A singular solo show — “Asexuality! The Solo Musical” — will be presented free of charge on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Augustana College’s Brunner Theatre Center, 3750 7th Ave., Rock Island, in the Black Box Theatre.
The performer/writer is Rebecca McGlynn, a transgender queer writer, actor, songwriter, and filmmaker. She met Augie associate theater professor Shelley Cooper last year when they both did their one-woman musicals at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
“We actually had the same director, Heather Dowling, who correctly predicted that Shelley and I would hit it off,” McGlynn said in a recent e-mail. “Before coming out as a transgender woman, I identified as an asexual man. Although I had never been very interested in sex, I still experienced romantic attraction. I wanted to date and fall in love, but it was difficult to make that connection with people who didn’t understand the asexual spectrum, or that there are different kinds of attraction and love—romantic, sexual, platonic, etc.”
McGlynn moved to Los Angeles in 2013 with her then-girlfriend Theresa Stroll, and they wrote and produced a one-woman musical together that she performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2016 called “My Big Fat Blonde Musical,” which won several awards including Top of the Fringe, the award for the best overall show out of the 200-300 shows produced at the festival.
After getting involved with the solo theatre community in L.A., McGlynn began writing “Asexuality! The Solo Musical” in 2017, shortly before the explosion of the #MeToo movement.
“I realized at that time that I had been sexually assaulted by a woman when I was in college a decade earlier,” she said recently. “It has never registered to me as an assault because of the gender dynamics—I was (then identifying as) a man, she was a woman. This pushed me even harder to write my story.
“Asexuality has always been underrepresented in pop culture, and as important as the #MeToo movement was, I found that a lot of male victims of abuse and sexual assault weren’t being given a space to talk about their experiences,” McGlynn said.
Coming out as transgender
“Shortly after the start of the pandemic, I realized there was another layer to my identity. After a lifetime of denial, I came out as a transgender woman in 2020,” she said. “Living full-time as a woman changed my life drastically for the better, and I’ve never been happier.”
McGlynn revised her script and premiered “Asexuality! The Solo Musical” to a sold-out run at the 2022 Hollywood Fringe Festival, and was once again honored to win Top of the Fringe.
A June 2022 review at nohoartsdistrict.com said “this show is staggeringly good. I mean excellent, truly.”
“But, believe me when I tell you I was wholly unprepared for how incredible Rebecca is and how surprising, innovative, moving, and also highly informative ‘Asexuality! The Solo Musical’ is.
“And, because of her incredible openness and the way she combines her sweetly reserved nature with her explosive and powerful personality, we feel immediately and intimately connected.”
“The songs are genius, like ‘Rocky Horror’ meets ‘Jagged Little Pill’,” the review said. “And since I didn’t know Rebecca before the show and had no idea where the play was going, the twist (and there is a big one) was transformative…in the very real sense!”
McGlynn said that Shelley Cooper enjoyed the show so much that she invited McGlynn to perform at Augustana.
“I’m planning to bring my show to other schools around the country soon, because I think that the message is really important,” she said. “My show is about finding and loving yourself, and it touches on a lot of aspects of the asexual and transgender experience that are often misunderstood or just not talked about.”
Identifying as asexual
“Asexuality! The Solo Musical” is an autobiographical musical comedy about her pre-transition life identifying as an asexual man.
Since McGlynn works as a freelance cinematographer, sound mixer and editor, she was able to create characters on video, and interacts with them live onstage.
She is bringing “Asexuality! The Solo Musical” to festivals and colleges around the U.S. Awards include the Hollywood Fringe Festival’s TOP OF THE FRINGE, BEST MUSICAL, BEST WORLD PREMIERE, ENCORE PRODUCERS’ AWARD, PICK OF THE FRINGE; LA Music Critic’s BEST SOLO SHOW; Night-Tinted Glasses’ TOP TEN SHOWS OF THE YEAR; OUTDOOR VOICES FESTIVAL Official Selection; JOSHUA TREE SOLO FESTIVAL Desert Salon Official Selection; SOARING SOLO STARS SERIES Official Selection; SOLOFEST Official Selection; iO West’s 24hr SKETCH COMPETITION; LA 48hr Film Project’s BEST DIRECTOR.
McGlynn is also an Emmy-nominated photojournalist, writer and composer of the musical “Norton! The Astonishingly True Story of America’s Forgotten Emperor,” and founder of Denison University’s first non-singing a cappella group, “Talkapella.”
For more information, visit her website HERE.