December 5, 2023
Rene Pfister Brings Gays, Cowboys and Christmas Together for Holiday Show
John Amodeo READ TIME: 6 MIN.
"I'm in tech week right now for my production of 'Pinocchio,' which is going up tomorrow," lists out Berklee theater professor, singer/songwriter and cabaret performer Rene Pfister. "Then, I'm in tech week for an original work with Berklee about the pandemic written by another Berklee professor at Arrowstreet Arts next week. The week after that, I'm doing a concert version of that same show. Then next weekend, I'll be in New York at Don't Tell Mama's doing my one person show, 'What I Learned from All My Ex-boyfriends...If Anything.'"
Pfister then returns to Boston for finals at Berklee. Followed by performing an original show with a nine-person cast at Club Café. "Then two days later, on December 18, I board a plane to the Philippines, come hell or high water, to see my man," asserts Pfister. "It's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
The saying "if you want to get something done, give it to a busy man" seems to have been written about Pfister. Pfister may be heading to the Philippines to be reunited with his partner, but he will also be writing a book while he's there, taking advantage of a paid sabbatical from Berklee. The book will be the latest in his series "Make Your Life a Musical," about creating your own community, offering LGBTQ-positive messaging to the larger community.
"I could write the book anywhere, but I'm going to the Philippines to live for eight months with my partner Rowie who has been working there for the past 2 years," notes Pfister. "Then I'm going to China. Last summer I did an original production of 'Alice in Wonderland' in China, with the Aliluo Production Company, performed in Mandarin at the Poly Theater in Beijing. When I go to China this time, they are doing my production of 'Pinocchio' in September/October 2024.
The previously mentioned show at the Club Café is another original piece by Pfister, "A Gay Country Christmas," which Pfister and his nine-person cast will perform at Josephine's Cabaret in the Club Café's Napoleon Room, Saturday, December 16. Edge caught up with Pfister, and just in the nick of time, to chat about the show and why representation and inclusiveness is so important right now.
EDGE: Your show has an intriguing title. What makes it gay? What makes it country? And what makes it Christmas?
Rene Pfister: When I was a kid, I used to watch all the cowboy shows and movies. If you do a little research into historical cowboys or look into films, you will find gay cowboys. In film, you will see some gay subtext in how they acted scenes together or how they looked at one another. And in vintage photos, you will find cowboys keeping themselves warm, so to speak. I've always loved Christmas, as well. And I've always dreamt of writing a hit Christmas song.
I wanted to combine my loves of Christmas and cowboys. So, I've written a Christmas song, and the song "It Must Be Christmas Eve" is in the show. I will be releasing it as a single this month, and I'll be releasing an EP soon after called "Time Machine" with that song on it.
EDGE: Did you write this show?
Rene Pfister: Yes, I did.
EDGE: And what is it about?
Rene Pfister: "A Gay Country Christmas" is set in the Old West in 1880. Imagine you are in a saloon in 1880 but it is a diversity LGBTQ-friendly bar, so it's fictional (laughs). It's like "Brokeback Mountain" if it didn't have all the tragedy, "Oklahoma" if it didn't have all the racism and death, Ado Annie without the sexism, and a little bit of "Rocky Horror..." thrown in. Audiences will be able to do a big gay hoedown in their seats, which happens during the big lesbian wedding. No U-Hauls but lots of covered wagons.
I will be playing, singing and narrating from the piano. I play Old Cayote Jack in the show, and he is looking back on his life. Connor Rieck is playing young Jack. He is also playing guitar in the show.
John Amodeo is a free lance writer living in the Boston streetcar suburb of Dorchester with his husband of 23 years. He has covered cabaret for Bay Windows and Theatermania.com, and is the Boston correspondent for Cabaret Scenes Magazine.