better by shitingting


									Iowa Center for the Arts
The University of Iowa

    Facebook: itgetsbettermusical

        The Artists
    Jason Currie, Christopher
    Jason Currie moved from Atlanta, GA, to New York                                                               Morten Kier, Music Director and Arranger
    to study opera at The Juilliard School. After receiv-                                                          Morten Kier is a platinum-award-winning singer/
    ing his Bachelor of Music he began to take himself      Sacha Sacket, Mikey D.                                 songwriter based out of Copenhagen, Denmark.
    a little less seriously and headed to LA, where he      Sacha Sacket has taken his artistry far, touring       Morten, who has a Masters in vocal perfor-
    began studying at The Groundlings Improv School.        relentlessly with concerts at hundreds of colleges     mance from The Royal Academy of Music, tours
    There Jason formed the improv team Jetson               and music venues while garnering airplay on 150+       both in the US and abroad. He performs solo
    Lounge and the sketch group Fred For Nothing.           independent, college, and NPR stations. Openly         (voice and piano) with the vocal group m-pact,
    Jason’s credits include the film Naked Boys Sing-       gay from the start of his career, he has performed     and as a lead singer of the band Gårsdagens
    ing! and the TV shows Zeke and Luther and The           at numerous pride festivals, university GLBT           Lys (“The Light of Yesterday”). He also works
    Young and the Restless.                                 groups, and high school GSAs. Being bullied him-       as a producer for other artists, performs as a                                     self as a kid, he strives to empower and support       soloist or background vocalist on animated
    @JasonWCurrie                                           gay youth through his music and art. In 2011, he       movies, album productions, and TV, holds vocal
                                                            released 35 full-length songs, all of which were       workshops with Ørehænger, and writes arrange-
    Tyler Houston, C.J.                                     produced, written, and performed by him. This          ments and handbooks for singers. Morten is
    Tyler Houston was born on Cape Cod, Massa-              year sees him continuing this prolific trend with an   the proud owner of the record label Gule Plader,
    chusetts, in October of 1990. He began pursuing         onslaught of photo, video, and music projects to       on which he released his first debut album, Fra
    his performance career from an early age. Upon          be unveiled intermittently over the course of 2012     en ny altan (“From a New Balcony”) in 2008.
    graduation, he studied vocal performance at the         and beyond.                                            The album release was followed by more than
    Cleveland Institute of Music. He has performed in                                                              120 home concerts in Northern Europe, a band
    a variety of theatrical and operatic productions,       Drew Tablak, Anson                                     tour, and several national TV performances. For
    playing Jesus in Godspell, Gaston in La Traviata,       Drew Tablak received his degree in vocal perfor-       seven years, Morten was a member of the inter-
    Pippin in Pippin, and more. Tyler recently finished     mance from Azusa Pacific University and has had        nationally acclaimed vocal group Basix, whose
    producing his first album, which is an eclectic mix     the honor of being a guest soloist for the Long        debut album The Grass (2001) went platinum.
    of originals, standards, and holiday tunes. He is so    Beach Pops Symphony Orchestra, The Premier             Since July 2010, Morten has lived in Hollywood,
    grateful to have the opportunity to travel the coun-    Chorale of Los Angeles, The Pacific Symphony,          California. He is currently recording material for
    try and meet amazing people while helping spread        The Orange County Symphony and The Golden              his second EP release of 2012, and he works
    the It Gets Better message.                             State Pops. He has been heard in the recording         as a musical director on two stage productions:                      studios of Nashville’s top producers, the concert      Limbo and It Gets Better.                                  halls of Beijing and Shanghai, Carnegie Hall, and
                                                            countless venues across the US. He recently re-        Bill Bowersock, Show Producer
    Tod Macofsky, Thadd                                     turned from Shanghai, where he had the privilege       Bill Bowersock has been a singing member of
    Tod Macofsky is a Los Angeles native and has            of performing in the first show held at Disneyland     the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles since
    been performing there for over 25 years. After          Shanghai. This year he also had a guest starring       1993. For most of the last 18 years he has
    studying theatre directing at UCLA, he began work-      role on the TV show Glee. Favorite shows include       served as the group’s concert producer. A per-
    ing on cruise ship production shows. Tod’s claim        Paradise Lost (Angel), Bat Boy (Daisy/Bud), Wild       former since the age of eight, Bill sang with the
    to fame is performing as the original Bris boy in       Party (Max) and The Magic Flute (Tamino). His          nationally-known group The Establishment. He
    the hit review Naked Boys Singing! at the Celebra-      award winning Acappella group Simply Put (www.         has produced film and worked as a composer
    tion Theatre in Hollywood, for which he won an LA recently released its          in both film and television. As a songwriter, he
    Weekly Award for Best Musical Ensemble. He has          debut CD to much critical acclaim. Drew currently      has earned two Top 40 hits, a gold single, and a
    been a proud member of the Gay Men’s Chorus             performs in multiple shows for Disney Entertain-       platinum album. In his spare time, Bill is a realtor
    of Los Angeles for the past 11 years and is also a      ment.                                                  in Los Angeles.
    member of ‘N Pynk, the spin-off five-man a cap-
    pella group. Tod is the co-writer and one-half of       Liesel Reinhart, Writer and Director                   Kristie Roldan, Lighting Designer
    the comic cabaret duo Mack & Poppy. Recently,           Liesel Reinhart is the co-artistic director of         Kristie Roldan has designed for many theatre,
    Tod played a shot, frozen, and decapitated dead         LA-based Speak Theater Arts and Chair of the           opera, and dance companies, including the Gef-
    body on the ABC-TV show Castle.                         Department of Communication Studies at Mt.             fen Playhouse, the Los Angeles Philharmonic,
                                                            San Antonio College. Liesel is the co-writer of        and Speak Theater Arts. Her lighting credits also
    Mario Mosley, Tootsie                                   the nationally touring work N*GGER WETB*CK             include web broadcast, television specials, and
    Mario Mosley attended the UCLA School of                CH*NK and collaborated with the Speak Theater          DVD projects for artists such as Rihanna, Ben
    Theatre, Film and Television and has performed          Arts team to create and direct ArmeniaMania            Harper, and John Legend. Her theatrical designs
    throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.          and Woke Up In America. She is also a long-time        have been seen on tour both nationally and
    He’s recorded and performed as a background             member the Board of the Gay Men’s Chorus of            internationally. Kristie’s most recent theatrical
    vocalist for many artists, including Kelly Clarkson.    Los Angeles. Her previous artistic collaborations      work includes N*W*C with Speak Theater Arts,
    Some of his film credits include Dreamgirls, Walk       with GMCLA include 2009’s music-infused world          All Hail the Queen with Lesli Margherita, and
    Hard and Baseketball. Television credits include        premiere staging of Tectonic Theater Company’s         Some Girl(s) at the Geffen Playhouse.
    MADtv, Malcolm & Eddie, Hype, The Parkers               Laramie Project: Ten Years Later; an Epilogue. She
    and iCarly. His stage credits include Michael’s         is currently in workshop development of an origi-      Billy Rugh, Choreographer
    Jackson’s Sisterella, Wedding Band, Play On!, and       nal musical collaboration entitled Limbo. Liesel’s     Billy Rugh has worked as a dancer/choreog-
    the role of Clopin in Notre Dame De Paris. He also      academic pursuits address a range of subjects,         rapher for 15 years, having danced in national
    originated the role of L. Ron Hoover in the world-      including group performance, oral interpretation,      tours and industrials in Europe and the Baha-
    premiere of multi-award-nominated Frank Zap-            gender and ethnicity, and learning assessments         mas. He is the founder and artistic director of
    pa’s… Joe’s Garage. Most recently, he was fea-          in higher education. She is pleased to donate her      Creative Planet School of the Arts, a non-profit,
    tured as a Guest Host on the Fox hit Hell’s Kitchen,    time directing this project in memory of Mike Don-     K-8 academic and arts magnet for at-risk youth
    appeared as a guest expert on season three of           nelly, Marty Harris, and Ray St. Jean.                 in L.A. (; his students frequently ap-
    RuPaul’s Drag U., finished shooting the feature                                                                pear in GMCLA productions. Billy has choreo-
    film The Famous Joe Project (Ryan), as well as the                                                             graphed or directed for Vox Femina L.A., South
    shorts “Peephole” (Roberto Reyes), and “Oxygen”                                                                Coast Chorale, Culture Shock Los Angeles, Cul-
    (Captain Thomas). Currently he stars as “Flip” in a                                                            ver City Chamber Orchestra, and Peace Child
    hilarious, new web series called “The Shop.”

International, and has worked with such artists as                                                                   Daniel R. Fisher, Producer
LeAnn Rimes, Lily Tomlin, Jason Graae, Jennifer                                                                      Daniel R. Fisher is an American banker/lawyer living
Holliday, Stephanie J. Block, Randi Driscoll, Mal-        Jeff Marx, Lyricist/Composer                               in London as CEO of the European subsidiaries of
lory Lewis, and Cassidy Haley. As artistic director       Jeff Marx won a Tony Award and a Grammy nomina-            Wilmington Trust. As a gay man who has been out
of CPSOA, Billy has served on the Congressional           tion for co-writing Avenue Q. He is a proud member         and proud for over 30 years, he has experienced and
Arts Committee Advisory Council for Secretary of          of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.                    witnessed first-hand the difficult but extraordinary
Labor Hilda Solis, been awarded the David Chow                                                                       evolution of acceptance, understanding, and support
Humanitarian Award and partnered with the Phil            Christopher Verdugo, GMCLA Executive Director              for the LGBT community globally. In recognition of the
Simon Clinic in Tanzania, Africa, to create social        Christopher Verdugo was introduced to the gay choral       work still to be done to support the current and future
theatre between the students of CPSOA and AIDS            movement at the early age of 18 when he joined the         generations of LGBT youth in living proud and safe lives
orphans in Arusha.                                        Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida. Three years later       in a tolerant world, he is extremely honored to serve
                                                          he was made artistic director of Paragon Productions,      as a producer of the GMCLA’s It Gets Better project.
Steven T. Seagle, Set Designer                            producing theatrical productions for cruise lines and      He dedicates his participation in loving memory of his
Steven T. Seagle is the co-artistic director of           hotels throughout the world. Upon moving to Los            proud gay brother and wonderful man, the late Scott
LA-based Speak Theater Arts and partner in Man Angeles in 2003, he continued his nonprofit career                    Laurus Fisher.
of Action Studios, creators of Cartoon Network’s          with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, devel-
Ben 10 and Generator Rex. Steve is the author             oping its major donor and event departments in the         Matthew Jenner, Producer
of many acclaimed graphic novels, including it’s          Southwest region. In 2006, Chris became the Deputy         Matthew Jenner is one of It Gets Better’s kickstarter
a bird, Solstice, and Kafka. Steve is also is the         Director of Development for Equality California (EQCA)     superstars who helped fund this project in memory of
co-writer and set designer of the nationally touring before going out on his own in early 2009 with Chris            Matthew Shepard.
N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK and also collaborated                Verdugo Presents, a fundraising and event consulting
with the Speak Theater Arts team to create, direct, firm that worked with such notable nonprofit organiza-
and design ArmeniaMania.                                  tions as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Gay
                                                          Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and EQCA, among
Curtis William Foreman, Hair/Makeup Designer              others. In July 2011, he formally joined GMCLA as
As a native of Southern Louisiana, Curtis William Fore- director of development and marketing and most re-
man cultivated a 22-year career steeped in creativity     cently assumed the role of interim executive director.
for makeup and hair design. Finishing hair school at
the age of 18, Curtis moved to New Orleans where          E. Jason Armstrong, GMCLA Artistic Director
he specialized in wig/hair & makeup theatrical design, E. Jason Armstrong recently completed coursework              The It Gets Better Project™ was founded in September
eventually yielding phenomenal success as national        toward a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the USC       2010, when the first it gets better video was uploaded
trainer and platform artist. He moved to Los Angeles      Thornton School of Music, where he conducted the           to YouTube, igniting a worldwide phenomenon. That
in 2003, where he joined GMCLA and became a fea-          USC Thornton Apollo Men’s Chorus and served as             video offered a desperately-needed message of hope
tured soloist and hair/wig/makeup artist for the cho-     assistant conductor for the USC Thornton Concert           to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.
rus. Today, Curtis remains an artistic force in Southern Choir. Prior to his doctoral studies, Mr. Armstrong         It urged them to tough it out through the bullying and
California as a freelance professional in special effects enjoyed a fifteen-year teaching career as direc-           other challenges that confronted them in their teenage
for makeup and wig/hair design.                           tor of choral activities at Eau Gallie High School in      years, and described the positive future they could
                                                          Melbourne, Florida. He developed and maintained a          experience as adults. It told them that no matter how
Phil Hayman, Costume Designer                             highly successful and award-winning choral music           difficult things may be today, it gets better. Today, the
Phil Hayman was born and raised in Lincoln, NE, and program that earned recognition as a Music Demon-                mission of the It Gets Better Project is to communicate
relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 to study at UCLA.        stration School by the Florida Department of Educa-        to LGBT youth around the world that it gets better,
He received a B.A. in Design in 1985 and an M.F.A. in tion. He holds a Master of Music degree in Choral              and to help effect the changes necessary to make it so.
Costume Design in 1987. Since then he has worked          Conducting from the Florida State University and a         The team at the It Gets Better Project is thrilled to col-
steadily in the motion picture and television field as a  Bachelor of Music Education degree from Southwest-         laborate with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles in
costume supervisor. He has worked on shows such           ern Oklahoma State University. His first assignment        bringing the it gets better message to the stage.
as The West Wing, ER and True Blood. He is currently at GMCLA was to conduct the Chorus at a private
working on the television series Sons of Anarchy for      performance for President Barack Obama in West
F/X and Southland for TNT. He joined GMCLA as a           Hollywood. He most recently produced and directed
singing member in 2006 and has designed costumes GMCLA members in a cabaret-style show aboard the
for the chorus productions since 2007. He is proud        Crystal Cruise Serenity, featuring music from film and
to be a part of this production and happy to be able      musical theater.
to share his work with you. Coming from a mid-sized
Midwestern town where he was routinely harassed           Jimmy Nguyen, Creative Producer                            In 1979, AT&T, then PacBell, made a contribution to
as a youth, Philip proves the adage that “It Does Get     Jimmy Nguyen is nationally-recognized as an award-         the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) which
Better.”                                                  winning lawyer, LGBT rights advocate, diversity            allowed the organization to incorporate and begin its
                                                          leader, and new media expert. In addition to practicing    rich tradition of bringing musical excellence to the Los
Mervyn Warren, Lyricist/Composer                          law, Jimmy is a prolific speaker, writer and commenta-     Angeles community. Then and now, AT&T is proud to
Mervyn Warren is a five-time Grammy Award-winner          tor. He has been quoted in national news publica-          support GMCLA and the musical talent and education
and 10-time Grammy nominee who has composed               tions, is a regular contributor to online media outlets,   with which they enrich our community. In 2010, AT&T
underscore and produced, arranged, and written            and has appeared as a contributor to Good Morning          supported GMCLA’s Alive Music Project (AMP), the
songs and lyrics for films such as The Wedding Plan- America and National Public Radio.                              unique education program which reaches thousands
ner, The Preacher’s Wife, A Raisin In The Sun (2008),                                                                of students at L.A.-area schools and colleges. Today,
Living Out Loud, A Walk To Remember, and Sister Act                                                                  AT&T is especially proud to support GMCLA’s It Gets
2. An original member of the vocal sensation Take 6,                                                                 Better – The Theater Tour. This moving and innovative
Mervyn has produced, arranged, and written numer-                                                                    tour will bring the experience and message of the online
ous records for Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston,                                                                       It Gets Better Project™ to new communities and audi-
Queen Latifah, Barbra Streisand, David Foster, Boyz II                                                               ences by blending music, theater, and multimedia into
Men, Michael Bublé, Donna Summer, Chicago, Faith                                                                     a new work for the stage. AT&T’s history of supporting
Hill, and many more. In 2010 he co-produced “We                                                                      GMCLA and other LGBT organizations is long standing
Are The World 25 For Haiti” and recently completed                                                                   and reflects our commitment to serving and celebrating
both underscore and songs for the musical film Joyful                                                                diverse communities. We celebrate GMCLA and wish
Noise, starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.                                                                      them much success with the It Gets Better Tour and
                                                                                                                     their 34th musical season.

    A ren’t we always
    supposed to accept
    others for who they
    are?                                J        ustin Aagberg was a 15-year-old
                                      boy who had just finished his freshman year
                                      of high school in Anoka, Minnesota. On
                                      July 9, 2010 his mother and two brothers
           The turning tide toward    found him dead in his bedroom. Justin had
                                      committed suicide after being bullied at
                 something better     school simply because he was gay. And
                                      Justin wasn’t the only one.
                   By Lani Engstrom       In September of that same year, Billy
                                      Lucas hung himself in his grandmother’s
                                      barn after being called a “fag” at his
                                      high school.
                                          It was then that sex-advice columnist
                                      Dan Savage realized he wouldn’t be able
                                      to reach out to Justin, Billy, or others
                                      who had passed, but he could speak to
                                      numerous other gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
                                      transgendered teenagers and tell them
                                      it gets better. On September 21, 2010
                                      Dan and his partner Terry Miller created
                                      a YouTube channel to inspire, teach, and
                                      reassure these young kids and ultimately
                                      prevent them from ending their lives.
                                          Within one week another 200 LGBT
                                      supporters had posted the same kinds
                                      of videos encouraging the students to
                                      fight through the hard times. Today, the
                                      It Gets Better Project has over 50,000
                                      user-posted videos that have been viewed
                                      over 50 million times. The project has been
                                      endorsed by so many different celebrities
                                      like President Barack Obama, Secretary
                                      of State Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi,
                                      Anne Hathaway, Adam Lambert, Matthew
                                      Morrison, Sarah Silverman, Lady Gaga, the
                                      San Francisco Giants, and so many more.
                                          I have always wondered why gay
                                      rights are such a huge issue in today’s
                                      society. Haven’t we, as Americans, been
                                      pushed to be unique and different our
                                      whole lives? Aren’t we always supposed
                                      to accept others for who they are? This
                                      country has already overcome so many
                                      prejudices, so why is it so difficult for many
                                      to accept gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and
                                      transgendered individuals?

    My support for gay rights began at                The next big stand for LGBT bullying              Still, many are trying to raise awareness
a young age. When I was 11 years old,             came with a little show called Glee. The          and fix the problem. In November of 2011,
I was a part of the children’s chorus in          show follows Kurt Hummel, a gay student           Lady Gaga established an anti-bullying
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor                at McKinley High School where he is yelled        organization called, The Born This Way
Dreamcoat. My whole dance class was in            at, thrown into dumpsters, pushed into            Foundation. Its goal is to promote self-
the production, and I was one of several          lockers and actually crowned the school’s         confidence and prevent harassment in all
of the girls who had a secret crush on the        homecoming queen as a practical joke.             schools. We have recently seen a made for
man who played Benjamin. He was always            Ultimately Kurt decides to transfer schools       television movie based on cyber-bullying
so nice to us kids, while some of the older       when the administration fails to act on his       and E! TV specials where celebrities
people in the cast didn’t even pay attention      behalf. Later we discover the football jock       discuss bullying. I hope as awareness
to us.                                            doing all the bullying is gay himself. Kurt       increases, bullying statistics and suicides
One evening my friend’s mom was driving           and his boyfriend Blaine return to McKinley       continue to decrease.
us to our show and we girls were all talking      to stand up for what they believe in. Kurt’s          With each new improvement, young
about “Benjamin” and how much we liked            character and the show has inspired so            kids are on the road to becoming more
him. All of the sudden our driver stopped         many young people to not feel afraid at           accepted and welcome in their high
the car, turned around, and told us, “You         school anymore and to be confident.               schools and middle schools and It Gets
don’t want to play with THOSE people, they            Next, in March of 2011, President and         Better has been there every step of the
aren’t good people. They sin and love men         First Lady Obama held a conference to             way providing support for all the young
instead of women. Don’t play with them.”          discuss bully prevention. The goal of the         people who see the hatred and prejudice
I remember being so confused and crying           conference was to find options and ways           every single day and want to change it. On
because he wasn’t any different from              to address bullying from a government             October 26, 2010 the Gay Men’s Chorus
anybody else to me. He was kind and funny         standpoint and a non-government view.             of Los Angeles uploaded their version of
and why couldn’t my friend’s mom see              Around 150 students, parents, and                 an “It Gets Better” video, singing “True
that? Of course, I never really understood        teachers were in attendance for the               Colors.”—the beginning of the collaboration
what she meant by it until I got older, but I     discussion. Several months later the state        between the It Gets Better Project and the
will never forget what she said.                  of New Jersey enacted the “Anti-Bullying          Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to create
    It is painful to know that gay, lesbian,      Bill of Rights.” This law was created to          It Gets Better.
bisexual, and transgender students are two        focus on suicide prevention, improving                If you would like to get involved with the
to three times more likely to commit suicide      teacher training, and an incident reporting       It Gets Better Project please go to www.
than their peers. They are also five times        system. Many other states chose to follow to learn more!
more likely to miss school because they           New Jersey’s lead because it was one of
fear their safety.                                the strictest anti-bullying laws passed at                       Lani Engstrom is a UI student
    So what is being done in schools to           that time.                                                                and Hancher intern.
protect LGBT students and stop the                    The United States officially has no
hatred? There have been violent anti-             federal law directly addressing bullying,
gay acts dating back to 1998. It wasn’t           but some cases can pertain to harassment
until 2009 the government began to do             laws. According to, the
something about it. In September of that          U.S. Department of Education and the
year, President Barack Obama formally             U.S. Department of Justice have enforced
enacted the Matthew Shepard and James             laws that schools are required to attend to
Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The         any bullying, teasing, or harassment that
act’s purpose is to protect individuals           is based on race, color, national origin,
against violence based on gender, sexual          religion, sex, or disability. It is interesting
orientation, gender identity, or disability. It   and unfortunate there is no mention of
is named after two young men who were             sexual-orientation. When will it become
brutally beaten to death merely because of        time for our government to address this
their choice in partners.                         epidemic nationally?


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