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October 23, 2017 Comments Off on Richard Gray Spills The Tea On His Role as “The Nance” Debuting At ArtsWest This Week Views: 1791 *Seattle Theaterland, Arts & Entertainment, Burlesque, Gay 101, Queer History, Queer Theater, Stage

Richard Gray Spills The Tea On His Role as “The Nance” Debuting At ArtsWest This Week

Rich Gray, center with boa and the cast of "The Nance" onstage at ArtsWest Oct 26-Nov 19, 2017 Photo by John McLellan

Rich Gray, center with boa and the cast of “The Nance” onstage at ArtsWest Oct 26-Nov 19, 2017 Photo by John McLellan

It’s a perfect fit for LGBTQ audiences….ArtsWest Playhouse is debuting the Seattle debut of Douglas Carter Beane’s bittersweet comedy, THE NANCE, this week at their theater in West Seattle. Set in the 1930s world of burlesque, a “nance” is slang for an effeminate homosexual and in particular, for a stage comedian who mocks gay men with jokes about limp wrists and “nelly” behavior. The humor was crude and coarse but audiences enjoyed “nance” performances the same way they embraced the minstrel show or other forms of ethnic humor that are all found to be offensive to modern sensibilities and audiences.

Douglas Carter Beane’s play focuses on an unusual kind of “nance”. Chauncey Miles, the lead in this play is actually a closeted gay man pretending to be straight and playing an effeminate caricature on stage. It’s a role tailor made for out Seattle actor Richard Gray who has played a wide variety of roles, both gay and straight; musicals and dramas and comedies over his multi decade career including bravura turns in The Producers at Village Theatre and in the two man tour de force Murder for Two at ACT this past spring. And, like his role in The Producers, once again Gray is stepping into a role originated by Broadway star Nathan Lane.

“Sometimes the perfect role comes along at the perfect time for an actor, and you have to grab on to it.”
After 25 productions with The 5th Avenue Theatre and countless more at ACT, Village Theatre, and beyond, renowned Seattle actor Richard Gray has found the “perfect role” as Chauncey Miles in The Nance at ArtsWest.
“I can’t wait,” he says. “It’s funny, it’s touching, it brings you into a time period you may not know and a piece of history that you should know about, and it’s highly entertaining.”
Check out the video below for more of Rich Gray’s interview, and get tickets here.

October 26 – November 19, 2017

By Douglas Carter Beane

Directed by Mathew Wright

Set in the beating heart of the naughty, raucous world of 1930s burlesque, THE NANCE brings to life an American era when it was easy to play gay and dangerous to be gay. Chauncey Miles (Richard Gray) performs as a “nance”, a popular comedy act packed with double entendre and camp parodies of gay men. While most “nance” actors are straight, Chauncey is not, and – at a time when gay communities were subject to police raids and moral outrage – Chauncey is left with no choice but to hide his identity while he mocks it onstage.

Run time is approx. 2.5 hours with an intermission.

* Content advisory: this play features full nudity.


Cabaret Seats

10 Cabaret Tables for Two are available for each performance of The Nance, staged as shown in the diagram below. Cabaret Tables, available for only $125, seat two and include a complimentary bottle of wine.

Diagram of THE NANCE seating: 10 Cabaret Tables distributed around the stage

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