Wayne Self is a playwright and composer whose musicals explore the spiritual lives of people who live outside of society's prescribed gender expectations.
A native of Louisiana who was raised Southern Baptist, he is now a progressive Christian, having studied religion at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and served as a music director and performer for decades at churches across the political spectrum, from Southern Baptist to Metropolitan Community Churches. Through his essays, art and advocacy, Self has helped people across the political spectrum understand and model a more inclusive spirituality.
His most recent play, "Upstairs: A Musical Tragedy", about the deadly 1973 arson fire at a New Orleans gay bar, premiered to a sold-out run and prompted national coverage and critical acclaim. In a review, Theatremania's Paul Christopher said:
After experiencing the production on the 40th anniversary of the tragedy, this force of nature achieves more than great heights of musical drama. Upstairs brings closure to a city that has suffered this open wound for too long, and demonstrates the transformational power of live theater.
Self's blog posts for Huffington Post spotlight the intersection of religion, politics, and LGBT issues on subjects ranging from the Chick-fil-A controversy to marriage issues, to the Presidential elections, garnering millions of hits and hundreds of thousands in social media shares, and sparking major dialogue among conservatives and progressives alike.
He lives in Orange County, CA with his partner of 20 years. Self has written two other musicals: Wise Up! and Cadillac. Wise Up was premiered in 2011 at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco to stellar reviews and sold-out audiences. Cadillac was workshopped in 2011 at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA.