At the outset, Tales of the City was just a column in the San Francisco Chronicles written by Armistead Maupin that followed the lives of the 28 Barbary lane residents.
Quickly, people became passionate about the character of Mary Ann and her LGBTQ neighbors. Tales of the City then developed into books before being adapted in TV series for the first time.
In the new version to be aired in summer on Netflix, some stars of the original TV show are back like Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis in addition to the new characters and actors/actresses.
The synopsis tells “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City begins a new chapter in the beloved story. Mary Ann (Laura Linney) returns to present-day San Francisco and is reunited with her daughter Shawna (Ellen Page) and ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross), twenty years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann is quickly drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis), her chosen family and a new generation of queer young residents living at 28 Barbary Lane.”
Queer showrunner Laura Morelli
Laura Morelli (pictured below on the right) was chosen to work on this new adaptation.
Morelli previously worked as an author on Orange Is The New Black, which allowed her to meet her wife Samira Wiley (Poussey) but also to embrace her identity as a queer woman.
For Tales of the City, she was initially to work on the lesbian character portrayed by Ellen Page before becoming the showrunner of the series.
The LGBTQ visibility
In this revival, there is a great LGBTQ representation like in the original adaptation. Mary Ann's gay neighbor and the character of Dukakis, Anna Madrigal, a transgender woman, are still there. Trans actress Jen Richards will perform a younger Anna Madrigal in some passages.
But Morelli's adaptation will offer an even more varied range of our LGBTQ community with non-binary actor Garcia who plays a transgender man, Jack Rodriguez, whose transition is not always easy for his girlfriend Margot (May Hong).
And then we can still enjoy seeing actress Ellen Page in a lesbian role.
Page’s character, Shawna, is bridging the gap between the original characters and the new residents of the 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Shawna will also start a relationship with a certain Claire played by Zosia Mamet.
Morelli praised the work of the actress: “Shawna’s being brought to life by such a gifted woman, who also happens to hold the queer community at the center of her own personal life, it just doesn’t get better.”
The new version of Tales of the City will start on Netflix this summer.
“If we were going to do this, it needed to usher in a new generation of characters and then, hopefully, a younger audience. We know how starved the younger, queer community is for authentic representation. You want to create a world that looks like our world.” -Laura Morelli.