Theatre

About Face Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017-18 Season, featuring three Midwest premieres! The season kicks off this fall/winter with the romantic comedy SIGNIFICANT OTHER by Joshua Harmon, playwright of the hit comedy Bad Jews. Co-produced with Theater Wit, the Midwest premiere is directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm and features AFT Artistic Associate Alex Weisman. 
 
The 22nd season continues next winter with the Midwest premiere of R. Eric Thomas’ gleeful mystery TIME IS ON OUR SIDE. Megan Carney directs this hilarious and heartfelt story of two podcasters and LGBTQ history buffs who may have uncovered more than they bargained for. 
 
Next spring, About Face presents the Midwest premiere of Bryna Turner’s comedy BULL IN A CHINA SHOP, based on the true story of revolutionary academics and lovers Mary Woolley and Jeanette Marks. Directed by Keira Fromm, the all-female cast includes AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins. 
 
About Face Theatre’s 2017-18 Season concludes next summer with a yet-to-be-titled production by the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble. 
 
About Face Theatre is in residence at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. AFT’s On Demand Memberships – a flexible, year-round membership ticket are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com. Single tickets for additional programming will go on sale at a later date.
 
About Face Theatre’s 2017-18 Season:
 
November 2 – December 10, 2017
SIGNIFICANT OTHER – Midwest Premiere!
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm
Featuring AFT Artistic Associate Alex Weisman. Additional casting to be announced.
 
Jordan Berman is a single gay man in New York City. Mr. Right is nowhere on his horizons. As he's nearing his 30s, his close group of girlfriends begin getting married en masse. What happens when you feel like life is leaving you behind but you're still expected to be at the forefront cheering on your friends on their perfect wedding day? Significant Other is a bittersweet comedy about friendship, single-hood and hoping you're not the one choking on car exhaust as the "Just Married" sign disappears from view. 
 
In 2015, Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews hit Theater Wit and performed to capacity crowds for over five months. A breakaway playwright of his generation, Harmon's work offered a unique and searingly funny look at a new generation of American Jews. Now, with Significant Other he turns his compassion and considerable wit to marriage.
 
"I am very excited to join About Face Theatre in presenting the Midwest premiere of Joshua Harmon’s newest work,” comments Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler. “I think Josh is a remarkably original writer with a gift for showing us the utterly real and utterly unexpected. His plays are always about deeply human characters with a writerly perspective we've not seen previously dramatized, and Significant Other is no exception. Bad Jews was a legitimate theatrical event of 2015 – and Signicant Other promises, in its writing and casting, to be another for 2017."
 
March 1 – April 8, 2018
TIME IS ON OUR SIDE – Midwest Premiere!
By R. Eric Thomas
Directed by Megan Carney
 
Annie loves the past. Curtis lives for the future. Together they host a wildly unpopular podcast from Annie's living room in which they "queer” history, reinterpreting Philadelphia’s lore through a modern, intersectional lens. When Annie finds a family heirloom that reveals a buried connection to the early LGBT rights movement, the political suddenly gets explosively personal. Time is on Our Side’s shape-shifting plot bounds gleefully from the Underground Railroad to pop culture futurity, as Annie and Curtis search for answers to the questions “How do we let go of the past? And when will it let go of us?”
 
“R. Eric Thomas has written this magnificent play that absolutely fizzles with life – I fell in love with it on first read,” comments director Megan Carney. “Time Is On Our Side introduces rich characters – meeting across generations and identities – and forging ahead together. The play is intimate and grand – diving deep to offer a clearer understanding of our shared past and courage for the challenges of the moment – all whipped together with big doses of queer magic. Eric has such a fresh voice and I can't wait to share this play with Chicago audiences.”
 
May 24 – July 1, 2018
BULL IN A CHINA SHOP – Midwest Premiere!
By Bryna Turner
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm
Featuring AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins. Additional casting to be announced.
 
Bull in a China Shop is a play about Mary Woolley and her partner, Jeanette Marks, two brilliant women who reimagined and revolutionized women's education at the turn of the twentieth century. This fast-moving feminist comedy chronicles the growth of the women's suffrage movement, as well as Mary and Jeanette's romantic relationship. It examines the strength it takes to find your voice, be brave and feel less at odds with the world. 
 
“As a queer female director, I'm always excited by plays that represent gay narratives,” comments Keira Fromm. “Plays that deal specifically with gay female stories aren't terribly common, so when I came across Bryna Turner's radical play, I was immediately taken with it. Bryna is an incredibly smart and savvy playwright. She has a way of writing words and characters who live in both the past and the present concurrently. Mary and Jeanette's struggle to reform women's education and advocate for the suffrage movement echoes of the fights that women still wage today – whether that fight be for equal pay, fair representation or women's health initiatives. Ultimately the play is a unique meditation on bravery.”

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

"Are we still who we thought we were?"

"How much do we still value the culture we embraced a year ago?"
 
These are the questions that guided Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler as he assembled the company's 2017-18 "smart art" season of contemporary, comedic plays: the return for the holidays of Mitchell Fain's tour-de-force This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles) (November 24-December 30, 2017), the world premiere of Eric John Meyer's The Antelope Party, a comedy for our times with a My Little Pony theme (January 5-February 24, 2018), and the Chicago debut of Women Laughing Alone with Salad, the Internet meme turned satirical play by Sheila Callaghan (March 9-April 29, 2018).
 
"This has been a year of tsunami-sized cultural change. So many American ideals - media independence, social services, feminism, LGBTQ rights, anti-racism - seem under assault," said Wechsler. "But we have to stay true to ourselves, and that means comedies of reason and compassion. Our 2017-18 season offers three such vantages: the personal story of how a city became a sanctuary, a comedy of ponies and normalization, and a whirling examination of media culture and sexual politics. It's a set of three plays that you won't soon forget, comic works by contemporary artists timed to the exigencies of this moment."
 
Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. The best way to secure seats to Theater Wit's 2017-18 season is to sign up for a Theater Wit Membership. Wit's Netflix-like "all the theater you can eat" deal lets members see as many plays at they want in any of theater's three spaces for one low monthly fee of $29/$22 for students, along with many exclusive member perks. Single tickets to Wit's 2017-18 season go on sale ten weeks before each show.

To purchase a Membership, inquire about Flex Pass options or to buy single tickets, visit theaterwit.org or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.
More about Theater Wit's 2017-18 season

The return of
This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles)
Written and performed by Mitchell Fain
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
November 24-December 30, 2017

After completing an amazing workshop last year, Chicago's favorite holiday performer returns for a mainstage tour-de-force of his unique blend of storytelling, improvisation and cabaret.

This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles), written and performed by Mitchell J. Fain, pulls together a host of holiday stories from the audience along with his own autobiographical war stories about how family, drunks, jewelry, funerals, 250 performances and the holiday spirits collide.

Chicago's newest holiday tell-all is this sweet, sentimental evening of hard truths that change night to night, with lovely cameos by Chicago cabaret powerhouses like Meghan Murphy and madcap pianist Julie B. Nichols.

"Highly recommended. A brand new, indispensable tradition, at once hilarious, tragic, moving and profane." - Chicago Theater Review


A World Premiere
The Antelope Party
By Eric John Meyer
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
January 5-February 24, 2018
It's sometime in the 2010s. The Rust Belt Ponies Meet Up Group for Adult Fans of My Little Pony has gathered in Ben's Philadelphia apartment, but two members have not yet arrived. A new recruit seems unusually shy and curiously paranoid about a local neighborhood watch group. What happened to their Pegasister, Maggie? Why is Brony Doug so paranoid? What does it all have to do with the 9/11 Truthers and an emerging group of "concerned citizens?" In the midst of increasing violence and authoritarianism, how can our heroes see the magic in Everypony? And, even worse, what if they do? 
 
And that's just the first ten minutes of Meyer's amazing and timely new comedy. With its My Little Pony cult prism, Meyer explores the rise of a new social order and how the currents of history, normalization and fear can sweep up even the most Generous ponies of Celestia.
 
Eric John Meyer is a playwright and performer/director/producer based in New York City. His work has been developed or presented by Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Vineyard Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea, Dutch Kills Theater Company and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, among others. He is a member of the Actor's Studio Playwright/Director Unit and a recipient of a new play commission from Playwrights Horizons. Meyer is a co-founder of Human Head Performance Group and The Truck Project, both of which he established with his partner, Jean Ann Douglass. He received his MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College.

 

A Chicago Premiere
Women Laughing Alone with Salad
By Sheila Callaghan
Directed by Devon De Mayo
March 9-April 29, 2018
Dangerous, fierce and funny, Women Laughing Alone with Salad bursts out of the bounds of internet meme-dom and onto the stage in a four person comic tour-de-force about friendship, salad, sex, bodies, yoga, salad, men, envy, women, pharmaceuticals, diets, salad and uppers and salad.
DC Theatre Scene called this hilarious satire about how we live with ourselves, or possibly, how we can't, a "fresh, funny play...the poster child for what feminist theatre should be: a great night out on the town watching a slambam comedy which is also a serious conversation about the society we oh-so-currently live in."
 
Devon de Mayo makes her Theater Wit directorial debut with Women Laughing Alone with Salad. Her recent directing credits include Court Theatre's Harvey and Raven Theatre's world premiere Sycamore.

Sheila Callaghan's plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, Yale Rep, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre, among others. Callaghan is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the prestigious Whiting Award. Her plays have been produced internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. These include Scab, Crawl Fade to White, Crumble, We Are Not These Hands, Dead City, Lascivious Something, Kate Crackernuts, That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play, Fever/Dream, Everything You Touch, Roadkill Confidential, Elevada, Bed and Women Laughing Alone with Salad. She is published with Playscripts.com and Samuel French, and several of her collected works are published with Counterpoint Press. She has taught playwriting at Columbia University, The University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Florida State University, and Spalding University. Callaghan is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb and a member of the Obie winning playwright's organization 13P. She is also an alumni of New Dramatists. In 2010, Callaghan was profiled by Marie Claire as one of "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World." She was also named one of Variety magazine's "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010. Callaghan is currently a writer/producer on the hit Showtime comedy Shameless and a founder of the feminist activist group The Kilroys. She was nominated for a 2016 Golden Globe for her work on the Hulu comedy series Casual and a 2017 WGA Award for her Shameless episode "I Am A Storm."

About Theater Wit
Theater Wit, Chicago's "smart art" theater, is a major hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago.

"A thrilling addition to Chicago's roster of theaters" (Chicago Tribune) and "a terrific place to see a show" (New City), Theater Wit is now in its seventh season at its home at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. 

The company's most recent hits include 10 Out of 12 and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, and Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses.

In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater. Theater Wit also brings together Chicago's best storefront companies at its Lakeview home, including 2017-18 resident companies About Face, Kokandy Productions and Shattered Globe.

To receive an "artisanal selection of consonants and vowels from Theater Wit," sign up at TheaterWit.org/mailing for exclusive updates, flash deals and behind-the-scenes production scoop every few weeks.

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Following hit performances of I Am My Own Wife and The Temperamentals, About Face Theatre concludes its 2016-17 Season with the Chicago premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee Tanya Barfield’s contemporary love story BRIGHT HALF LIFE, directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm, playing May 26 – July 1, 2017 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at Theater Wit Box Office. 

 

BRIGHT HALF LIFE will feature AFT Artistic Associate Elizabeth Ledo and Patrese McClain.

 

Off-Broadway hit and winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Best Play, BRIGHT HALF LIFE charts the complexity of commitment, relationships, and marriage as it follows the ups and downs of a modern lesbian couple. Their story is told through a series of fast-moving, fragmented memories – from elevator rides as strangers to steamy workplace romances to heartache to building a family.

 

“I’m excited to feature Tanya Barfield’s work, a fresh counterpoint to this season’s historical pieces,” comments Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff. “Tanya’s language is muscular and sparkles, but it was her inventive structure that captured me.  She’s created a verbal tilt-a-whirl for the audience, echoing the ins and outs of every modern relationship that I think will speak to everyone who’s ever been in love.” 

 

The production team for BRIGHT HALF LIFE includes: AFT Artistic Associate William Boles (scenic design), Melissa Ng (costume design), Chris Binder (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (sound design) and Helen Lattyak (stage manager).

 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

 

Title: BRIGHT HALF LIFE

Playwright: Tanya Barfield

Director: AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm

Cast: Elizabeth Ledo (Erica) and Patrese McClain (Vicky).

 

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Friday, May 26 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 27 at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 28 at 3 pm

Regular run: Friday, June 2 – Saturday, July 1, 2017

Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Wednesday, May 31; there will be an added 3 pm performance on Saturday, July 1 at 3 pm. 

Tickets: Previews: $20 adults, $10 students and seniors. Regular run: $40 adults, $20 students and seniors. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at Theater Wit Box Office.

 

Artist Biographies

 

Tanya Barfield’s (Playwright) Bright Half Life was the winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Drama. Her play Blue Door (South Coast Rep, Playwrights Horizons) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and The Call premiered at Playwrights Horizons in co-production with Primary Stages and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Tanya wrote the book for the Theatreworks/USA children’s musical, Civil War: The First Black Regiment, which toured public schools regionally. Other work includes: Feast (co-writer, Young Vic/Royal Court) and Of Equal Measure (Center Theatre Group), Chat (New Dramatists’ Playtime Festival), The Quick (New York Stage & Film). Short plays include: Medallion (WP Theater/Antigone Project), Foul Play (Royal Court Theatre, Cultural Center of Brazil), The Wolves and Wanting North (Guthrie Theatre Lab, named Best 10-Minute Play of 2003).  A recipient of a Lilly Award, the inaugural Lilly Award Commission and a Helen Merrill Award, Tanya is a proud alumna of New Dramatists and a member of The Dramatist Guild Council.

 

Keira Fromm (Director) is a Jeff Award nominated director, a casting director and a teacher based out of Chicago. Favorite recent directing credits include: How the World Began (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble,) A Kid Like Jake (About Face Theatre), Luce (Next Theatre), Charles Ives Take Me Home (Strawdog), The How and the Why (TimeLine Theatre), Broadsword (Gift Theatre) and Fallow (Steep Theatre). Keira is an Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre. She received her MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University and is a proud member of SDC. She is also a frequent guest director at DePaul as well as the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Keira currently directed the well-received Chicago premiere of The Columnist with American Blues Theater.  

 

About Face Theatre (Andrew Volkoff, Artistic Director) creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Get ready to blast off! About Face Theatre invites guests to the final frontier – space – for an out of this world evening at WONKA BALL: FORBIDDEN PLANET. The company's annual gala will be held Friday, April 21, 2017 at 8 pm (VIP Cocktail Reception at 7 pm) at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling (773) 784-8565. 

At WONKA BALL: FORBIDDEN PLANET, guests are invited to strap on their moon boots and asteroid belts and join AFT on the launch pad to enjoy celestial food and cosmic cocktails – and  celebrate with a supernova of live entertainment, music and dancing. Plus, the stellar silent and live auctions for which Wonka Ball has become known are guaranteed to send you into orbit. Prepare for a close encounter and some serious stargayzing, and join Chicago’s celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and allied (LGBTQIA) theatre as it celebrates its 21st season on this unforgettable evening. 

 

VIP Cocktail Reception

Put it into hyperdrive and get lost in space with About Face for an exclusive reception beginning at 7 pm, where guests and gayliens alike will enjoy early access to the venue and silent auction, free raffle tickets, signature cocktails, culinary treats, and live entertainment courtesy of DJ Circuit Mom. The reception will be hosted by members of AFT's Board of Directors and the evening’s Co-Chairs, Susan Blake & Pat Ewert and Anthony Priore. 

 

The Awards

WONKA BALL also features the presentation of the annual Leppen Leadership Awards. The 2017  recipients include Latinx LGBTQ Organizer Emmanuel García and Equality Illinois. Named for About Face Youth Theatre supporter Michael Leppen, the annual awards recognize one individual and one organization whose efforts have made an enormous impact within Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and allied (LGBTQIA) communities.

 

Additionally, Sandy Nguyen will be honored with the About Face Youth Theatre MVP Award, presented annually to an outstanding youth theatre ensemble member for exceptional service to the company and to the greater LGBTQIA community. 

 

Proceeds from WONKA BALL: FORBIDDEN PLANET will support About Face Theatre’s award-winning mainstage programming and nationally-recognized youth education and outreach program. Since 1995, About Face has created exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity while challenging and entertaining audiences in Chicago and beyond. Support from Wonka Ball enables About Face to thrive as Chicago's celebrated center for LGBTQIA theatre. 

 

EVENT DETAILS:

 

Event: WONKA BALL: FORBIDDEN PLANET 

Date/Time: Friday, April 21 from 8 pm – 11 pm; VIP Cocktail Reception at 7 pm

Location: Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Tickets: General admission: $150. VIP Cocktail Reception: $200. Additional sponsorship packages are available. Tickets are available at www.aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling (773) 784-8565.

 

WONKA BALL: FORBIDDEN PLANET's Honorary Co-Chair is WGN TV/Comcast's Paul Lisnek.

 

WONKA BALL: FORBIDDEN PLANET sponsors include Sidetrack, Venue SIX10, J&L Catering, E. Melone Lifestyle Events, MillerCoors, Arena Americas, FastSigns, GiveSmart, Red Events, CH Distillery, Blown by Bocaj, Halsted Vodka and The A.C.T. Group, Ltd. Restaurant partners include Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue, Vanille Patisserie, Kal'ish Vegan, Petterino's, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Tallboy Taco, Nacional 27, Garrett Popcorn, Whole Foods Market, Edge of Sweetness Bakery, Glazed & Infused, Hamburger Mary’s, Andersonville Brewing and Carnivale, Media sponsors include GRAB Magazine, Windy City Times and OUT Chicago.

 

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming to advance the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago and beyond.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

"The Temperamentals" by Jon Marans makes its Chicago premiere at About Face Theatre. Artistic director Andrew Volkoff revisits this 2009 Off-Broadway play in a critical time for LGBT rights in America. This play was selected for their season long before the election, but serves to remind that the struggle for equality is not over. 

 

"The Temperamentals" refers to a slang term for homosexuals in the 1950s. It tells the true story of the Mattachine Society, the first LGBT rights group in America. Kyle Hatley plays Harry Hay, a closeted college professor working on behalf of gay rights. The Mattachine Society is formed when he meets Rudi Gernreich (Lane Anthony Flores). Gernreich is an up-and-coming designer who escaped the Nazis in Austria. His observations about life under the Third Reich inspires Harry Hay to action. 

 

Maran's script shines in the way it intertwines the historic plotline with authentic relationship dramas between characters. Alex Weisman plays Bob, the promiscuous one, with such sincerity even while cycling through several bit parts. Lane Anthony Flores gives a brave and dynamic peformance as chic European designer Gernreich. Also featuring Rob Lindley and Paul Fagan, About Face has assembled an all-star cast for this vital piece. 

 

Many think that gay activism started at Stonewall, but what "The Temperamentals" documents is the West Coast movement that began in the 1950s. The Mattachine Society was pitched to influential closested homosexuals in Hollywood, like Vincent Minnelli, but failed to garner mainstream interest for fear of blacklisting. Its intention was to decriminalize homosexuality. 

 

Jon Maran's play is sexy and stylish. It echos of Larry Kramer and that's what theater needs right now. It's a nearly three hour wake up call to a generation who takes advantage of the privileges fought for by activism. 

 

Through February 18 at About Face Theatre. Theatre Wit 1229 W Belmont Ave. 

 

Published in Theatre in Review

In 2002, About Face Theater company debuted Doug Wright's play "I Am My Own Wife." It opened on Broadway in 2004, and won both the Pulitzer Prize as well as the Tony award for Best New Play. About Face Theater and director Andrew Volkoff revisit the play twelve years later in an eerily relevant political climate. In it, Wright tells the story of the time he spent in Berlin with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf during the early '90s.

 

Mahlsdorf was the subject of international fame after publishing her autobiography and being awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz by the German government. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf established The Grunderzeit museum, it housed her collection of historical items spanning decades of German history. Her most unique attribute is that she was a transvestite and managed to survive the nazis and the communists.

 

Playwright Doug Wright turned his interview notes into a mostly one-woman show. His character is played here by Scott Duff and functions as the narrator. Charlotte is portrayed by real life transgender actress Delia Kropp. In little stories about the antiques in her museum, Charlotte reveals more about herself. During both authoritarian regimes, gay people were persecuted. Each item is in some way connected to preserving the history of Germany's lgbt community.

 

Volkoff's production is sleek and well dressed. The lighting design by John Kelly adds a nice dimension to this otherwise minimal staging. Delia Kropp gives a fascinating performance. Charlotte labeled herself as a transvestite and never opted for sexual reassignment surgery. Delia portrays her with soft androgyny. Kropp's authenticity in voice and mannerism is striking. Her lengthy passages of monologue illuminate the imagination.

 

It's by no accident About Face selected "I Am My Own Wife" for their season. As the political tides turn, some lgbt communities are worried their legitimacy may be less certain. Doug Wright's play about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf is a reassuring testament to everyday heros. As his character says in the play, "I need to believe this."

 

Through December 10th at Theater Wit - 1229 W Belmont. 773-975-8150.

 

Published in Theatre in Review
Saturday, 13 June 2015 00:00

Review: Abraham Lincoln Was A F*gg*t

What do Michael Jackson and Abraham Lincoln have in common? Playwright Bixby Elliot explores the parallels between the sixteenth president, the king of pop and the landscape for LGBT youth in his new play “Abraham Lincoln was a Faggot” at About Face Theatre.

Elliot’s play follows two intertwining narratives in an attempt to answer the eternal question: was Abraham Lincoln gay? In the present, there is Cal (Matt Farabee), a high schooler coming to terms with his sexuality while trying to prove Lincoln’s orientation. In the past, there is the supposed story of Lincoln’s homosexual love affairs. In between are Cal’s terrified mother (Jessie Fisher) and uncle (Nathan Hosner) who must traverse the uneasy waters of an older generation’s attitude toward homosexuality.

Director Andrew Volkoff brings together a well-equipped cast for this show. Dana Black’s clowning as narrator, historian and Ellen Degeneres will likely be most remembered. She accents and punctuates nearly every scene and it brings a much needed sense of lightness. Jessie Fisher in a duel role as both Mary Todd Lincoln and Cal’s mother balances  eccentricity and subtlety.

Bixby’s script, even if at times extraneous, has a lot of heart and makes a lot of great points about our media obsessed culture. At first the Michael Jackson musical numbers and background tracks seem strangely out of place, but as the show continues the script points to two lives lived under grueling American scrutiny. The author writes from a much more closeted generation than our current times, but still the struggle to live a life that is true to oneself is the ultimate argument. This essential human necessity transcends race, gender, class and sexuality. The script is well-structured and under Volkoff’s direction, has a real sense of emotional authenticity that could be lost in such an inventive concept.

Through July 5th. At the Green House Theatre Center. 2257 N Lincoln Ave. 773-404-7336

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles

  • Review: Machinal at Greenhouse Theater Center
    Written by
    Machinal refers to an automated or mechanical system. Sophie Treadwell's 1929 play "Machinal" takes its styling from this theme. Directed by Jacob Harvey, Greenhouse Theater Center brings this work back to Chicago for the first time in many years. Maybe…
  • "The Rembrandt" begins September 7th with John Mahoney and Francis Guinan
    Written by
    Steppenwolf Theatre Company opens its 42nd Season with the Chicago premiere of The Rembrandt, written by Jessica Dickey and directed by Hallie Gordon. Currently in rehearsals, this subtle and elegant play features ensemble members Francis Guinan as Henry/Rembrandt and John…
  • Latin Paradise - Santana Live at Ravinia
    Written by
    The summer concert season continues at Ravinia. Midsummer brings to the Midwest one of the toughest guitarists on the planet. The act that has graced the stages with the most famous performers at Woodstock has come to Ravinia in Highland…
  • Delbert McClinton - One of the Fortunate Few
    Written by
    I have been waiting to see Delbert McClinton for a while. It just never happened for me…timing, etc. Finally, it happened. I even took my Mom who is as big a fan as I am. Warming up for Delbert was…

Guests Online

We have 42 guests and no members online

Buzz Chicago on Facebook Buzz Chicago on Twitter