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We wanted to make work that reflects the commonalities as well as the differences that GLBTQ and straight teenagers experience and to see how they might support each other. Featured work is written by the youth, exploring and, in some cases, poking fun at such topics as gay icons, harassment, romance, and the politics of being gay. The pieces have been presented at St. Margaret of Scotland’s Parish Hall and the Black Cat Theatre, among other locations. (more...)

Biographies


Larenzo Allen (Performer)
Larenzo is a first year student at Southeast Missouri State University where he is majoring in Advertising/Graphic Design, with a minor in Theatre.  This is his second production of pie and it has been an enjoyable one. He’s not gay, but is an ally.  He is participating in this theatre project because it is a worthy cause.

 

 


Jessica Gibson (Stage Manager)
Jessica is currently pursuing her MSW at Washington University in St. Louis.  She is new to Uppity, but not new to the theatre scene, having performed in numerous community and semi-professional theatre productions.  While she enjoys all forms of creative and artistic expression, she especially loves to sing!  Jessica greatly appreciates the opportunity to use artistic media as a means of raising awareness and affecting social change.

 


Alyse Gordon (Performer)
Alyse is 18 years old and just graduate Mehlville High School.  Next fall, she will be attending Missouri Western State University, where she will major in Biology and Health Sciences and minor in both Forensics and Criminal Justice.  This is Alyse’s first year doing Apple Pie and she has really enjoyed the experience.  She hopes this project will further awareness of LGBTQ issues.

 


Tyler Green (Performer)
Tyler is 17 years old and everyone calls him T.  He lives in South City and is transgender female to male. T loves writing plays and poetry and cooking.  When he is at home, he loves to play with his godchild.  T doesn’t attend school or have a job, but instead volunteers at his church’s food pantry three days a week because for the most part, his life is an adventure. 
   

 


Paige Holley (Performer)
Paige is a freshman at Ritenour High School.  She plays in the school orchestra, and in the school’s One Acts, as well as the school’s musical production, “Oklahoma!”  She became interested in this project because it seemed fun and was a good way to help show what it’s like to be growing up LGBTQ, both good and bad.  She likes to read in her spare time, as well as talk to friends.  When she graduates high school, she hopes to go to a university and major in psychology and possibly minor in music.


Eric Kham (Performer)
Eric is 16 years old. Being part of the LGBT community, it makes him happy that plays like As American as Apple Pie exist, to help people to be more aware. Eric hopes to one day pursue acting as a career or become a doctor.

 

 

 


Chris Krug (Performer)
Chris is 17 years old and a junior at Ritenour High School. This is Chris’s third time doing Apple Pie. Chris is involved in other plays such as "The Dating Violence Presentation".  She plans on growing up to be a traveling hippie.

 

 

 


Lee (Performer)
Lee is 18, enjoys swimming, reading, and being outdoors.  Lee is currently in college and plans on getting a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Engineering by May 2010. Lee’s creative/artistic experience involves nerdy things such as designing web pages, making things out of duct tape, and the very creative ways of fixing stuff at work (which usually involves duct tape). Lee really likes this project because it is a new experience, and Lee hopes that we spread awareness of issues that LGBT youth face.


Chrissy Martin (Performer)
Chrissy is a student of life.  Hobbies include photography, painting, acting, singing, dancing and many more.  She got interested in Apple Pie because plays are coming back, and they are one of the most powerful ways to get a point across.  She is also trying to get an acting job to pursue her lifelong dream of being an actor on Broadway.

 

 


Jacqueline Masei (Independent Teaching Artist & Apple Pie Co-director)
Jackie began her career in film and television and has worked as an actress, director and teaching artist for over fifteen years, teaching in the classroom and in the community.  She moved to St. Louis from Phoenix, AZ where she was an actress and Associate Artistic Director of the nationally recognized Playback Theatre Company, Essential Theatre.  Since relocating to Missouri, Jackie has been teaching theatre for social change techniques, Playback Theatre, acting techniques, and improvisation for a variety of organizations including Prison Performing Arts, Stages, Discovering Options, and has worked extensively with That Uppity Theatre Company.  In 2006, she received a Visionary Award from Grand Center, Inc. and is a 2005 Fellow of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis’s Community Arts Training Institute.  This is her second season co-directing Apple Pie.

 


Amy (AJ) Nash (Assistant Stage Manager)
Amy would rather be called AJ.  AJ is a transgender 18 year old who lives in Desoto, MO.  After quitting school, AJ went to Mingo Job Corps to do carpentry.  AJ joined the firefighting team and helped out with Hurricane Katrina in Gulfport, Mississippi.  AJ loves sports.

 

 

 

 


Sarah Shimchick (Co-director of Apple Pie)
Sarah received her B.A. in Psychology from Smith College and MSW from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.  A few of her accomplishments include serving as a counselor at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, serving as a Child Life Intern at the CT Children’s Medical Center, serving as curriculum developer and program manager for a technology program during her service with AmeriCorps*VISTA, and managing a team for an extended learning program in D.C.  Through That Uppity Theatre Company, Sarah has worked on a number of projects including the DisAbility Project, Peace Out!, Diverse Works, the VSAarts Playwright Discovery Program, Rules to Live By, Working, Ten Percent, St. Louis ArtWorks, and Words of Choice, among others.  Sarah is a 2006 Fellow of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis’s Community Arts Training Institute.  This is her third season co-directing Apple Pie.

 


Liam Stansen (Technical Director)
Liam attends Wesleyan University, and will be a sophomore there next year.  He thoroughly enjoys/discovering that he could contribute to Apple Pie. He is not fond of long walks on the beach, because sand gets into his shoes. He does not like sand in his shoes.

 

 

 


Laura Wilson (Performer)
Laura is 17 and a junior at Ritenour High School. This is her first time participating in Apple Pie. However, she feels strongly about the messages that Apple Pie sends and is interested in getting more “sensitive” topics out to a larger audience. She is interested in educating people and hopes to become involved in more projects like this.

 

 


Zegay (Performer)
Formerly known as Dennis Cassidy, Zechariah Ray Whyte, or Zegay, has been living in East St. Louis, IL most of his life.  Zegay has been in the custody of the Department of Children & Family Services and has graduated early from high school at the age of 16.  Now 17 and attending college, he is also the president of the LGBTQ Support in DCFS.  He is a youth advocate and enjoys helping people.  Living in Alton, IL, he has been attending Lewis and Clark to study Web Design and will be transferring to SIUC.  His favorite singers are Omarion and Britney Spears.  People look at Zegay and say that he can’t be gay because of the way he dresses (which is a little thuggish) and the way he talks which he responds with, “I am who I am.  No matter what I wear or do!  I have my own style that I like.”

What we are doing...


Uppity began “Apple Pie” working with GLBTQA youth several years ago, in partnership with Growing American Youth. Our first production premiered at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Subsequent season’s performances have marked a transition as we began to more fully explore partnerships with Gay Straight Alliances in high schools across our area. We wanted to make work that reflects the commonalities as well as the differences that GLBTQ and straight teenagers experience and to see how they might support each other.

Over 300 people packed St. Margaret of Scotland’s Parish Hall to see "As American as Apple Pie: Second Helping", a theatre production featuring original work by GLBTQA youth and techniques from Playback Theatre.

"What appealed to me about the play right away was that it was developed from the lives of the participants,” said Sister Marge O’Gorman, Friendship and Justice Ministry, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish. “Our ministry brings gay and straight people together in a safe place to explore who they are in the church and to receive support and affirmation from one another as Catholics. ‘Apple Pie’ is about the things that we are about as a ministry."

The cast represented a range of area high schools from both Missouri and Illinois, including: Ritenour, Clayton, Whitfield and Lutheran South. Participants said they hoped this would be a stepping stone to a long-term project, bringing together local youth, raising issues of GLBTQA relevance, and providing an opportunity to productively explore through the medium of live performance.

“I wanted to be a part of this project because these are issues that need to be addressed and what better way than through the theatre?” said two-time participant, Chris Krug. “I hope that this helps someone that sees it, no matter what they’re going through.”

During our third season of Apple Pie, we were excited to collaborate with Growing American Youth and, for the first time, the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). In addition to a public performance, participants traveled to Jeff City to perform for NCCJ’s Anytown anti-oppression training for faculty and high school participants. We performed to sold-out houses at the Black Cat Theatre.

We are grateful to the Regional Arts Commission and the Roblee Foundation for their help in supporting this important work.

Rave Reviews


It was an absolute pleasure to see Apple Pie.  What a remarkable group of young people.   I was impressed with their writing work and you have a couple of especially talented performers as well.  It was also, I thought, impeccably directed.

Elizabeth A. Pickard
Gallery/Theatre Program Coordinator
Missouri History Museum


Seeing Apple Pie reminded me of the AIDS activism mantra: Silence Equals Death. Many audience members said they had no idea that LGBT, questioning, and allied youth are experiencing such intense bullying, such depression, such anger. Certainly Apple Pie blew the lid of secrecy off suicide attempts by the youth in our community. Now that we know, what is our responsibility as parents, friends, members of faith communities, social justice advocates, voters?

Uppity Theatre, GAY, and NCCJ, I'm so glad you were there for these youths. I think you may have saved some lives by allowing stories to be vented through creative means and supplying a network of support.

Jeanette Mott Oxford
State Representative, D-59


It was powerful, moving, funny and very entertaining.  The youth involved showed courage, commitment and considerable talent and were both interesting and inspiring.  I look forward to seeing continued work with this project.  I think Sarah and Jackie did an excellent job, and it seemed clear that it was both a very challenging and rewarding experience for all involved.  I really enjoyed the performance.

Lynn Maupin
Director of Constituent Relations
St. Louis Regional Arts Commission

 

KUDOS AND THANK YOU for doing this play! I have a daughter who is a lesbian and if there had been more of this done when she was younger (she is now 40) maybe her life would have been easier as a teen. But, of course this is St Louis, so who knows! LOL!

Thanks and admiration,
Carolyn Mur 


I know the audience was transfixed and transformed by seeing the lives of gay and transgendered youth so honestly and poignantly portrayed.  And it was also clear that these youth were transformed by participating in "Apple Pie", giving form and expression to their often unspoken experiences.  "As American as Apple Pie" is a remarkable achievement that should be seen by many more people.  No one can walk away from the performance untouched or unmoved.  It demonstrates the power of art to tell us who we are and who we can become.

Having seen all three editions over the last three years, I have watched some of the youth mature and develop into very expressive performers, fully comfortable on stage.  I would not have expected such growth as they gave very polished performances.  This theater piece has such potential to open minds and open hearts.  I hope the group has more opportunities to share their lives and their stories in future performances.

Dean Rosen,   St. Louis PFLAG       


I'm honored to know you because I commend your work with the adolescent gay/lesbian group. I wish someone like you would have been there for me to help guide me as a role model.

Love,
Scott


Life is not sweet and simple as 'apple pie' for youth who identify as non heterosexual.  In the production  "American As Apple Pie " I cried and laughed, my mouth fell open in admiration, hearing the stories of abandonment, betrayal, love and ambition as the cast, who also wrote the script, carried us into microcosms of their difficult lives.  I witnessed enablement into power that a supportively questioning group connection can provide. I feel grateful seeing standards of humanism, feminism and civitas carry these kids to action. Brava! Bravo!

The kids [of Apple Pie] felt to me like hope itself just being there within that room.  So many of these kids, whether because of being pushed into outsidership or otherwise, are so loving. They have a lot to teach. This vehicle showcased the reality of their love as well as the pain.    

Best regards,
Claire Medol Hyman

Producer's Notes


Welcome to the third incarnation of “As American As Apple Pie: Deep Dish Version.” It’s hard to believe that we have been working on this project for three seasons, but the need is clearly there. Apple Pie is the only project in the greater St. Louis Area that provides support, mentoring, and space for LGBT youth to find community and share their stories through the wonderful alchemy of performance.

There are a lot of exciting changes this time around. In addition to continuing our partnership with Growing American Youth, we are now collaborating with the National Conference for Community and Justice to bring our performances to Anytown, an anti-bias training institute to help empower high school students to be change agents in their own communities. You’ll also notice that we have branched out to include a wider variety of creative genres, including spoken word, lip syncing, film, and online submissions. And how about this gorgeous venue? We are very pleased to be in residence at the new Black Cat Theatre this year.

Also unique to this season is an increased focus on adult-youth partnership. We truly have asked the participants to help us to identify how we can best meet their needs. Several expressed interest in directing pieces. Our logo was designed by Chris Krug, an ensemble member returning for the third time, and we were assisted in our conversations by former Growing American Youth member, and current Anytown facilitator, Iris Jacob. So as much as possible, we tried to encourage and support this project to be youth driven.

We are calling this piece the “Deep Dish Version” because the issues for our LGBT youth continue to deepen. In addition to the perennial issues of coming out, bullying and dating, there are a number of new issues on our plates. Several of this year’s cast identify as transgender. Some of our participants come from loving and supportive homes, others feel abused or abandoned. And one of our cast members, a minor, is actually a ward of the state.

When you add all this into the mix, it makes for a deep dish, indeed. But regardless of the many challenges we have faced in facilitating this project, co-directors Jackie Masei and Sarah Shimchick have given of their time, creativity, and experience with great dedication and love for our youth.

I am also grateful for the collegiality and wisdom of our partners this year under the experienced leadership of Charisse Jackson of the National Conference of Community and Justice and Scott Emanuel of Growing American Youth. All of us are committed doing whatever we can to support not only our youth’s teenage years, but their safe passage into adulthood. Above all, we salute our youth who are sharing their lives openly and honestly here and who stuck with this project through the tumultuous changes in schedule that so typify the lives of teenagers.

Thank you for coming. Please look and listen deeply to our youth. They are you and me, and they are our future.

Joan Lipkin
Artistic Director, That Uppity Theatre Company

That Uppity Theatre Company • 4466 West Pine Boulevard, Suite 13C • Saint Louis, MO 63108
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