Berkeley, CA – March 2017 – This Spring UC Berkeley’s Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) presents Love and Pride, a new musical directed, written, and choreographed by TDPS student Sy Bocalbos Jordan that lightheartedly explores how people navigate gender identity, sexual orientation and learning to love yourself and others. Featuring an original electronic score, Love and Pride follows six interconnected characters through San Francisco’s landmark festivals and celebrations as they learn to respect, and appreciate, all expressions of sexuality and identity. Love and Pride runs March 16-19 in Zellerbach Room 7 on the UC Berkeley Campus. Tickets are $10 to $15 and can be purchased online through the TDPS box office (http://tdps.berkeley.edu/events/love-and-pride/) or at the door.
Love and Pride opens on Bay to Breakers, San Francisco’s annual 12k run that is heavy on costumes, light on competition, and optional on clothing. The show’s opening number, “Summer in San Francisco,” declares that you can be whatever you want in SF, and introduces a lively cast of characters who want to believe just that: Aphrodite, an outspoken genderqueer pansexual; Alexander, her best friend and band mate who is uneasy with the LGBTQ+ community; Aurora and Ash, a lesbian couple going through major changes; and married couple Abigail and Andrew who are not the cisgender heterosexuals they appear to be. These individuals intermingle, transition, come out, fight, laugh and fall in love against the backdrop of iconic San Francisco events, from Outside Lands to Pride to the Folsom Street Fair.
In order to accurately portray the struggles of multiple individuals across the gender spectrum, Love and Pride writer and director Sy Bocalbos Jordan conducted numerous interviews with LGBTQ+ identifying individuals. “Authenticity was really important to me,” says Sy, “because I explore multiple viewpoints in the play—queer, trans, asexual and more.” Sy found the interview process especially helpful as she herself doesn’t identify with all of the viewpoints presented in the musical. And, she adds, “Even if I did, one person can’t speak for an entire group.” To ensure these identities were portrayed with respect and accuracy, Sy used the interviews to identify common themes and struggles, and drew all the dialogue in the play from people who occupy those identities. “It was important that the narratives came from lived experiences, in the hopes that these stories can be a starting point for conversation and understanding.
The original electronic music score in Love and Pride, also written by Sy, draws from a variety of genres, including pop, jazz, trip hop and acoustic. Sy says, “I’ve been a musician my whole life, mostly in rock bands, but most recently I was in an electronic band. I started thinking, ‘What if I did an electronic musical?’ And I just started writing songs!” Sy, a double major in Theater and Performance Studies and Gender Studies with a minor in Music, sees all of her passions converging in Love and Pride—“This is the perfect combination of everything I’ve been studying here at Berkeley!”—and hopes that the musical will spark honest conversation and reflection. “I believe that if people are willing to talk openly and respectfully, even about polarizing issues, then we can all learn something. Hopefully this play can show how dialogue can allow you to have a relationship with someone who holds different views.”
With its original score, diverse ensemble, and humorous approach, Love and Pride shows the difficulties and rewards that come from opening up and having honest conversations about gender and sexual identity with family, friends, lovers, and, ultimately, ourselves.
Love and Pride opens Thursday, March 16 and continues through Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Zellerbach Room 7 on the UC Berkeley campus. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets for students, seniors, UC Berkeley Faculty & staff are $10 online and at the door; General admission tickets are $15 online and at the door; Tickets are on sale through the TDPS Box Office at http://tdps.berkeley.edu/events/love-and-pride/ or at the door.
Directed by Sy Bocalbos Jordan with co-director Lila Mullins, Love and Pride features scenic design by Chin Kuo and Ashley McGullum, costume design by Kyo Yohena and Michelle Lubimov, lighting design by Kalon Cheung, and sound design by Chris Sauceda.
The cast includes: Max Yearian, Chad Theriault, Kevin Mu, Ceylan Ersoy, Alyse Gonthier, Illan Halpern, Ariel Hsieh, Yara Kanaaneh, Janette Keola, Mallory Penney, Joel Sedano, Kamia Rodil Willis, Stephanie Toussaint, Camille Cheetham.
For more info about the TDPS production, visit http://tdps.berkeley.edu/events/love-and-pride/.
For more info about the script, visit http://loveandpridethemusical.com/.
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The Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies teaches performance as a mode of critical inquiry, creative expression and public engagement. Through performance training and research, we create liberal arts graduates with expanded analytical, technical and imaginative capacities. As a public institution, we make diversity and inclusion a key part of our teaching, art making and public programming.
About Sy Bocalbos Jordan
Sy is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, double majoring in Gender and Women’s studies and Theater and Performance Studies, with a minor in Music. Born and raised in San Francisco, she has been a musician all of her life, and has been the lead singer of several bands, ranging from pop to rock to electronic music. She worked as a fitness instructor for over 8 years, where she taught kickboxing, yoga, and hip hop dance. Sy has been writing Love and Pride for over a year, conducting interviews and facilitating workshops to discuss the complex topics of the play. As the playwright and composer, and currently working as the director and choreographer for Love and Pride, this project is the culmination of her passions for music, theater and dance; her fascination with gender, sexuality and relationships; and her desire to fight for social justice.