Actor Ty Autry lets us in on his role as Atlanta’s LGBT Out Front Theatre retells The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.
By Matthew Holley
Whoever said the first couple on earth wasn’t Adam and Steve? A commonly asked question ever since The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, written by Paul Rudnick debuted off Broadway in 1998.
Now Out Front Theater Company brings back the age-old debate and answers it with its very own rendition of the beloved play runing through May 14.
“Fabulous Story” was originally inspired by the extremist sentiment, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Rudnick decided to run with it and deliver his own fabulously amazing version of biblical history.
Beginning with the stories of the Old Testament, we are introduced to our lead characters, the divinely created Adam and Steve, along with Jane and Mabel, a lesbian couple. The four navigate the pages of the Old Testament as they hilariously decide to start civilization, although procreation proves to be quite the comical challenge considering their sexual orientations.
As the two gay couples pilot their way through centuries together all remaining friends, they come across numerous diverse, peculiar individuals, all leading them up and down one crazy roller coaster ride until they arrive in present-day New York City.
Paul Conroy, founder and artistic director at Out Front, compiled an excellent cast for the production. Venerable Atlanta thesps in the show include Ty Autry and Brian Jordan (photo, r-l) in the lead roles, along with Jenni McCarthy and Ellie Styron as their lesbian besties.
In anticipation of the “Fabulous” debut, David Atlanta snagged cutie lead Autry between rehearsals for an interview. He was more than delighted to share deets on the production, what audiences can expect, and his thoughts on the international controversy that has developed as the show nears opening night.
How did you get started in theater?
I started out getting classically trained in ballet my senior year of high school but turned down an offer to dance at a college to pursue my dream of becoming an engineer. Fast-forward a couple of years, I earned my degree from Georgia Tech in Electrical Engineering, but I knew that I wanted to follow my true passion of performing.
I landed an apprenticeship at Georgia Ensemble Theatre and quickly started to book work in the Atlanta area. I have been professionally performing for two years now, and I must say, I do not regret turning down an engineering job to follow this career.
What drew you to this particular show?
Adam and I are really, really freakily similar. After I was excommunicated from a church and banned from a school for being gay, I went through a rough spot with my faith and figuring out what my relationship God and my sexuality meant.
I never stopped asking questions, and I believe that is what drew me to Adam – his hunger and desire for always wanting answers to some really tough questions.
What do you hope to bring to the role that we haven’t seen in the past?
I want to bring the love story of Adam and Steve fully into the light and make the audience fall in love with the idea of us and fully believe we are a couple.
Were you surprised by the controversy that has developed?
Yes, of course! We joked as a cast that this show isn’t going to be for everyone, but we never in a million years thought that we get international press because of some protest for us to take down a show that was written almost 20 years ago.
How have you dealt with it, and has it made you approach your character differently?
I’ve personally dealt with it by writing an open letter as a Christian gay man to everyone who thinks we are bashing the Bible, explaining what the show is really about. I wouldn’t be doing this show if I thought it was going too far on hounding on my faith.
In the long run, it hasn’t made me approach my character any differently, just fueled my desire to keep telling compelling stories that ask some tough questions.
If you could sit down and discuss it with a protestor, what would you say?
I would tell them that this show is about so much more than making the Bible gay. It is about love, faith, how love and faith work together, and what we do when we have questions with no answers.
It is very much a story about growing up with childlike faith and then asking adult questions and how we evolve to answers those questions.
What do you hope the audience takes away?
How love really does win and you will do everything you can do for someone you love.
What is your favorite/least favorite part of the show?
I don’t have a least favorite part of the show… everything about it is just fabulous (Sorry, I had to).
My favorite scene in the entire show is when Adam, Steve, Mable, and Jane meet straight people for the very first time. Our cast of fearless ensemble members kills it every single time, and I have the hardest time not laughing on stage at everything they do.
The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told runs through May 14 at Out Front Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. NW. Visit outfronttheatre.com.