Today I did something I’ve never done before. I watched my play Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House—How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! I have had video, DVD and audio versions of the play since as early as 2003, but the most I ever watched or listened was about 10 minutes. I always had an image in my head of what the play looked like on stage and worried that if I saw what it really looks like than it would mess something up for me in subsequent performances.
Yesterday I arrived in Memphis, TN (one of my favorite places on the planet). Today I met with Morgan Jon Fox, that fine filmmaker, to look at his edits of my Homo No Mo play which he and his crew filmed back in February. I had to watch the entire film version and give Morgan feedback about the edits and the artistic touches he added.
The crew did an amazing job with the taping of the show, and even though I knew every line, I still found myself laughing out loud at least twice. Towards the end, when the character Chad speaks about his brother’s death, I found myself tearing up a bit. (I know, I know, Joe G is going to accuse me of artistic masturbation or something).
I will have DVDs available for me to take to the UK and Europe during my May trip. If you got one of last year’s DVDs (with the really crap sound quality) let me know, and I will give you a replacement.
Friday I will go back to where I grew up and where my dad still lives so that I can perform my final performance of Homo No Mo in Narrowsburg, NY where I went to school. My agent, Sarah B. Miller, asked me some questions then worked on a blrub for the program.
25 years ago Peterson Toscano graduated from Narrowsburg Central School. He then spent nearly two decades struggling with his faith and his gay orientation, but by 1999 he finally came out as gay. In 2003 he premiered his one-person play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House—How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! a comedy about his experiences in various “change” ministries including two years at the Love in Action ex-gay program where he submitted himself to a de-gayification process.
In the past five years Peterson has become an international sensation performing in over 30 US states, throughout Canada and regularly in Europe and the UK. Praised for both his skills as a playwright and a character actor, he performs at universities, theaters, conferences and progressive faith communities. The two pieces he presents at the Tusten Theatre this weekend are his most personal.
With his comedy Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House—How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! in addition to morphing into several zany and endearing characters, he also plays his own father, Pete Toscano. In The Re-Education of George W. Bush—No President Left Behind! Peterson shares the wisdom and wit of his mother, Anita Toscano. The Toscanos owned and ran Pete’s Pub (now Our Place on the Lake) in Lake Huntington for over 30 years.
Peterson recently announced that he will retire his Homo No Mo play. In fact, the performance at the Tusten Theatre this weekend will be his the final presentation of it. He will continue to tour with The Re-Education of George W. Bush—No President Left Behind! along with two of his other original works, Queer 101—Now I Know My gAy,B,Cs and Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a performance piece about transgender Bible characters. Next week he heads out for a month to offer a series of presentations in England, Northern Ireland and Spain.
Peterson Toscano appeared in the documentary film, Fish Can’t Fly and with his his father, Pete, is featured in the new documentary film Chasing the Devil, Inside the Ex-Gay Movement which recently premiered at the Birmingham Gay and Lesbian film festival. Peterson also appears in the documentary Cure for Love which aired earlier this month on Canadian national TV.
Peterson is an executive producer of a soon to be released feature length documentary film about the ex-gay movement called This is What Love in Action Looks Like. Peterson has appeared on several TV programs including the Tyra Banks Show, Montel Williams and the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, on the pages of People Magazine, the New York Times and Glamour Magazine, and on national public radio programs in the US, Sweden and Austria. He along with Christine Bakke co-founded the organization Beyond Ex-Gay (www.beyondexgay.com), a support network for people who survived the de-gayification process.
Peterson lives in Hartford, CT and has a little cottage in Lake Huntington, NY. His web site is www.petersontoscano.com
He dedicates this weekend’s performances to his parents, Pete and Anita Toscano and in recognition of Narrowsburg Central School. He also gives a special shout out to his sister, Maria Forlenza, her two sons Gregory and Geoffrey, and Maria’s husband, Pat Forlenza!
Thanks Christine for the crazy photo!
So in celebration of five fun and meaningful years of Homo No Mo, for those of you who have seen the show, I would love for you to write in the comments about your favorite character or moment from the play. For me right now my favorite part to perform is Marvin Bloom’s scene (he’s the newest character and he casts demons out of his computer just like I used to do!)