'It Gets Better' makes transition from web to stage in Feb. 7 show at Eisenhower

Posted by John Mark Rafacz on February 5, 2013 

Perhaps you've seen an It Gets Better Project video on YouTube. Well, now the Internet phenomenon that started a few years ago has been transformed into a musical theater production that takes to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium.

The project aims to show young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the levels of happiness and potential their lives can reach if they just get through their challenging teen years. The nationally touring theatrical production seeks to speak to everyone about topics such as bullying and teen violence.

The It Gets Better show features a collaboration among the It Gets Better Project, six members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and Speak Theater Arts, plus Penn State's Center for the Performing Arts, University Choir and Cultural Conversations festival.

The visiting artists and local participants imagine what "better" means for young people through story, song, dance and multimedia.

Most of the songs in the show have been pop hits.

"We wanted to go with things a lot of people would find recognizable," said Liesel Reinhart, writer and director of the production. "We wanted to make this particularly invitational because it's not a show that's geared for gay audiences. It's geared toward all audiences."

Well-known songs include "Smile," "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)," "At Seventeen" and "If I Could Turn Back Time."

Listen to my interview with Reinhart.

Read my in-depth feature about the show.

Check out an article about State College-area issues related to It Gets Better.

Tickets are still available for Feb. 7 presentation of It Gets Better.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated conversation featuring Reinhart, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the show and is free for ticket holders.

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