Frank Anthony Polito went to New York City to be an actor, but his stories about growing up gay in 1980s suburban Detroit caught the imagination of his theater peers.
That led him to write a play, “John R,” which became a novel, “Band Fags,” which spawned a sequel novel, “Drama Queers.”
Polito's revised version of the play, also titled “Band Fags,” opens tonight at SNAP/Shelterbelt. It's the coming-of-age story of best pals in high school whose relationship is affected by how and when each decides to embrace his sexual identity.
Polito said he wanted the play to be about having a friend you love but are not in love with.
“It's fun, it's the 1980s, with lots of pop culture references,” he said of “Band Fags.” “It's a little time machine for that period, and I carefully chose 1980s songs for the end of every scene that reflect the story.”
Now 41, Polito said he's still friends with John R., and they still have fun whenever Polito finds himself back in Hazel Park, Mich.
While earning his master's degree in playwriting at Carnegie Mellon, Polito wrote “Another Day on Willow Street,” which was part of the NYC Fringe Festival in 2007. He self-published a third novel, “Lost in the '90s,” in April.
The version of “Band Fags” opening in Omaha is a world premiere. Polito hoped to stage the revised play at Fringe Festival, but it didn't make the cut.
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