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    Marin Theatre Company Spotlights LGBTQ+ Identity and Love in Season Finale

    Marin Theatre Company (MTC) will close out its 2023/24 season with Torch Song, the seminal comic drama by Harvey Fierstein, directed by Evren Odcikin. An adaptation of Fierstein’s 1982 play Torch Song Trilogy, this newly revised two-act Torch Song—called, “Spectacular. An energizing joy, as stimulating as four shots of espresso,” by The New York Times—focuses on Arnold Beckoff, a lovelorn Jewish drag queen wielding the pithy wit of a Fran Lebowitz, who is looking for love in New York City.


    By turns hilarious and touching, this rollicking work finds Arnold stumbling through modern life, wallowing in cynical despair at ever finding a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit. An unexpected visit from his disapproving mother from Miami reminds Arnold that what he really needs is respect. Torch Song will be performed May 9–June 2 at the Marin Theatre Company.

    This will be the Bay Area’s first experience with Torch Song, an iconic work celebrated as a milestone in queer theatre, captivating audiences with its poignant exploration of love, acceptance, and the pursuit of authenticity. Torch Song Trilogy enjoyed an extended run at San Francisco’s Theatre on the Square in 1983 and hasn’t been seen in the Bay Area since its revival by the New Conservatory Theatre Center in 2000—so there should be a surge of anticipation among theatregoers for this production, especially with the casting of local favorites Dean Linnard as Arnold, and Nancy Carlin as his mother.


    The groundbreaking Torch Song Trilogy premiered Off-Broadway in 1981 before transferring to Broadway’s Little Theatre (now the Hayes Theater) in 1982. It was later adapted into a feature film starring Fierstein in 1988, and in 2017, a new production of the play commenced Off-Broadway at Second Stage, eventually transferring to Broadway and returning to the Hayes Theater.

    Torch Song Trilogy captivated Broadway audiences, earning Tonys for Best Play and Best Actor during its three-year run and in the 2017/18 Broadway revival, Torch Song received a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Play. The Guardian praised Torch Song, noting “it still packs a certain punch,” and Entertainment Weekly said, “Torch Song brings laughter and tears simultaneously. It’s impossible not to feel electricity in the theater.”

    Fierstein’s prescient story, which showed a gay man hoping for a husband and to adopt a child—decades before either concept became legal—shattered barriers, bringing mainstream attention to LGBTQ+ narratives and paving the way for future representations in both stage and screen from Modern Family, Transparent, and RuPaul’s Drag Race to musicals such as Kinky Boots, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and recent Pulitzer and Tony winner A Strange Loop.


    The play’s enduring relevance is a testament to its universal themes and the exceptional craftsmanship of its storytelling. With its rich emotional depth and powerful performance, Torch Song continues to resonate with audiences, leaving a lasting impact on all who experience its heartfelt portrayal of the human experience.

    Marin Theatre Company’s Torch Song will be performed May 9–June 2 at Marin Theatre Company (397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley). Tickets are available by calling 415-388-5208 and at

    Published on May 9, 2024