, sipping, and talking. It's been quite the challenge, but wildly rewarding. The show honors people that influenced me and inspired me. To do it "in the style and spirit" of a man I admired so much, well, here comes the clichè -- it is a dream come true!
Gulla is also the author of Garbo.
Theatre Row is located at 410 W. 42nd Street. Tickets to the Encore Performance of The Bronx Queen can be purchased at here or TheBronxQueen.com.
For more information click here or visit TheBronxQueen.com.