Choir Boy by Miami playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney is about bullying, homophobia, compassion and the complexities of an adolescent longing for acceptance.
It makes sense that after Choir Boy wraps a month-long engagement Sunday at GableStage at the Biltmore hotel, director Joseph Adler wants it seen by audiences who’ll relate to it the most.
“It’s especially important for the public school, high school audience to see. It’s set in a high school and those kids who see it will see issues they deal with every day,” Adler said. “Hopefully this will lead to discussion about bullying, especially as it relates to sexual orientation.”
For four days beginning Tuesday, Choir Boy will be performed mornings at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium in Liberty City, where McCraney grew up. “Four thousand students from different schools, all over the county,” Adler said. “They filled every seat.”
Choir Boy will then be presented for free to the general public March 6, 7 and 8 at the historic Lyric Theater in Overtown.
Bullying and homophobia often lead LGBT youth to contemplate suicide. It is estimated that up to 45 percent of homeless youth are LGBT.
“What’s important is for adults to work to intervene and prevent bullying, and to teach young people what to do,” said Miami-Dade educator Robert Loupo, co-founder and executive director of Safe Schools South Florida, which is participating in the Choir Boy performances at the Caleb Auditorium.
Choir Boy, with musical direction by Christina Alexander, tells of five students at Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys who are a part of the choir and have much in common, including race, gender and a strong passion for singing.
One of the boys, Pharus Jonathan Young ‒ played by Din Griffin ‒ is lead singer of the choir and gay. He is confronted by Bobby Marrow (played by Melvin Cox), who is bothered by Din’s sexual orientation.
GableStage has a long history of providing educational outreach to South Florida public school students, Adler said.
Mario Roberts, a gay former student at Florida A&M University, said plays such as Choir Boy provide a great way to bring people of all genders and sexualities together and share their cultural experiences.
“It shows a great way for people of different interests and values to coexist in a positive way and being the example of ‘United we stand, and divided we fall,’ ” Roberts said.
If you go
▪ What: “Choir Boy” by Miami playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney
▪ Where: Lyric Theater, 819 NW Second Ave., Miami
▪ When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8
▪ Ticket price: Free
▪ Info: www.gablestage.org; 305-445-1119 or 305-446-1116