Chiffon Dior: Good morning Marc! Thanks for making some time to talk with me this morning. How are you doing today my dear?
Marc Singer: Hi Chiffon! Thank you so much for talking with me! I’m very excited to get to chat about Alice!
CD: Please, I’m excited when ANYONE wants to talk with me! And I’m excited about your play. Now if I’m not mistaken, the one and only Dusty Ray Bottoms cryptically teased this play a few months back during my interview with her. I guess we can say you’re vaguely familiar with Dusty?
MS: Dusty? Yeah, I’m vaguely familiar with her work. (Editor’s note: Marc is Dusty boyfriend)
CD: Ha! So tell us a little bit about your new play Alice Is Burning. Where did this idea germinate from?
MS: Well, this whole show and how it came about is actually really funny. And very lucky. It all started with my boyfriend, Dusty, doing the competition So You Think You Can Drag? In the finale, he did this really amazing number, Peach Plum Pear.
It was a really amazing moment. It’s something that definitely affected everyone that was watching. And some of those people happened to work for a theater company, and they were interested in doing some sort of production of Alice in Wonderland with Dusty as Alice. A few months after that, I submitted a different work to this new theater company, Open Bar Theatricals. They called me in, and we got to talking, and they said that they liked my writing and they had this show called Alice is Burning that they wanted to create, but they didn’t have a writer. And it just so happened to be the same people that approached Dusty. So it was a really great happenstance.
CD: So were you two a package deal from the start of this project?
MS: We we’re both asked onto it separately. They didn’t know I was Dusty’s boyfriend when they called me in. So it just feels like a very lucky experience to have.
CD: So this wasn’t like when Tori Spelling got cast in a lead on her daddy’s new Beverly Hills 90210 show? (Editor’s Note: Can you date yourself ANY more Chiffon? Geez.)
MS: *Laughs* Not at all! In fact, I think that everyone is going to be very surprised when they see it. I don’t think it’s exactly what you may expect.
CD: That’s good. You never want to be compared to Tori Spelling. So can you tell us a little bit about the story of the play without spoiling it?
MS: Absolutely! It’s a new show inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The play starts with a young white man, Alice, sitting in her room, applying makeup and fitting clothes. When a man walks in and finds what Alice is doing, he throws her out on the Street. The play follows Alice as she searches for a sense of home and to grasp her own identity. But in the midst of her own struggle to fit in, she learns some hard lessons about race, respect, entitlement, and empowerment when she finds herself in the heart of a fabulous ball, echoing the famous Paris is Burning.
CD: So wait, its not about a girl named Alice who has Chlamydia? I’m sorry, my notes for this interview are ALL wrong!
MS: Hahaha! Well that was the original script, but we decided to go with something a bit more lighthearted.
CD: In all seriousness though, the fabulous Dusty Ray Bottoms is playing the lead and you have some other faces that are familiar to fans of the NYC drag scene as well. Was that a conscious decision to go with so many queens in the cast? And for that matter, will they actually be in face for the play or will they be….*GASP*…boys?
MS: We do have some incredibly fierce talent in the show right now. Dusty, of course, was intentional. She was very much an inspiration for Alice. We are also fortunate enough to have Alexis Michelle, Jada Valenciaga, Tammy Spénks and Monet X Change. As we both know, they’re all amazing drag queens. So that is of course very enticing and definitely played in our minds. But while this is a show with a lot of performance power in it, our focus right now was the script. So the girls all auditioned like everyone else, and they all slayed. They were all as fantastic as you would hope they’d be! And it’s just worked out really wonderfully. And as far as Tuesday’s showing, we’re going to have a lot of beautiful boy beats! But it is theatre so there is always an illusion!
CD: Like the illusion I have a semblance of a waist. I totally get it. So let’s talk about you for a bit Marc, shall we? Where are you from originally?
MS: Born and raised on Long Island!
CD: Was your background in playwriting?
MS: I don’t. I studied acting in school. And that’s what I was really hustling towards. But about a year ago, I decided I wanted to submit something to this fellowship program that I saw posted on playbill. I hadn’t acted in anything in a while, so I thought I’d give it a shot. And that’s when I got called in about Alice.
CD: Was that an easy transition for you to make?
MS: Absolutely not. I knew that I had always had a knack for writing. But I had never written a script before. And that is a very specific type of discipline. And while I felt that I had all of this training behind me, I didn’t have any specific experience or mentors in this area. The hardest bit about it being that once I realized how important this story had become, I felt a very strong responsibility to do it justice. So there were definitely moments of me on the couch breathing into a paper bag.
CD: If I’m not mistaken, that is an important part of the creative process. So when you talk about a responsibility to do the story justice, when do you finally know it was done, that is was complete?
MS: Well, I’ve been working on this show for a year, and it has definitely changed form a few times. There are some pretty sensitive issues that are addressed, and it was very important to me that they be addressed very openly and honestly. This current reading that we’re working on is for developmental purposes. So through this we’ll be able to see if we can take anything further or if there is anything that we’ve left out. But as for right now, everyone involved is very excited with the direction it is moving in.
CD: And now this coming Tuesday, you have first ever live reading of the play correct?
MS: That’s right! I’m so excited. This is the first time I’ve even heard the play done with a full cast. And it has really come together. It’s great for something that you’ve spent a year working on to actually sound like a show. And I am so excited to finally get share this story with a few people, and see how people react to it, and get to work on the next stage of this piece.
CD: Assuming people respond well to this reading, what is the next step for you in getting this out there?
MS: As I mentioned before, the company producing the reading is Open Bar Theatricals. Their Artistic Director, EJ Marotta, who is also the director of this reading, has been the Alice advocate from day one. He’s the one that saw Dusty’s performance and wanted to make a show happen. There is a lot of passion behind the show right now for all of us involved. So we will be working diligently to make a longer public production happen as soon as we can. We’re hoping to get some good feedback on Tuesday that really helps us fine tune the show and make sure it’s ready for all of you to see in the very near future! Which seems to be a big possibility at the moment.
CD: Peering way ahead into the future, assuming this all goes well, would you want to get involved in writing another play or is this experience enough for you?
MS: Let’s all keep assuming this goes well and hope for the best! *Laughs* This has been a really amazing experience for me. I have learned so much, and really come to love a form of expression I hadn’t explored before. I’ve actually started writing another play, but more to come about that .
CD: Well Marc, I wish you and the whole crew at Alice Is Burning the best of luck this Tuesday and going forward. For people who want to keep abreast of this project, what is the best way for them to do so?
MS: Thank you Chiffon! It was a pleasure! To keep up with Alice Is Burning, go to OpenBarTheatricals.com, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Keep an eye on the hashtag #AliceIsBurning. And you can find myself and Dusty on Instagram and @SirMarcSinger and @DustyRayBottoms.
CD: Perfect, do you have any final words of wisdom to leave with today Marc?
MS: Surround yourself with good people and good things will happen. And look for the love.