You’ll never hear sad violin music on the soundtrack to Merce, the web series about a gay man in New York living with HIV. That’s because the show, written and created by Charles Sanchez, who also stars as the titular character, is more Singin’ in the Rain than Philadelphia.
It’s not that Merce doesn’t tackle the tough issues related to HIV, like disclosure, stigma and even doctors’ visits and treatment. But as written and played by Sanchez, Merce is a Pollyanna surrounded by supportive friends and an equally supportive—if feisty—mom, who appears via Skype to comfort and cajole him when the world doesn’t seem quite so rose-tinted. Plus, the show’s musical comedy format, goofy plots and sets and campy supporting cast help keep things frothy and fun as Merce navigates the ups and downs of life as a single middle-aged gay man in New York, which—besides HIV—include dating, making ends meet and trying to lose a few pounds.
After a successful first season and raising two thirds of their budget (thanks in part to support from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation), Sanchez and his fellow producers, who are currently in preproduction on Merce’s second season, are nearly at their $10,000 fundraising goal for completing the show’s second season. To reach the finish line, though, they’re asking for your help via donations to Fractured Atlas, the nonprofit arts organization that helps the show get made. “At a time when our health care is in jeopardy, arts funding is being cut and our national leaders refer to people living with HIV as ‘HIV carriers,’ a show like Merce is more important than ever,” says Sanchez.
Watch this video to learn about Merce from Sanchez and producer Tyne Firmin directly:
And if fighting HIV stigma while celebrating life is important to you, support Merce by donating here.