Written and directed by Tennyson Bardwell
TLA, opens September 23
Inhabiting the breezeway between the sweet sincerity of Beautiful Thing and the didacticism of an ABC Afterschool Special, this upstate New York coming-out saga will warm PFLAG hearts and kindle empathy in those who've had to tread the family-drama-churned waters of small-town gaydom. High school senior Dorian (Michael McMillian) figures out why he has no friends and his angry Nixon-worshipping dad disdains him: He's queer. He comes clean to his quarterback-hunk little bro, Nicky (Lea Coco), and the two embark on a My Fair Ladylike heterofying project that climaxes in a chaste hookup with a stripper named Bunny. Hopelessly homo, Dorian finally tells Dad (Steven C. Fletcher), who boots him out. Dorian heads to NYU, where he falls in love and hones his witty repartee as tensions simmer back home. An unexpected visit from Nicky ends Dorian's escape-from-upstate fantasy and leads to an epiphany for him. "We shall all suffer for what the gods have given us," wrote Oscar Wilde. In the end, our Dorian suffers from anger, bequeathed to him by Dad, not deities.