Serious Parodies

Merging Laughter, Tradition, and Talent.


Heather Sejnow

No surprise this hip drag/parody/gay theatre company in Detroit started off in life with a slightly provocative name,  Who Wants Cake? But when co-owners Jamie Warrow, Joe Bailey, and Joe Plambeck got ready to serve up the action about seven years ago, they realized a lot of people might think they were a bakery.

Settling for a more astute name, The Ringwald, the troupe quickly set the tone of its work with a hilarious parody called Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy with Bailey playing the Glenn Close role.  Since then they've stayed true to their satire roots with the all-male Facts of Life: The Lost EpisodeThank You for Being a Friend (The unauthorized Golden Girls Musical), and Mommie Queerest.

But it's not all about humor.  The Ringwald has also put on critically-acclaimed productions of the Pulitzer prize-winning August: Osage CountyMercury Fur, The Submission, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Southern Baptist Sissies, and The Motherfucker With the Hat

"We produce work that will blur the lines between race, income, religion, and sexuality," says Bailey.  "We're really dedicated to providing a creative environment for local artists to produce works that challenge, confront, and entertain."

This summer marks the fifth year of the troupe's annual Gay Play Series (GPS), a festival showcasing a number of scripts selected by the board members from a pool collected over a many  months. The criteria for the script is thirty minutes, "and  that it has a gay sensibility."  Once scripts are selected, directors are chosen and they are then in charge of casting and rehearsing their plays, which are  performed several  times over the festival (this year being held June 20-28th).  After watching the selected scripts, audiences vote on their favorite actor, actress, director, and script, and then the awards are announced during the closing night ceremonies.

While the owners acknowledge audiences really do enjoy seeing the troupe put men in dresses, the theatre is not one to pigeon hole itself into being only one thing, so each season is approached with a fresh vision and a potpourri of styles and genres. Whether its men in stilettos or actors reciting Pulitzer prize winning lines, the folks at the Ringwald want to tell you stories, and share in the experience of live theatre with open and enthusiastic audiences who are looking for something a little different.

For more info on the summer festivities, check out

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