Venue Details

50 Star Starred
The Matrix Theatre
Between N. Spaulding and N. Stanley 7657 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046
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4.3 / 5 Rated by 70 members
Review from Karina Wilson
7 events 2 reviews

BOISE, U.S.A shines a light on a very shady, but lesser known, aspect of recent history, one of the so-called 'Lavender Scares' of the 1950s. Arturo Castillo’s fluid direction keeps the narrative flowing, and engages the audience in the anguish of...continued

reviewed May 13 2008 report as inappropriate
Review from JMJr
116 events 71 reviews

For the most part I enjoyed this production although the script lacked focus...was it a show about homophobia, revenge, family vendettas, pediphilia, the mob mentality, or political infighting and backstabbing? It would have been more successful...continued

reviewed May 17 2008 report as inappropriate
Review from Thomas Mosley
51 events 33 reviews

This is an important piece of theater. Act 1 is especially compelling. Act 2 seemed a little ragged but I suspect that once the actors become more fluent with the dialog, things will change for the better. This was a very important time in Gay...continued

reviewed May 18 2008 report as inappropriate
View All 51 Reviews
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Quotes & Highlights

The cast is proficient, with Seamus Dever’s haunted voice of sanity and Melissa Kite’s betrayed spouse especially fine. —Los Angeles Times
Gene Franklin Smith’s character-driven drama about gay persecution in the ’50s avoids politically correct preachiness, and instead conveys a powerful message through crackling stagecraft…Remarkably well cast… —LA Weekly
Boise, USA is a powerful thought-provoking play, written with true grit. Directed with gut-wrenching reality, and performed by a remarkably strong cast, the audience is transfixed throughout. —Tolucan Times
Boise, USA has particular resonancy for those in the audience who can recall pre-Stonewall days. It is a play that every young gay person should see. —Stage Scene LA


Inspired by actual events, the play begins on Halloween night, 1955, in quiet, respectable Boise, Idaho, when the shocking arrests of three men for “lewd and lascivious conduct” with three teenage boys set off a notorious “witch hunt” to purge the city of all suspected homosexuals. Family loyalties are divided, pitting brother against brother, father against son. What happened back then in Boise could happen again, anywhere, anytime—even now.

This world premiere is presented by the Salem K Theatre Company, producers of the critically acclaimed Snake in the Grass and Poor Beast in the Rain.

Arturo Castillo (director) is a graduate of the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. He has directed theatrical productions all over Europe, including London, Madrid, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Prague, Milan and Rome. He was a co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of Novel Stages in Philadelphia, also serving on the Pennsylvania State Arts Council as a theatre panelist as well as on the Arts in Education panel. While in Los Angeles he has directed theatre and film, including Theresa Rebeck’s Loose Knit; Bishop and Fuller’s Loveplay; Richard Devin’s My Mother’s Coming; and Wallace Shawn’s one-man tour de force The Fever.  Castillo co-wrote, produced and directed the independent film “F64.”

Gene Franklin Smith (playwright) apprenticed playwriting with F.D. Reeve and Tony Connor at Wesleyan University, where his first play, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night, was produced at the Second Stage Theatre. He moved to New York City, where several of his plays received full productions and staged readings, including Life Beneath the Roses (Quaigh Theatre and TOMI Theatre), Adults in Love (Lone Wolf Theatre) and Created Equal (John Houseman II Theatre). Life Beneath the Roses has also been produced regionally at the Cincinnati Playhouse (FutureFest Finalist), University of Nebraska-Kearney, Theatre Americana (winner, David James Ellis Memorial Award for Best Play 1992-93) and the Bitter Truth Theatre. In 1997, his play Rubicon had its world premiere at the Coast Playhouse. In 1998, Smith founded the Write Act Repertory Company in Hollywood and served as Artistic Director for five years. During his tenure, three of his plays were produced: _Devil’s Consort; Transports of the Heart _(co-written with Clyde Derrick); and in the 2000-01 season, his critically acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens’s novel, Bleak House. In 2003, he relocated to Toronto, Ontario, where he incorporated the Troubled Souls Collective, which produced his popular site-specific productions, Haunted Masters in 2004 and More Haunted Masters in 2005, at the historic Victorian mansion Spadina Museum. Gene’s screenplays, “Slave to His Mistress” and “The Pursued” (a prequel to Moby Dick), have placed as finalists in the Nicholls Fellowship in Screenwriting and at the Austin Film Festival.

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