Tony Marinelli, TheatreScene.net
Communion is a one man show about a gay Catholic school teacher who is fired when the church discovers that he married a man. His termination causes a crisis of faith, not only for himself, but for his entire community. The play is based on the real life story of Broadway actor and playwright Matthew LaBanca. Communion spotlights themes of delusion, spiritual trauma, and hope, reminding those who would use religion to discriminate against LGBTQ people that the most basic tenet of a spiritual life is that we are called to love one another.
Matthew LaBanca's termination as a gay musician in the Catholic church inspired Communion. It also sparked a media frenzy.
Click the link below to see articles and interviews in the NY Times, Daily News, 1010 WINS, Inside Edition, and more.
Aside from sharing my own personal story, I wrote Communion because LGBTQ people deserve to be treated with equity by a church that indoctrinates them from birth. They deserve to fully know the joy of loving and being loved, as God made them, without judgement or condemnation.
Matthew LaBanca is an actor and playwright living in New York City. He made his Broadway debut with Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein, covering the title role and stepping in during previews, garnering great acclaim. He has since appeared on Broadway in White Christmas and the more recently, in the 2019 Tony Award winning Broadway play A Christmas Carol. Matthew's self-penned solo show Good Enough performed to sold out audiences Off Broadway at the United Solo Theatre Festival, winning the Best Musical Award of the Festival.
Two years ago, Matthew LaBanca was fired from his Catholic school teaching job for marrying his husband. A Broadway actor, Matthew wrote Communion to inspire those with authority to reconsider the needless pain inflicted by religious discrimination.
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Author & Performer
Matthew performed on Broadway in the original companies of Young Frankenstein, White Christmas, and A Christmas Carol. His solo show Good Enough played Off Broadway at the United Solo Festival, winning the festival's Best Musical Award in 2014. Matthew’s TV credits include Broad City, Live from Lincoln Center, and the upcoming season of Severance on Apple+.
Matthew’s controversial termination from the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2021 led to a media firestorm, and is the inspiration for his new solo show, Communion.
Kira Simring is the Artistic Director of Nancy Manocherian's the cell theatre in NYC, where she has developed and directed new works since 2006. Directing credits include the world premieres of The Women Who Rode Away by Natalia Zukerman (the cell and off the WALL), Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom (Irish Rep), Crackskull Row by Honor Molloy (New York Times Critics’ Pick) and Hard Times: An American Musical by Larry Kirwan (New York Times Critics’ Pick). Kira is a three-time Origin Theatre 1st Irish Award Winner for Best Director.
Sound / Production
Julianne works in NYC as a professional Music Director, Pianist, and Electronic Music Engineer. On Broadway, she can be found on the podium as a substitute conductor or keyboard player, as well as a designer of pit playback technologies: aka "PatchMaster." Keyboard Programmer for Broadway's A Strange Loop, Playback Engineer for Broadway's Some Like it Hot. Also Broadway's Harmony and How to Dance in Ohio. A recent graduate and now professor of Live Music Production and Design and Writing and Design for Musical Theatre at Berklee NYC.
Off-Broadway: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (Irish Repertory), Dogs of Rwanda, A Deal (Urban Stages), The Jury, Powerline Road (TheatreNowNY), Musical of Musicals, Me & Ella (York Theatre). Broadway: Associate/Assistant: Here Lies Love (Animator, , Peter Nigrini, designer) Dear Evan Hansen (Understudies Assistant Editor, Broadway, West End, U.S. Tour, Peter Nigrini, deisgner).
-Jed Ryan, LavendarAfterDark.com
Watch the Full Trailer for Communion.
GLAAD's Ross Murray calls Matthew a Minister in a post show talkback, Sept 24, 2023.
Michael Califano was fired by the Diocese of Rockville Center from his Catholic school teaching job for being gay. Communion was presented on Febuary 3, 2024 as a fundraiser for Michael Califano, with the gracious help of the entire team at Studio Theatre Long Island in Lindenhurst, NY. Cecilia Dowd reports for News 12 Long Island.