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...)
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 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 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
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 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
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
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 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
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...
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
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
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
We are grateful to the Regional Arts Commission and the Roblee
Foundation for their help in supporting this important work.
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
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.
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,
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.
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
witnessed enablement into power that a supportively questioning group
connection can provide. I feel grateful seeing standards
feminism and civitas carry these kids to action. Brava!
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.
Claire Medol Hyman
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.
Artistic Director, That Uppity Theatre Company