Theatre company mounts ‘Zanna’

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Theatre Alliance will stage “Zanna Don’t” from Jan. 20-29 at 1047 Northwest Blvd.

The play tells the story of life at Heartsville High in a world where homosexuality is the norm and heterophobia is rampant. It begins on day one of the school year. Among the characters in this show is the school’s personal cupid, Zanna, who brings loving magic. The “big man on campus” chess champion has a crush on the new quarterback in town. The football star is eager to fit in, and his cool quotient rises when he’s cast as the lead in a controversial student musical about straight people in the military called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Through the show, a young man and woman fall in love, throwing the school into massive confusion, anger, and pain.

“Zanna” stars John C. Wilson as the lead. “I have truly connected with this character in his belief in the power of love and his willingness to fight for it.  He believes in love so much that he is willing to sacrifice his own shot at it so that others can fall in love and be happy,” Wilson said. He added, “I think the beauty of the show is its message that being true to yourself should be everyone’s ultimate goal. When you are your authentic self, that’s when you will be truly happy. Audiences will definitely connect with that because we all just want to be loved for who we are.”

Jamie Lawson serves as the artistic director, with music directed by Tommy Jackson. The cast includes John C. Wilson, Mary Upchurch, James Crowe, Ann Davis-Rowe, Stephen Melaga and Seph Schonekas. The ensemble features M.K. Amos, Alex Boese, Jimmy Felt, Casey Kern and Logan Welborn. The book, music and lyrics are by Tim Acito, with additional book and lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris.

Performances are Jan. 20-21 and 26-28 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 22 and 29 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18/adult and $16/students, seniors and are available online or at the theatre’s box office. Student rush tickets, which cannot be reserved in advance, are $14 before any performance which go on sale five minutes before show time with current, valid student ID. Attendees must wait in a standby line until five minutes to show time, at which point, available seating is released. This is limited to one ticket per student and all seats are subject to availability.


‘Akron’ movie screening upcoming

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Out at the Movies Winston-Salem will screen “Akron” on Jan. 14, 7 p.m., at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts,  ACE Theatre Complex, 1533 S. Main St.

The film tells the story of college freshmen David and Christopher who fall in love after they meet while playing football. Consequently, tragedy arose which could potential tear them apart.

“Akron” stars Joseph Melendez and Edmund Donovan, along with Winston-Salem resident Amy da Luz. It was the winner of the 2016 OUT at the Movies International LGBT Film Fest Best Narrative Feature.

Tickets are $7/general and $6/seniors and are available in the lobby beginning at 6:15 p.m. Cash, checks and credit/debit cards are accepted for payment. For those who purchase tickets in advance online are eligible to participate in a drawing for two all-access passes for the fall film festival.

The organization is now accepting sponsorships which begin at $100. Packages include series screenings, festival tickets, an invitation to a sponsor/filmmaker reception and other perks.

More information will be made available as the event nears.

For tickets and/or sponsorships, visit the organization’s website. For other queries, call Rex Welton at 336-918-0902 or email


Center launches men’s group

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — North Star LGBTQ Community Center, 930 Burke St., has announced the formation of its Journey support group for men over 55 who are struggling with identity, aging and finding commonplace in the community. The first meeting will be on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. and will continue every first and third Tuesday.

For those who are interested in Journey, there will be a meet and greet with the facilitator on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.

In other news, the center is also in need of volunteers, hosts for fundraisers, programming ideas and event and regular pledge support to help sustain the work of North Star. Email to volunteer or learn more.

North Star also has confidential HIV/STI testing dates set for the next few months from 5-7 p.m. Dates are Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 7, April 4 and May 2. POSSE conducts the testing.

A benefit concert for the center will take place on Jan. 22, 1 p.m., at Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge, 301 Brookstown Ave. #300. Enjoy original voices and songs while supporting North Star.

For those youth who wish to become part of the Youth Leadership Council, email Rayce Lamb at Meeting dates and times are Jan. 21,12 p.m., Feb. 4, 1 p.m., and Feb. 18, 12 p.m. This is open to current high school students in the surrounding Winston-Salem area.


Party location set

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Guilford Green Foundation’s Red Party will be held on Feb. 25, 8 p.m., at The Public, 433 Spring Garden St.

The event is a fundraiser for the foundation. More information will be available on the event’s Facebook page at

Tickets are $25 and are available for purchase online. Additional contributions are also welcome and can be made along with ticket purchase.

On other news, an “Ask a Trans Person Anything” program will be held on Jan. 26, 7 p.m., at Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., and a foundation takeover at 1618 Wine Lounge, 1724 Battleground Ave., on Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m. Other upcoming events are drag bingo on Feb. 3, 6 p.m., at Elm Street Center, 203 S. Elm St., and the 2017 Gala on March 25 at the former Cadillac Service Garage, 304 E. Market St. More information will be made available regarding bingo and the gala as organizers firm up plans.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.