Swenson and McDonald are teaming up again
How to Get Broadway's Will Swenson to Serenade You

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com December 01 2012 1:23 PM ET

A fierce new Kickstarter campaign is picking up around funding for Will Swenson and Audra McDonald's new feature film Facing East, which tells the story of a prominent Mormon couple dealing with the aftermath of their gay son's suicide.The film is supported by the Trevor Project, the nation’s only suicide hotline for LGBT and questioning youth, who will receive 10% of all profits from the film.

Facing East has plenty of LGBT power behind the scenes. It's directed by Tony-nominated Broadway actor Will Swenson (from Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and is written by screenwrter Guinevere Turner (Go Fish and American Psycho) based on an off-Broadway play by Carol Lynn Pearson (author of the book Goodbye I Love You), and produced by Duane Andersen, James Duke Mason, and Emily Pearson.

While casting is ongoing, Broadway diva Audra McDonald will play a supporting role. The filmmakers are hoping to raise $65,000 for production costs.

The producers' statement about the film explains why they are tackling a feature about suicide: "We are all so close to this issue. We've all been tormented as we've watched good people struggle and families torn apart. We've all seen how religious families with gay children (or husbands, wives, fathers, mothers) struggle along a trail that has few reliable markers. The unique thing about the story of Facing East, is that it provides those markers, without condemning or degrading. Though about religious people, it is not a religious film, and has found support from both the [Latter Day Saints] as well as LGBT communities. Facing East has the potential to be a bridge between two very different communities."

Some of the perks of donating to the Kickstarter campaign are sure to make show queens swoon, including signed posters from Broadway shows Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Porgy & Bess, dates with the filmmakers and cast, having Tony winner McDonald call you and sing to you on your birthday, Swenson serenading you publicly in New York City or visiting your home to present the final film at a personal screening for you, your friends, and family.

Check it out at Kickstarter.com or FacingEasttheFilm.com.