Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



NUNN ON ONE: THEATER George Wendt shows the 'Funny' in Skokie
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 3113 times since Tue Oct 20, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Actor George Wendt continues to make a name for himself onstage and screen, and his latest endeavor has him returning to his roots in the Midwest. Being an alumnus of Second City paid off him before eventually landing the part of Norm on the TV show Cheers—and he appeared on all 275 episodes.

He's played gay several times, including a closeted role in Finding Providence and, most recently, on a TBS sitcom, Clipped, that debuted this year.

Set in 1959, Northlight Theatre's production of Funnyman now has Wendt starring as Chick Sherman, a comic who is trying to revive his career.

Windy City Times: What was your journey to being in Funnyman?

George Wendt: I couple of years ago, the director BJ Jones told me that he had commissioned the play, with Bruce Graham [as] the playwright. This is Bruce's fourth world premiere here. When the first draft was done, BJ sent it to me. I was floored and really liked it. There were more drafts and little by little it got done.

WCT: Your character, Chick, is based on a couple of real-life people?

GW: More than just two. Primarily, the two you are thinking of are Buster Keaton and Bert Lahr. There is also some Charles Laughton in there.

WCT: The character is so multilayered. How was the rehearsal process?

GW: I don't want to sound like a cliche, but so much of it was just learning the words. That took a couple of week's rehearsal then by the third week we were starting to pull some things together. The words started making some sense after that.

WCT: Celebrities still have demands like in this show.

GW: Yes, the riders still have not changed.

WCT: But, basically, many celebrities just want to be loved, like Chick.

GW: That is so sad but true.

WCT: Did you identify with the character possibly with being pigeonholed in your career?

GW: Yes, lots of things. I strive to not be an asshole like Chick Sherman is. I don't have that in common with him. People obviously remember me from Cheers playing Norm and they remember Chick as the Mad Hatter. I really relate to not being there for my kids because I was out of town working. That hit home with me and I am sure hits home with my kids, too.

WCT: Being from the South Side of Chicago, how does it feel to be in Chicago again?

GW: It is great to be home. I had some family here at tonight's show.

WCT: How was the Clipped experience?

GW: It was so much fun. God, I hope we get picked up! It was like stepping into a comfortable pair of shoes. It is a multi-cam sitcom but so raunchy! In the last few decades television has gotten way raunchier. I can't believe some of the stuff we got away with. I got to smoke a vape over by the barber chair. My boss, Dan, asks if I can take another client but to not smoke. I said something like, "If you think it's weed, then it isn't!"

WCT: What was the reaction to the [same-sex] marriage?

GW: It was phenomenal. Max Mutchnick, one of our main writers, was so proud of that. It was right when things were coming down.

WCT: What was the process of becoming Edna Turnblad in Hairspray like?

GW: Oddly, not that involved. I got to show up right at half hour. It was ludicrous when they asked to fit me for the fat suit. I asked, "Have you seen any photos of me? I don't need a fat suit." They wanted me to have a big ol' woman's booty and, of course, the breasts. That took about three minutes to get into. I just sat there in a chair and they did my hair.

If you recall from the show, Edna looks like shit the first time you see her. She is the scraggly woman with no makeup except for the huge eyebrows. I had to shave my eyebrows and draw them in at the time. Throughout the show, you get bumped up. I had a complete makeup and wardrobe change in "Welcome to the '60s." It was quite an operation, with eight dressers.

WCT: How many drinks have you been offered for free after being on Cheers?

GW: 8,912!

Find the Funnyman now until Oct. 25 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie. Tickets are at and 847-673-6300 .

This article shared 3113 times since Tue Oct 20, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight 2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf's 'Bug' running Nov. 11-Dec. 12 2021-09-22
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company will welcome audiences back for in-person performances for the first time in 20 months with its acclaimed revival of Bug by ensemble member Tracy Letts, in the Downstairs Theater on Nov. 11-Dec. 12. ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow' available for download 2021-09-21
- It's Pompeii meets Heathers as New American Folk Theatre continues its "season of audio theatre" with a new studio recording of its 2018 hit comedy Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow. The production was written by ...

Gay News

Congo Square Theatre Co. announces new Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff 2021-09-20
- Congo Square Theatre Company, an African American theater company, announced that longtime company member Ericka Ratcliff will serve as its new artistic director, effective immediately. Ratcliff becomes only the fourth ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf presenting three Tracy Letts virtual works Sept. 29-Oct. 24 2021-09-18
- Leading up to ensemble member Tracy Letts' production Bug returning this November to Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, the company is bringing audiences a sampler of the playwright's voice to their homes with a trio of new virtual ...

Gay News

Frank Ferrante to return as 'Groucho' for one night 2021-09-15
- Actor/director Frank Ferrante returns to his internationally heralded stage performance for one night only in "An Evening With Groucho" on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Spiegeltent ZaZou, on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago ...

Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...

Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...

Gay News

First Floor Theater announces 2021-22 season 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 13, 2021) — First Floor Theater is excited to announce their ninth live-production season, featuring one world premiere and one Chicago premiere, along with a second round of The Blueprint Commission, it' new ...

Gay News

AstonRep Theatre Company announces 2021-22 season: 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this fall, kicking off with a revival of Yasmina Reza's frenetic dark comedy God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Dear Mom, I'm Gay!' on Oct. 1-2 2021-09-11
- Dear Mom, I'm Gay!—a workshop of a new musical by David Dilsizian—is running at The Jarvis Square Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1; and 2 and ...

Gay News

Saint Sebastian Players to perform four shows during 40th season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - The Saint Sebastian Players (SSP) announce the company is resuming live, in-person production with an expanded 40th Anniversary Season. The four-play lineup celebrates genres that have been popular with SSP ...

Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for 2021-22 season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater announces their 2021/2022 Season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: Queen of the Night by travis tate, the ...

Gay News

Broken Nose Theatre presenting Black LGBTQ drama 'Kingdom' Oct. 4-24 2021-09-10
- Broken Nose Theatre is launching its tenth season with an audio adaptation of its hit 2018 play Kingdom, written by resident playwright Michael Allen Harris and directed by Manny Buckley. Kingdom features ensemble members RjW Mays ...

Gay News

DANCE Ensemble Espanol to open Auditorium Theatre season Oct. 16 2021-09-10
- Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will return to the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The company will mark the finale performance of its 45th-anniversary "Zafiro Flamenco ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.