Inside / Outside The Beltway
Inside/Outside the Beltway was the first gay/lesbian/bisexual television drama in a continuing serial format otherwise known as the soap opera. It was a spin-off from Gay Fairfax. The storyline was set in both Washington, D.C. and the surrounding suburbs and included a large cast of gay men, lesbian, bisexual, and straight characters.
Creator/writer Dennis Brooks (a pseudonym for Perzanowski) and his partner Jack Ellison were the pioneers whose hard work brought this idea to the small screen many years before its time. Gay Fairfax executive producer Rob Wilson also served as the producer of Inside/Outside the Beltway in the beginning. Auditions were held in April of 1992 and the following is a list of many of the original characters:
Cindy Castellano: Leslie Lapides
Maddy Hutchins: Dorothy Hircsh (later Lynn F. McCune)
John Dexter: Scott Olson
Lenny Ramirez: Fernando Ramos
Justin Moore: Stephen Getman
Mark Taylor: Calvin Nokes
Vicki St. Claire: Michelle Michaels
Phillip Wilson: Austin Wallace
Alex Moore: Katie Flowers
Nick McKenzie: David Hanes
Dr. Larry Metzenbaum: David Jobe
Martha Dexter: June Richards
Vince: Bruce Alan Smith
Extras: Holly Hawthorne Brown, Alice Butler, Don Carrington, Steve Dantzler, Mary Davie, John Dawson, Kerry DeMatthis, Joan Eklund, Patrice Green, Kelly Hawthorne, Anthony Kizlauskas, Albert Lee, Roxanne Rucker, Lisa Troshinsky, and Andreas Voelker.
The Premiere Party for Inside/Outside the Beltway was held on Sunday, September 20, 1992 at the short-lived, gay-owned restaurant and nightclub in Alexandria called Metropolis. During this cocktail party/fundraiser, the completed first episode was premiered and it aired on FCAC, Channel 10 about a week later. The opening and closing credits had a distinctive piano theme performed by Gwen Jennier and the classic Haines Point sculpture scene in the background.
Gay Fairfax veteran Jean Ponton and Alberto Saazeder helped out with the videography.
The drama continued to air for another five years and 32 episodes were produced. Inside/Outside the Beltway received 10 FCAC Telly Awards, an award from the Gays and Lesbian Aliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and an AFI award.
Taping most of the scenes in various homes and on-location throughout the D.C. area, Dennis and Jack wound up spending over $32,000 of their own savings on the production. They had also approached the cable television networks ShowTime and HBO to sell their idea for this program nationally but were told that the television industry wasn't ready for a program with so many gay characters in one show. Six years later both sitcoms Ellen and Will and Grace needed to have a balance of straight characters to suceed. Disappointed with the responses from the networks, the public access production of Inside/Outside the Beltway folded in 1997.