Celebrities

Audra McDonald, ‘Fosters’ Cast & More at Disneyland Gay Days

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Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will perform Friday in the first Gay Days live concert at the Disneyland Hotel as part of Gay Days Anaheim, Oct. 2-4. McDonald is appearing in the live-action film version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Cast members and executive producers from “The Fosters,” ABC’s award-winning drama series, will join a panel, also on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Grand Californian Hotel, hosted by D23, the Official Disney Fan Club. Executive producers Bradley Bredeweg and Joanna Johnson will attend. (See my interview with Joanna Johnson https://www.goweho.com/joanna-johnson-juggles-bold-beautiful-the-fosters-2/13023.)

VIP Gold tickets include access to an exclusive cocktail party with three-time Emmy nominee Dot Marie Jones (“Glee”), Jai Rodriguez, “Revenge” star Nick Wechsle, and the legendary Disney Imagineeer Bob Gurr. Before last year’s Gay Days, Gurr spoke to me about working for Disney as a gay man.

“In the middle of that working at Disney studios, everybody was so focused on getting what Walt wanted done, nobody was interested in anybody else’s sexual orientation. They just weren’t.

“Walt certainly was never interested. The only time he was concerned was if a guy came back from lunch after three martinis and they weren’t doing too well on a storyboard, then he would say something, but other than that he was just not interested.”

(See full interview with Gurr https://www.goweho.com/disney-imagineer-talks-gay-walts-world-disneyland-gay-days-oct-35/13334.)

On Saturday LGBT guests are encouraged to wear red shirts to identify them among all the other park guests (the annual Gay Days is not an exclusive event). See gaydaysanaheim.com for “official” T-shirts.

Dances parties each day include Saturday’s Kingdom at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, featuring DJ Kimberly S, Well Strung and “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” star Manila Luzon. Tickets $35 in advance, $45 at the door.

Also on Saturday, “Miss Coco Peru: A Gentle Reminder” will take the stage, her fourth appearance at Gay Days, telling stories about her life and sing some songs.

On Sunday, Gay Days continues at Disney’s California Adventure and with the return of PLUNGE, a pool party from noon-4 p.m. at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. DJ Zach Moos will spin, and Patrick Smith, International Mr. Leather, will also be on hand.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

A performance of Ben Rimalower’s off-Broadway hit “Patti Issues” closes out the weekend at 6 p.m. at the Grand Californian Hotel. The show The Advocate called “Smart, poignant, and dishy as hell,” tells the story of a gay adolescent seeking solace at the alter of the ultimate Broadway diva, Patti LuPone. Tickets are $20.

“It’s a special treat,” to return as a guest for Gay Days, says Gurr. “I have a memory all the way from an orange grove full of bulldozers when I first saw it. And I can walk around and in my mind’s eye I remember what everything used to look like.”

Other Gay Days activities include a family scavenger hunt, a group photo, a lesbian ice cream social, group meet ups at varying attractions, ABC screenings, and more events targeted to families, youth, bears, couples and Mouseketeers of every ilk. A family pool party sponsored by Family Equality Council and a Teen Dance sponsored by the OC Center. For the complete schedule see: www.GayDaysAnaheim.com

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and is currently producing a documentary for her own company, Saving Grace Films.

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