Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moscone's Gay Son's Hit Dramedy
Delves into Grief After City Hall Murders

(Playwright Tony Taccone, director Jonathan Moscone and actor Christopher Liam Moore. Credit: Catherine Bigelow, SF Chronicle.)

For quite some time, the name Jonathan Moscone meant only one thing to me: theater director. Whenever I saw his name in ads for plays, I wondered if he was related to slain San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Reading his bio in a show bill, we learned he is the son of the late mayor.

Jonathan in recent years has opened up publicly about the tragic loss of his father and Harvey Milk, and being gay, but his personal history and role as a leading theatrical luminary never seemed to join together - until now.

He's collaborated with other dramatic artists to create play that delves into the grieving he went through after his father's senseless murder, and the SF Chronicle's society editor Catherine Bigelow was at the play's premiere and filed this report:

As a sold-out Oregon Shakespeare Festival crowd broke into a standing ovation after the "Ghost Light" premiere July 2, cheers rose again when the authors were spotted in their midst.

Realizing that his cover was blown, a haunted look descended upon CalShakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, who bolted for the lobby as if chased by a ghost. ...

Written by Berkeley Rep Artistic Director Tony Taccone and directed by Moscone, "Ghost Light" is a co-production between Berkeley Rep and Oregon Shakespeare Festival ...

Taccone's first play is a heart-rending yet comedic meditation on Moscone's years of stifled grief after the 1978 City Hall assassination of his father, former Mayor George Moscone.

The play's kernel finally popped in 2008 when Moscone served as a consultant on "Milk," the Gus Van Sant film that Moscone felt reduced his father's life and civic contributions to mere asterisks.

"If Sean Penn and [Gus] Van Sant could make a story about somebody they didn't even know, I could make a story about somebody I knew really well," he said. "It wouldn't be the equivalent, it wouldn't be in the same medium, and it wouldn't be the same kind of story. But I had the capacity to do it just as much, if not more so, than somebody else.

"And I no longer need to remain private about my father's death," he continued. "Which is what I've done for the last 33 years." ...

The full Chronicle piece is worth a read. "Ghost Light" comes to the Berkeley Repertory in January, and we'll be sure to catch it. With this creative team behind it, "Ghost Light" is sure to be an excellent drama mounted with a beautiful production and terrific acting. I can't wait to enjoy its pleasures.

1 comment:

Jerry Pritikin said...

I always felt that the Gay Rights movement had 3 stages in the 1970's, first when George Moscone was elected in 1975, then Anita Bryant in 1977, and with the election of Harvey Milk in 1977.

I was active in the San Francisco gay politics and sports throughOUT the 1970's, and knew both Harvey and George as friends. Prior to, during and after George was elected Mayor, he was seen with all segments of the gay community at many gay events. His first appointment for his administration was Harvey Milk, for the Board of Permits. I HONESTLY BELIEVE, THAT IT WAS A MISTAKE NOT TO HONOR MAYOR MOSCONE AT THE SAME TIME THAT HARVEY MILK DAY WAS BEING FORMULATED AND SHARE THE HOLIDAY TOGETHER. I often wondered "what if?" had JFK,MLK and RFK had lived,
but they were on the National scene. I too wondered that about Harvey and George. Of course we'll never know. It's time to remember George Moscone, who was a friend to all the communities found in San Francisco, but feel the gay community has overlooked his contributions for them and the city.