Oh, and his new “Tales” book, “Mary Ann in Autumn” is out November 2…Oh, and they’re workshopping the new “Tales” musical in San Francisco, right now! With Betty Buckley as Mrs Madrigal! Oh, bestill my Barbary Lane loving heart!
I’m hoping ALL of our readers have read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series of seven novels; if you haven’t, I might have to ban you from the site. (And, you have to see the first miniseries starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis!) Every human on the planet needs to be sucked into Mr Maupin’s world of gay, lesbian, trans, bi and even straight (I love Brian Hawkins!) San Franciscans centered on an apartment building on Russian Hill, their eccentric landlady Mrs. Madrigal and 35 years of their shared history. Mr Maupin ended the series originally in 1989 after the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, but very happily returned to the characters in 2007 with the publication of “Michael Tolliver Lives” and, now, to the delight of millions of “Tales” fans, the latest chapter in the saga of the lives of the Barbary Lane gang continues with the publication of “Mary Ann in Autumn” on November 2, 2010.
|Marcus D’Amico, Laura Linney, Chloe Webb in the tv adaptation of “Tales of the City”|
The new novel focuses on Mary Ann Singleton, the perky, blond female lead of the original series who was somewhat corrupted by the excesses of the 80’s and ended up a rather dark and unlikeable character by the end of the sixth book. In pursuit of a career in television, Mary Ann leaves her husband and child for a new life in New York, and abandons her best friend, the AIDS sticken Michael Tolliver. The character made a tearful return at the end of the 7th novel, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and takes center stage for the latest:
Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, a gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband.
Mary Ann finds temporary refuge in the couple’s backyard cottage, where, at the unnerving age of fifty-seven, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes. Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to reengage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her checkered past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined.
Nothing could be finer than reading a new “Tales” novel, but for hardcore fans, it DOES get better with Mr Maupin sweeping through the Seattle area on a worldwide press tour for the novel, with visits to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on November 9, followed by a stop at University Books in the U-District on November 10. Again, where is the visit to Capitol Hill?!?! Elliot Bay Bookstore needs to get cracking on this! Why isn’t a beloved gay writer coming to the biggest homohood in town?!?!
|The creative team behind the musical, left to right: Jeff Whitty, librettist; Stephen Oremus, musical director; John Garden, composer; Jason Sellards (aka Jake Shears), composer-lyricist; Jason Moore, director.|
And, the last bit of “Tales” news concerns the upcoming musical adaptation of the first two novels which is currently workshopping in San Francisco with a cast that includes Broadway legend Betty Buckley as Anna Madrigal and a book by “Avenue Q” writer Jeff Whitty and music by Scissor Sisters frontman, Jake Shears…this could only get gayer if they cast Lady Gaga as Mona Ramsey. Please note this is a workshop for the musical and there will be no public performance featuring the workshop cast; Betty Buckley might not be available for the actual production which runs May 17-June 19 at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. But, here’s hopin’!
– Michael Strangeways