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'Standing on Ceremony' -- but not here

Get-involvedIn one of those what-the-heck moments (I have those sometimes when I check my email), I note that Monday is the first Off-Broadway preview of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays.  Eight short plays on the subject of marriage equality make up the evening.  Those plays are Jordan Harrison's The Revision, Joe Keenan's This Marriage Is Saved, Wendy MacLeod's This Flight Tonight, Doug Wright's On Facebook, Neil LaBute's Strange Fruit, Paul Rudnick's The Gay Agenda, Moisés Kaufman's London Mosquitoes and José Rivera's Pablo and Andrew at the Altar of Words.  The cast, a terrific one, includes Craig Bierko, Mark Consuelos, Polly Draper, Harriet Harris, Beth Leavel and Richard Thomas.

I'm not planning a trip to New York soon, but I wish I could be there Monday, when a special 8 p.m. performance at the Minetta Lane Theatre will be at the heart of a national event.  Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, will speak before the show.  Playwrights Rivera, Rudnick, Wright and Kaufman will participate in a post-performance Q&A moderated by New York Times writer Patrick Healy.

Here's what is making Monday really special, though. At more than 40 professional and college theaters throughout the United States, actors and others will read the Standing on Ceremony script, bringing the art and the message to their local communities.  The New York introduction and post-show discussion will be live streamed, and theatergoers can ask the playwright panel questions via Twitter at #asksoc.

In Florida, just two theaters are participating: Mad Cow in Orlando and American Stage in St. Petersburg.  Which leads back to my what-the-heck moment. 

I know many gay and lesbian couples who would marry, if only it were legal in their state -- Florida included.  I know many happy, long-time gay and lesbian couples who work in theater in South Florida, artists who are unhappy that the right to marry is denied them.  And yet this event, which could shine a bright spotlight on the issue, isn't happening here. 

The hectic start to South Florida's theater season is under way, so maybe the theaters or artists who would have participated just felt too swamped.  I don't mean gay theaters specifically, or gay and lesbian artists specifically.  This is art tackling an issue that should matter to everyone who cares about equality. 

Find out more about the play (which opens Nov. 13) and the national event here.  What a shame that we can't gather here to share this experience.