1977 was a risky time for a play about fighting back against gay bashing. But that didn’t stop Allan B. Estes.

To pull off Doric Wilson's play, “The West Street Gang,” Estes had to work with what was available — and in the '70s, that wasn't much.

Estes was a playwright and a young gay man living in a time when politicians like Anita Bryant openly insulted gay folks and violence against LGBTQ people was all too common. The world wasn’t exactly welcoming his vision for a creative space for queer people.

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On the surface, "Walking to Buchenwald" is a quirky, comedic play about the typical drama surrounding a family trip. But a closer look reveals an exploration into gender, love, and what it means to be an American.

The show, presented by the Open Fist Theatre Company in Los Angeles, follows soon-to-be married couple Schiller and Arjay as they take Schiller's aging parents on their first trip to Europe. Based on a real trip the playwright, Tom Jacobson, took with his family, the provocative comedy touches on hot-button topics like politics, gender, marriage, and what it's like to be an American abroad when the president of the United States is pretty unpopular.

Christopher Cappiello, Justin Huen, Ben Martin, and Laura James. Photo by Darrett Sanders.

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What happens to those massive gorgeous painted theater backdrops when a show ends?

Jen Kahn who has been a stage manager on and off Broadway for years, never gave a second thought to what happened to the stage scenery when a show ended until a road trip in 2015. She and her friend wandered into a store selling bags made from old sails from sailboats when inspiration struck.

They could do the same thing with discarded theater backdrops.

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A theater teacher played 'Hamilton' for a group of inmates. Their reaction was priceless.

These men are prisoners. But in 'Hamilton,' they saw themselves on stage.

I work with a group of men who aren’t used to seeing themselves in the narrative unless they’re portrayed as villains.

These men are prisoners. They understand that much of America thinks they’re monsters who deserve to be locked in cages. They are the bastard, orphan sons of … every kind of woman you can imagine. They are also beloved sons and husbands and part of close families who come to visit them every week.


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