OUT ON THE BAYOU
DECEMBER 24,1999 • HOUSTON VOICE
>■ Continued from page 15
School of the Performing and Visual Arts and
the University of Houston, ever since.
Hope is a frequent feature in the Houston
theater scene, and he is currently adding holiday cheer to "A Christmas Carol, A Ghost
Story of Christmas" with his giddy characterization of Scrooge's first employer, Fezziwig.
He's also been the valet Bennett in
"Travesties," delivering a show-stopping
three-page monologue on the slippery course
of Russian revolutionary theory. In the farce
"Noises Off," his split-second antics were in
league with the best of Carol Burnett.
Hope also has done the memorable role of
John Barrymore in "I Hate Hamlet." With the
larger-than-life presence of a silent film star,
and the matinee idol looks of the "great
Profile" himself, Hope was Barrymore.
In addition to his Alley performances,
Hope brought the South alive again while
dancing with Juliet Prowse in the touring
company of "Mame," barged down the
Mississippi in "Showboat," shot bulls-eyes in
"Annie Get Your Gun," looked properly sanctimonious in nun drag in "Execution of
Justice," and removed Ms clothes for "Love!
"Talk about a motivator," Hope said of sans
clothes appearance in "Love! Valour!
Compassion!" "I had gotten in the best shape
of my life. We should all have to be naked on
stage all the time. I lost 30 pounds and lived at
the gym and tanning salon.
"Before the Second Act, you'd see us doing
crunches in the wings and pushups and
lunges. Boobs, butt, and abs; boobs, butt, and
abs," he said.
Hope did manage to get a date out of all that
physical exertion, but it didn't turn out well—
he started off the evening disparaging Hope's
car and, not too much later, his income.
But being single is just another role to
master, Hope said.
"That's when I came to the hypothesis that
actors are caught in the middle where dating
is concerned. I think this may be particularly
true in the gay community, but I would like to
think it's not. But if we meet somebody who's
into the arts, and is well read, and witty and
fun, and loves what we do, and we're on the
same page, chances are, if they're not another
actor, they're so A-list, they don't want to date
an actor, it's like, they're fun for a dinner party,
but I don't want to marry one," he said.
After a quick glance out the window over
Bayou Place, Hope puts another spin on his
dating theory, wondering if some people
don't want to date actors because of the hours
they work—they're often working when others are getting off and heading home.
"That narrows it down to bartenders,
drunks, pushers and hustlers," he said before
a brief pause and a burst of laughter.
"Well, I guess there are worse things,"
He concedes that one had better be a theater junkie if dating an actor.
"And, we don't have a large pool of gay
actors in town. Or, if that's the case, they're
taken and are in lovely relationships ... the
fuckers," Hope said with a laugh.
"There are all of the frustrations of being a
gay actor in Houston, which are probably not
much different from being an actor. It's a good
essay. Maybe it just needs more thought."
In a fit of desperation, Hope has tried personal ads in newspapers.
"First, I'm going to find out if there are any
people out there in the audience who've wondered if I was datable, so I've got to make this
ad obvious to those who know who this is,"
So he included this phrase: "Appreciation
of Victoria de los Angeles and Irene Dunne
not required, but advisable."
The ad received no response, so he changed
the reference to Maria Callas and Geraldine
Page. Two dates came from that one, ending
his attempts with personal ads.
"What's interesting about working at the
Alley is that there are fewer gay actors in
'straight' dramas than one might think. Right
now, I'm sharing a dressing room with two
other Friends of Dorothy, and it's so refreshing. The ruby slippers are all lined up. I'll play
show tunes and opera, scented candles, male
nudes. You can always know it's my dressing
room: smells good, looks good, sounds
good," Hope said.
Is there a downside to his current show, "A
"What's really bad about this show is that
there's no time to cruise the audience. We're
always so busy and in motion, we can't check
out who's out there," he said.
Casing the house is a time-honored theatrical tradition, and Hope says he relishes it,
except when a complex script requires concentration.
"In 'Gross Indecency/ my brain was bleed-
Paul Hope, a fixture on the Houston theater
scene, appears in Alley Theatre's "A Christmas
Carol' through Dec 20.
about known gay actors playing straight characters, than there are about straight people
playing gay. But, no, I haven't found much of
a challenge or obstacle where that's concerned," Hope added.
A Christmas Carol, A Ghost
Story of Christmas
Through Dec. 30
615 Texas Ave.
Tickets to $49
Gay Men's Chorus of Houston
Dr. J. David Faber, Artistic Director
\^Q \T is just the beginning! The
1 LUXV year 20(H) has got us
busy preparing Spring and Pride
concerts, hosting Schola
Cantorosa, the Gay Men's
Chorus of Hamburg,
Germany for a special July
performance, and putting
together a smashing
concert set for GALA
Consider joining the Gay Men's
Chorus of Houston. Whether you
sing, dance, play an instrument, or use a
computer, you can be a valuable part of the
chorus. If you have a flair for organizing, you can help us
coordinate with our German friends.
Rehearsals are every Thursday at 7 p.m.
beginning January 6, 2000
at Grace Lutheran Church, 2515 Waugh Drive
(at Missouri Street; parking lot is on Missouri)
On the Internet, visit us at http://www.gmch.org
= Our Voices.. Entertain, (hange Lives, Win Freedom
The Gay Men's Chorus oi Houston is a 501tcM3) non-profit organization.
WINNER Best Director 1999 Cannes Film Festival
BEST PICTURE BEST ACTRESS 1999 European Film Award Nominees
"THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR!"
-Richard Corliss, TIME MAGAZINE (International)
"MARVELOUS! ALMODOVAR'S BEST FILM BY FAR!"
-Janet Maslin, THE NEW YORK TIMES
"AN ABSOLUTE STUNNER!"
-Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE
A film by.
RIVER OAKS starts Wednesday, December 22
2009 w. Gray St-(713) 524-2175 Call Theatre lor Showlimes