In one Atlanta theatre, Bible stories are getting a shocking gay makeover. But the media has at least admitted the controversy.
As the Southeast’s only theater dedicated to telling the stories of the LGBT community, the Out Front Theater Company is no stranger to gay plays. But not every performance is as controversial as Paul Rudnick’s “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” – a blatantly irreverent recasting of famous Biblical figures as gay and lesbian.
A month before the planned April 27 debut of the show, Out Front began to receive complaints and concerns from community members regarding the content of the play. As New York Times writer Sopan Deb noted, the Catholic group “America Needs Fatima” was the “main driver” of the protests, condemning “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” as “blasphemous.”
First performed in 1998, Rudnick’s show follows gay couple Adam and Steve, and lesbian couple Jane and Mabel as they navigate Biblical history—each duo believing that they were created first by God. The Virgin Mary, and assorted other figures, are also recast as homosexual.
In a 1998 review, New York Times critic Ben Brantley called it a “work that retells the Bible from a flamboyantly gay perspective,” noting that some spoofs were “truly profane.”
But Out Front’s Artistic Director Paul Conroy is doing his best to ignore the complaints, believing that people who disagree with the content don’t have to come. “I think everyone has their individual beliefs and they are entitled to that,” he commented to Georgia radio station WABE, “… but to disrupt a production is where I don’t think it’s okay.”
Hearing of the controversy, Rudnick even weighed in. In a statement provided to Out Front and posted on the theatre’s Facebook page, the playwright said: “The play has always attracted a certain amount of controversy… Blessedly, all sorts of people, gay and straight, and everyone from atheists to the most devout, most often end up truly enjoying themselves once they’re in the audience.”
One would imagine that only a very specific crowd interested in LGBT-themed performances would purchase tickets to a show like Rudnick’s, making his comment somewhat pointless.