- Created from actual interviews with citizens of Colorado Springs, the capital of the Evangelical movement, this timely musical explores faith, and the organized resistance against Gay rights. Traversing a scandal that rocked the core of the religious right, This Beautiful City illuminates a cross section of a community poised at the volatile intersection of church and state. Diversionary’s revival of this authentic, often humorous exposé of a nation divided honors composer Michael Friedman’s extraordinary contributions to American theatre.
Bob Haskell, Douglas Katzenmeyer & James Doltan and Jay Henslee & Christian St. Croix
I’m thrilled to debut the work of The Civilians on the Diversionary stage. Our 10th Anniversary revival of this rarely seen musical is the first professional production since its original. With religious freedom laws sweeping the country, I expect this piece will take on a renewed urgency as we hone in on what it means to have faith and how a community organizes on both sides of the political spectrum. Featuring a stunning score by the late and great Michael Friedman riffing on Christian rock, this profound and often humorous musical takes an even-handed look at what divides us, and what brings us together.
The Civilians is an investigative theatre company whose work has been produced at numerous theaters across the country including Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Vineyard Theatre, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Actors Theatre of Louisville, among others. This Beautiful City was created when The Civilians ensemble went to Colorado Springs to research and write about the Evangelical movement in 2006. They interviewed hundreds of citizens over a ten week period. This musical is the result of their research.
Composer Michael Friedman, (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Pretty Filthy, Paris Commune), passed away in Fall 2017 from complications related to HIV/AIDS. He was only 41. Taken far too early, this production honors him.
Victor E. Chan (Man 2): Diversionary Theatre: debut. Regional Credits: (Reprise 2.0) Sweet Charity starring Laura Bell Bundy, (San Diego REP) Evita, In The Heights, The Who’s Tommy, Celebration Of The Lizard (La Jolla Playhouse) Miss You Like Hell, (East West Players) Chess, (Disney Creative Entertainment) Crush in Finding Nemo the Musical (original cast album), Frozen –Live at the Hyperion, (Starlight Theatre) Engineer in Miss Saigon, (American Stage Theatre Co.) Riff Raff inRocky Horror Show, (SD Opera) Moby Dick. Movies: The Birth Of An Alien, Heart Of Mind, Platypus: The Musical, The Syndicate. TV: The Oscars 2018 (ABC), Bent(NBC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS). Love to his wife Michelle, and sons: Gabriel, Elijah, and Dorian. Proud member of AEA. @VictorEChan
Michael Louis Cusimano (Man 3): is happy to return to Diversionary where he was seen last season in Homos, or Everyone in America and in the staged readings of The Boys in the Band and The Homosexuals. Elsewhere in San Diego: Once, Big Fish, American Rhythm, North of Normal (Lamb’s Players); TheRocky Horror Show, On the Twentieth Century (Cygnet Theatre); Spamalot (Moonlight Amphitheatre). Los Angeles and other SoCal credits: Metamorphoses (Santa Barbara Ensemble Theatre); The 39 Steps (Glendale Centre Theatre); Grease (Cabrillo Music Theatre). Michael has also performed in the NYC Fringe and Brooklyn BEAT Festivals, and is a BFA graduate of Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Thanks to Matt and the whole Diversionary family and love to Donny!
Kim Heil (Woman 2): is proud to make her San Diego theatre debut on the Diversionary stage! She returns to the theatre after a 17-year hiatus, having served as an administrator and producer for The Old Globe and San Diego Junior Theatre, as well as San Diego Repertory Theatre, where she is currently the Associate Producer and Casting Director. In her previous life as an actor, Kim made many appearances at East West Players and CLO of South Bay Cities, among others. Kim holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University. This is for Jason, Katrina and Tristan.
Matt M. Morrow (Director) Since joining Diversionary, Matt has directed the World Premiere of Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald’s musical The Loneliest Girl in the World, Georgette Kelly’s Ballast (Winner, 2017 Best New Play, San Diego Critic’s Circle Awards), the San Diego Premiere of Bash Doran’s The Mystery of Love and Sex, the West Coast Premieres of Jordan Harrison’s Amazons and Their Men, and Christopher Shinn’s Now Or Later. Matt recently directed Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine with The Old Globe/USD MFA program. Prior to joining Diversionary Theatre, Matt was the Associate Artistic Director of City Theatre Company, a LORT theatre in Pittsburgh dedicated to producing work written in the past five years. With City he directed the Regional Premiere of Jessica Dickey’s Charles Ives Take Me Home, the World Premiere of Tami Dixon’s South Side Stories (Pittsburgh Post Gazette & Tribune Review’s Top Ten of 2012), and Kim Rosenstock’s Tigers Be Still.
Matt is currently a Creative Catalyst Fellow with The San Diego Foundation and La Jolla Playhouse. He has developed new work with The Sundance Theatre Institute, The Old Globe, The Banff Centre, Center Theatre Group, American Conservatory Theater, Lincoln Center, PlayPenn, and Page 73 Productions in residence at the Yale School of Drama. He served as The John Wells Professor of Directing at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama (Graduate & Undergraduate Directing programs), and is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. He holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. www.mattmmorrow.com
Justin Humphres (Scenic Design) is a scenic and video designer based in San Diego, CA. His design work has been seen internationally in both the United States and Asia. As a video designer, he has created content for numerous concert tours, corporate events and Las Vegas shows. As an assistant/associate he has worked with Robert Brill, John Lee Beatty and others on various commercial, regional and Broadway projects. Recent San Diego scenic design credits include: “Actually” (San Diego Rep), “Vietgone” (San Diego Rep), and “Voyeurs de Venus” (Moxie). Broadway credits include: “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical” (Associate Designer), “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” (Associate Designer). Justin holds a BFA from Western Michigan University and an MFA from University of California, San Diego.www.justinhumphres.com
Taylor Todd (Stage Manager) is so excited to be back at Diversionary! Some selected technical credits include stage manager for Bachelorette (Backyard Renaissance), Tarrytown (Backyard Renaissance), Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, & 3 (Intrepid), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Intrepid & New Village Arts), Perfect Arrangement (Intrepid), Mystery of Love and Sex (Diversionary), ART (Intrepid), Gutenberg! The Musical! (Backyard Renaissance), Woody Guthrie’s American Song (Intrepid), The Seagull (Old Globe/USD MFA), End of the Rainbow (Intrepid), Anton’s Shorts; Three Brief Comedies by Chekhov (USD), and assistant stage manager for Cardboard Piano (Diversionary), Parlour Song (Backyard Renaissance), Oliver! (Cabrillo Stage, Santa Cruz), and Anatomy of Gray (USD). Taylor graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies.
Curtis Mueller (Lighting Designer) returns to Diversionary having designed Bull in a China Shop, The Happiest Place on Earth, Cardboard Piano, Homos, Well, 2.5 Minute Ride, Lizard Boy, Manhandled, Now or Later, A Civil War Christmas, Amazons and Their Men, Man Clan, and A New Brain. Select local credits include: Withering Heights, Margin of Error (Roustabouts Theatre Company); End of The Rainbow, Quality of Life, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, I Hate Hamlet, All My Sons, Macbeth (Intrepid Theatre Company); Big River, The 1940s Radio Hour, Seascape (New Village Arts); Chess in concert, Next to Normal, Spring Awakening (Cabaret at the Merc Summer Series). Curtis has also worked extensively with Coronado School of The Arts. Curtis holds a BFA in Lighting Design from California Institute of The Arts.
Tony Houck (Musical Director) is reveling at returning to Diversionary. Diversionary: Marry Me A Little; Thrill Me; Bare: a pop opera(Critic’s Circle Nom). Elsewhere: Legally Blonde; The Secret Garden; The Buddy Holly Story; 1940’s Radio Hour; Oklahoma(New Village Arts); The Test(SD Fringe festival winner for Best Musical); Bring It On(SDMT). Tony is also an accomplished pianist and has played for In The Heights(Southwestern College); Big River, Sylvia(New Village Arts); Lady Day at Emmerson’s Bar and Grill, (ion Theatre); Altar Boyz (diversionary). He also played for B Squared starring Broadway’s Brad Bradley; and the Human Dignity Gala featuring Seth Rudetsky and Andrea Martin. Tony is a graduate of AMDA. He also plays trumpet and french horn. He plays for many auditions around town and does vocal coaching for many of San Diego’s local artists as well as being a teaching artist at San Diego Junior Theatre. He has also been on stage in some Diversionary favorites like YANK!, Scrooge in Rouge(Craig Noel Award); Harmony, Kansas; and Twist, just to name a few.
Blake McCarty (Projection Designer) is an artist and educator, as well as the founder of Blindspot Collective, a theatre company devoted to transformative new work at the intersection of advocacy, education, and entertainment. He is thrilled to be making his Diversionary Theatre debut. Elsewhere as a designer: Spamalot, On the Twentieth Century, and The Rocky Horror Show (Cygnet); Evita and Beachtown (San Diego Rep); Shadowlands, American Rhythm, and Oz (Lamb’s Players); Cloud Tectonics, Buddy, and Return to Forbidden Planet (New Village Arts); and Sunday in the Park with George (Ion). Upcoming projects: Qulili, a documentary play about refugees based on the exact words of real people; Chasing Fear, a musical based on Turkish folklore with composer Trevor Bachman; a new play in the style of Boal’s Forum Theatre exploring the lives of non-binary and gender non-confirming youth that will tour to local schools later this year; and Angels in America with Cygnet. In addition to his work as a director and designer, Blake has developed educational programming for organizations that include The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, The New Victory Theatre, Tribeca Film Festival, and Guggenheim Museum. He holds a BFA in Film Production and an MA in Educational Theatre, both from New York University.
“An engaging, inquisitive, and moving work of theatre.”
The New York Times’ Critic’s Pick