I have a date with Mike Jones. Actually, it’s a threesome – with Paula Woodward.
Tomorrow night, Jones, the gay escort/masseuse who made headlines in November 2006 when he revealed the identity of one of his regulars, will take the stage in Naked Before God: Exposing the Hypocrisy of Ted Haggard. The one-man play is based on Jones’s book, I Had To Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall, and Jones stars as, well, himself.
Back in the summer of 2006, when Jones realized that his longtime client, Art, was actually Ted Haggard, founder of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and the head of an evangelical group that had a weekly conference call with the White House, he contacted 9News’s Paula Woodward to tell his story. But it wasn’t a news story, not yet – the only evidence of the relationship was Jones himself, an envelope in which Art had sent some cash, and a couple of voicemails in which Art asked for meth.
While Woodward started investigating the allegations, Jones came to me and told his story. He wasn’t ready to go public with it, not yet – he had an obligation to 9News, he said. And then, later, he told me that he’d decided to wait until after the election. But as it turned out, he couldn’t wait: On November 1, 2006, he called Peter Boyles’s radio show, shared his story – and the rest is history. Within days, 9News had identified Haggard as Jones’s client, Haggard had admitted to buying meth (he didn’t actually do it, he said, and volunteered nothing about the gay sex), and New Life was looking for a new minister. And I finally wrote my piece about Mike Jones.
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Although all of that is part of Naked Before God, the play also shows what Jones went through after going public. “I think people honestly are going to be shocked at the play – if they give it a chance,” he says. “People have such preconceived notions. I got thrown into the limelight so quickly, in front of millions of people. I’ve been called so many names, ripped apart by people who don’t know the whole story.”
Now Jones will tell the whole story in seven nights of performances at the Bug Theatre, March 13-16 and March 20-22. He’s promised Paula Woodward and me front-row seats on opening night – “The only row I can actually see is the front row,” Jones says, although from what I understand, everyone in the audience will be able to see plenty of Jones in the aptly named play.
But then, we’ve had front-row seats for this entire saga. The only thing we haven’t known is how the story will end.
The Bug is located at 3654 Navajo Street. Tickets are $25; call 888-768-7469. – Patricia Calhoun