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‘Most Fabulous Story’ at Straz takes updated look at the Bible


Published:   |   Updated: June 5, 2014 at 06:24 PM

Inspired by an anti-gay slogan from the 1970s, playwright Paul Rudnick reimagined some highlights from the Bible in his satire, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.”

The inspiration came from a Houston rally protest sign that said “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” The late evangelist Jerry Falwell gave the phrase wider exposure in the late 1970s.

In Rudnick’s take on the Bible, God is a stage manager who directs Adam and Steve, along with the first lesbians, Jane and Mabel, through history from the Garden of Eden to modern day New York. These two gay couples encounter various characters, including gay animals on Noah’s ark, a lesbian rabbi and a flamboyant pharaoh who proclaims that he is God.

Opening tonight at the m.a.d. Theatre of Tampa, the comedy explores religion, history, faith, love and politics. “It’s a satire that pokes fun at people’s views on these topics,” says m.a.d. spokesman Anthony Gilkinson.

The play runs through June 22 in the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center in Tampa.

Although religious groups protested the play when it debuted, it had a commercial run off Broadway in 1998 and has been produced many times since in regional theaters.

Director Clareann Despain oversees a diverse cast of actors that includes Mab Fitterman as the stage manager; Tyler Harrison Wood as Adam; Topher Warren as Steve; Kari Gunderson as Jane and Amanda Zappia as Mabel. Also in the cast are Oliver Sprague, Pablo Alameda, Marisa Johnson, Susan Belliveau, Hippie Griswold and Misha Keith.

The m.a.d Theatre of Tampa is a resident theatre company at the Straz Center whose goal is “producing shows that make you laugh and think, while honoring diversity in our shows by inviting the culturally expanding community to celebrate their talent on the stage or to be a member of the audience. “

This is the first non-musical production for m.a.d. Recent successes include award-winning productions of “Bare: A Pop Opera, Nunsense A-Men!,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and the sold-out run of “Avenue Q: The Musical.”

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