With the Mardi Gras festival only six months away, performer Trevor Ashley believes there’s one show that is an essential for the 30th celebration of the iconic Sydney event.

That show is Torch Song Trilogy, which Ashley believes remains as relevant to a modern audience as it was when it opened in New York in 1982 and Sydney in 1984.

That’s why Ashley, who is currently starring in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, is attempting to stage a new production of the play as one of the star attractions of the Mardi Gras 30 festival.

Ashley will not only be co-producer of the planned production, but will also take the lead role of drag queen Arnold. Amanda Muggleton has been confirmed as his domineering mother.

Now all Ashley needs is to confirm the finances for the production, and a definite date can be set.

“I think we have an 80 percent chance of getting this up,” he said. “The only thing holding it back is getting some more money in, but I do think it will happen.

“It is now a matter of waiting and seeing. Mardi Gras knows we are trying to get this, but it’s a matter of trying to sort out those last few things.

Torch Song Trilogy was written by and starred Harvey Fierstein and tells the story of Arnold, a drag queen looking for love, who also lives in constant battle with his mother.

It won Tony Awards as Best Play and Best Actor for Fierstein, and ran for three years. Its success continued when Tony Sheldon starred in the Australian production, which ran for two years. The movie version was made in 1988, starring Fierstein, Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick. It remains one of the best-loved gay movies of all time.

Ashley believes the play’s themes are as relevant today as they were when Torch Song Trilogy was written 25 years ago.

“The relevance of the play is huge, as the issues it puts forward of a gay man wanting a secure relationship and to adopt a child, and to have his mother acknowledge those things, still speaks loudly,” he said.

“The argument that the mother keeps putting forward that being gay is just not the same as being straight is, sadly, the same argument we still face with a government that won’t offer the same recognition for our relationships.

“People who love the film will love the play, although the play is very different as it is a trilogy and you get three plays in the one night. But if we do our jobs right, I think audiences will love this.”

Anyone interested in becoming involved in producing this new production of Torch Song Trilogy should contact Michael Huxley on mxhuxley@marianst.com.au.

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