An arts center
hopes to have Naked Boys Singing! onstage again
next month. The Milwaukee Gay Arts Center is trying to
make arrangements to resume performances of the musical
revue, which features nudity. Police shut the
performance down August 18 in a dispute over
whether the center needed a theater license.
received a letter Friday from the city's license division
indicating officials believed the center's nonprofit status
meant it did not need a theater license after all,
said Richard Hart, the center's attorney. The center
started staging performances of Naked Boys Singing!
August 11 and was scheduled to continue them until
But police vice
officers told officials August 18 they needed the theater
license, according to a claim Hart filed August 23 with the
city. The officers ordered the center to shut down the
production immediately or face the possibility of
prosecution, according to the claim. Naked Boys
Singing! has run into trouble with authorities
before in such cities as Provincetown, Mass.; San Juan,
Puerto Rico; and Atlanta. Eventually, all three cities
allowed performances of the show.
Hart said Monday
the center was seeking clarification from the license
division on any more information officers there might
need. "We are shooting for resuming the
production in mid September," Hart said. The
gay-themed show is billed as celebrating male nudity in
comedy, song, and dance. It features actors who are in
the buff for some of the performance.
The claim filed
last week contended that police selectively enforced the
license ordinance against the center and seeks about
$630,000 in punitive damages, legal fees, and lost
revenue. It said proceeds from the production had been
designated to be given to various AIDS research groups
and theater groups.
Hart said the
center was continuing to pursue the claim. Deputy city
attorney Rudolph Konrad, who said last week his office was
investigating the matter, did not immediately return a
call Monday from the AP. "This issue has really put a
black eye on the city," said Don Hoffman, a codirector
of the center. (AP)
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