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What Lies Behind a Cat’s Eyes?

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Nine lives, eight roles: actor Larry A. Lozier is responsible for a veritable litter of characters in Gexa Energy Broadway’s production of Cats. Here, Lozier is Larry Skimbleshanks, the cat in the back right corner. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Larry A. Lozier is determined to be a fine actor, by God
by Donalevan Maines

Larry A. Lozier Jr. could be playing one of eight different roles when the national tour of Cats plays April 12–17 as part of the Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center series. As the “swing,” Lozier’s job is to understudy all eight roles, and go on at a moment’s notice, as he did recently midway through a performance when another actor suffered a slight injury.

But whichever costume he wears, inside is a young man who was only seven when he confessed to his priest that he was gay. “I
was bawling my eyes out,” he says, convinced that he was damned to hell for being gay, based on things he’d heard in classes at his Catholic school in a small town in Missouri. “Father John told me, ‘You’re the bravest little boy I think I’ve ever met,’” says Lozier. “I’ll never forget that. I was awestruck by his
reaction.”

However, it didn’t ease his fears about being gay. “These ideas get in there, and I had interpreted them to mean, ‘It’s a mortal sin, so you can never take Holy Communion.’ But I wanted to please, so I would let them give it to me, then I’d figure out a way to hide it and spit it out.”

Lozier, who’s now 24, says he wasn’t bullied in school other than the occasional verbal accusation (“You’re a homo”) in the boys’ locker room. “I only hung out with girls. I didn’t even have guy friends.”

But sprouting to 5’11”, Lozier played soccer, basketball, and football in high school, and he knew nothing about theater. “It was not really normal to audition for the school play. You were, like, not cool,” he remembers. “The first person to inspire me to even consider getting on stage was my drama teacher my junior year, and he literally dragged me into the auditorium. “It was the musical Grease. I just ran on and off, and it must have been the most nerve-wracking thing. I swore I would never do it again.”

But he did, and lo and behold, he discovered dance. Along with that, he started taking voice lessons.

When he won a scholarship to come to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, he felt it was “a God thing.” “I had prayed that I needed certainty about this,” and the scholarship sealed the deal, he explains.

At SHSU, he was cast in every musical, playing an Aggie football player in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, as well as singing and dancing parts in South Pacific, Chicago, and The Full Monty (“I wasn’t one of the five [steelworkers], but they went the full monty,” he laughs).

He also met other people like him and started to become comfortable with his innate sexuality. (Is it ironic that coming to cowboy country helped him come out?)

On his way to earning a bachelor of fine arts degree with a dance emphasis in December 2008, Lozier dreamed of being in a show at Houston’s Hobby Center. He almost reached his goal when he was cast in a Theatre Under the Stars production of It’s a Wonderful Life, but ultimately his SHSU studies prevented him from taking the job. Consequently, when Lozier steps onstage as a dancing feline in Cats, he says, “It will be my Houston debut!”

Whichever roles he plays, behind that cat’s eyes will be a rising star who’s finding his passion in dance and his spirituality as a Christian. “I’m really into God and Jesus Christ, and developing my relationship with God.” After coming out at age 21, he explains, “I feel my journey ever since has been growing into an acceptance of myself.

“Life on the road is awesome,” he adds. Whether you’re in a different city the next night or a week later, the travel is so amazing. [The cast] becomes your own family.”

Lozier is also learning a book’s worth of knowledge about musical theater from his fellow cast members. “Oh my goodness,” he laughs. “They know everything. All I know is Wicked!”

Lozier’s other recent credits include A Chorus Line, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cool Vibrations, Hello Dolly!, and Celebrity Cruises. In his program bio, it reads, “He . . . gives all glory to God and thanks to his parents.”

 

What: Cats

When: April 12–17

Where: Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby Street

Tickets: on sale at the Hobby Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations. Visit broadwayacrossamerica.com/Houston or charge by phone at 800-982-ARTS (2787).

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.


 

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Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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