When Margaret Evans’ musically-gifted daughter Laura is awarded a scholarship to a prestigious university, it seems like a dream come true. But when Laura falls in love at school – with a girl – that dream is threatened. Inspired by historical events, Sonata 1962 is a heartbreakingly beautiful chamber musical about the length to which a mother will go to save her daughter in a time when same-sex desire was viewed as both criminal and curable.
Previously presented as readings at San Diego’s Breakthrough Workshop Theatre and at The Celebration Theater in Los Angeles in 2017, Sonata 1962 aims to bring to light the story shared by many LGBTQ people who experienced medical “treatments” designed to suppress their same-sex desires in the years in which homosexuality was categorized as a mental illnesses. Such brutal medical interventions are the precursors to today’s conversion therapies.
The concept for Sonata 1962 grew out of interviews Mr. Hodges and Ms. Loughrey conducted during the creative process for their critically acclaimed documentary style ensemble play about the life and impact of Harvey Milk, Dear Harvey.
“While interviewing members of the LGBTQ community for Dear Harvey, we became aware of the prevalence of the disturbing practice of non-consensual conversion therapy,” says Hodges. “We started hearing devastating stories about parents, families committing their children, family members for treatment and wondered what that journey was like for everyone involved,” he explains.
Loughrey adds, “Conversion therapy continues to be legal in 41 states today. We need to examine this practice – the emotional and psychological impact on those who go through it, and on their families and loved ones. Art is one of the ways we can advance this vital conversation.”
Sonata 1962, featuring direction by Katherine M. Carter, will star Becca Ayers (The Addams Family), Romelda Teron Benjamin (Brooklyn), AnnEliza Canning-Skinner, Christina Maxwell, Aaron Ramey (The Bridges of Madison County, The Visit), and Laura Yen Solito (Kismit at NY City Center).