Chris Perfetti, the actor known for his portrayal of queer teacher Jacob on ABC’s Abbott Elementary, will portray the protagonist of Henry Hoke’s breakout 2023 novella, Open Throat, in a Manhattan stage adaptation this summer.

That protagonist is a mountain lion who lives in the wilds beneath the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles and who figures out from eavesdropping on passing hikers and would-be lovers that they are queer. In a starred review, a Kirkus reviewer wrote, “Compassionate, fierce, and bittersweet, this is an unforgettable love letter to the wild.”

The production is being mounted by Little Island, a man-made park and performance space in the Hudson River near the High Line. It is adapted by Hoke and directed by Caitlin Ryan O’Connell.

At each performance Perfetti will split the role with actor Jo Lampert. Lampert is known for roles in Amazon’s Transparent and Orange Is the New Black on Netflix.

“It’s been such a joy to watch readers embrace Open Throat over this past year, and to hear how a queer mountain lion speaks to people’s very human curiosities, fears, and desires,” Hoke said in a news release. “I’m so excited for the book to be given new voice onstage by this company of artists, lending their phenomenal talents to help my wild animal get to New York City.”

Open Throat will run July 10-14 in Little Island’s amphitheater; tickets are available for purchase at

Marion Winik hosts NPR’s The Weekly Reader podcast.