Activist Michael Kearns’ Intersectional Play Shades of Disclosure Strikes Major Impact

In a time heightened by political contention, activists and artists are making it their mission to open eyes, ears, and hearts, to the narratives of people of color, LGBTQI people, women, immigrants, and other marginalized people facing oppression. For writer, director, and activist Michael Kearns, this has been his mission for over four decades. Kearns’ latest directorial outing is Shades of Disclosure, which closed on March 11, 2017 to glowing reviews after a several month long run at Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz.

Written by Gay writing collective QueerWise (founded by Kearns), Shades explored the many topics that HIV/AIDS continues to confront including, but not limited to: immigration, GLBTQ rights, racism, ageism, classism, women’s rights, feminism, and trans issues.

Shades evolved from a World AIDS Day one-night only performance in November 2016 into a full-length play with a company of seventeen spoken word artists. Debuting right after Election Day, the Queerwise troupe ended with a special Call to Action, imploring the audience to stand together in the face of adversity.

Arts in LA says, “Michael Kearns, the tireless LA-based writer-actor–AIDS activist who originated the concept for the evening 31 years ago when AIDS/US first debuted on this stage, masterfully directs now, when Shades could not be more timely in this frightening era when our freedom suddenly feels desperately precarious.”

The Jewish Journal says, “One of the most authentic theatrical shows you’ll ever see. Bravo Shades of Disclosure. It is funny in spots, it’s sometimes dirty, it’s ultimately horrifying.”

Jessie Jacobson, a transgender woman and member of Queerwise, described Michael as a “shaman-like director,” and that the play “dragged [her] kicking and screaming out from under the rock where [she’d] been hiding.”

“We had lit a match in 2016 but now – at our January 20 opening, in fact – SHADES caught on fire and raged on until mid-March when another play was slated to open. This has proven to me how truly the power of a democracy can work. Listen, respond, disagree, shout, march, love, cry, share: that’s live theater.” — Michael Kearns.

Michael Kearns along with Queerwise, will continue to develop groundbreaking performance pieces to highlight marginalized communities and respond to modern events. He is available for interviews.

About Michael Kearns:  

Hollywood’s first openly gay actor. Hollywood first HIV-positive actor to reveal his status (Entertainment Tonight). One of the first single, HIV-positive men to adopt (1995). Michael is an activist, actor, teacher, writer, producer, director, fundraiser, and artistic director. Kearns is currently associated with QueerWise, Skylight Theatre, Housing Works and Spoken Interludes Next.  

Learn more about Michael Kearns projects, writing workshops, and legacy at

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