The cast of "It Gets Better" (photo provided)
The cast of “It Gets Better” (photo provided)

“It Gets Better” Tour Visits Athens For Performance, Local Outreach

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The It Gets Better Tour has set up shop at Ohio University this week, connecting with college and high school students and fostering conversations with community leaders and educators.

And don’t forget tonight’s acclaimed stage show, featuring members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

What started in 2010 as a single video by journalist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller has expanded to become a successful music and theater production, aimed at energizing community awareness of bullying and harassment and offering hope to young people struggling with their sexuality.

Offered in collaboration with the Emmy Award-winning It Gets Better Project, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Speak Theater Arts, It Gets Better is just one part of a week-long series of local outreach and education efforts.

“As much as I believe that a 90-minute performance can change the world, it can use the help of some conversations,” said Liesel Reinhart, the show’s writer and director. “We do something called the World Café, which is a way to get disparate people from the community together to talk about issues; mostly about gay and lesbian bullying and the gay/lesbian youth in the towns we go to. So the show really isn’t about us; it’s about stuff that’s already happening in the community.”

According to Reinhart, the stage show began in 2012 as a fictionalized project based on real-life stories.

“It was all-male because it was the cast of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, ” she explained. “After a couple years on the road, we realized we needed to reflect more communities. So now it’s similar to The Laramie Project, in that we’ve done community interviews. It doesn’t have a through-story but each story adds up to become an overall story about what’s happening in America right now. Of course, we have music, singing, dancing and costumes.”

The show features an ensemble of six actors whose personal stories are incorporated into the production. One of those cast members, Tod Macofsky, is convinced that It Gets Better is making a difference with each stop on the tour.

“We always do a Q&A after the show, and it’s really touching to hear how we have affected people, not only from the show we do, but also from the outreach we do for kids. Not every kid can come to the show, so we to go to them by visiting middle schools, high schools and universities. It’s great to change people’s lives and to perform with a message. It makes all the difference in the world.”

Those students and community members have also contributed to show’s evolution, said Reinhart.

“Since we’ve been on the road, the show’s been modified to reflect the communities we’ve visited and the changing times…and times are changing fast.”


It Gets Better

Thursday, Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, Ohio University, Athens

$12 – student
$18 – senior
$20 – general
Free – Ohio University student with ID (courtesy of Arts For Ohio)