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PrideArts 2021-22: "The Search for Identity Among Queer Communities"
2021-07-01

This article shared 1641 times since Thu Jul 1, 2021
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CHICAGO — An Australian musical, a comedy-drama from the writer whose play was adapted as the hit movie JUDY, an Uptown holiday celebration, a new Ruth Bader Ginsberg bio, and a fifth play to be announced, will comprise PrideArts' first season under newly appointed Artistic Director Jay Españo. Carrying the theme "The Search for Identity Among Queer Communities," the season will explore the various ways in which queer people define themselves, through the work of writers hailing from England, Australia, and the US. All performances will be held in the Broadway of the Pride Arts Center at 4139 N. Broadway.

The season opener will be the American premiere of THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN by Australian writer Jye Bryant. Bryant's four-character musical introduces us to the mother, father, wife, and ex-boyfriend of a man named Steven. Each of them has a different idea of what they want from Steven and who they think he is. Bryant's original score of 19 songs is performed revue-style, and includes numbers that are witty, sometimes earthy and edgy, and frequently touching. Españo will direct the cast of four. Robert Ollis, whose 2019 music direction of the company's A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE earned him his eighth Jeff Award nomination, will be Music Director. THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN will play from August 19 — September 19. Press opening is Monday, August 23.

Following shortly after the musical will be the Chicago premiere of 4000 DAYS, by the British playwright Peter Quilter, whose Judy Garland stage bio END OF THE RAINBOW was adapted as the Academy Award winning film JUDY. In 4000 DAYS, a gay man awakens from a three-week-long coma to find he's missed out on not only the past three weeks, but also has no memory of the previous 11 years. With his possessive mother and sometimes controlling husband fighting each other to rebuild Michael into the son or husband they would like him to be, Michael must find a way to reclaim his true self. 4000 DAYS will play from September 30 to October 31st, with the press opening on Monday October 4th.

A special holiday program called CHRISTMAS KAROL: AN UPTOWN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY will play from December 11, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Españo is devising a cabaret-like evening of songs and stories that will involve members of the community. Director to be announced.

WHEN THERE ARE NINE, a world premiere dream play by American writer Sally Deering of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's last day on earth, will be given its World Premiere from February 10 through March 13, 2022. Deering's musical DOCTOR SEX, a biography of sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey, had its world premiere at Bailiwick Chicago in 2004 and won seven Jeff Awards. WHEN THERE ARE NINE is set during the final hours of Justice Ginsburg's life, and celebrates her legacy through a series of flashbacks highlighting her landmark cases and her alliance with queer communities. Director to be announced. Press opening is Monday, February 14 at 7:30 pm.

The 2021-22 season will close with a play to be announced that will run from June 2 through July 3, 2022.

Españo says, "My goal is to continue PrideArts' tradition of telling a diversity of queer community stories that not only entertain, but also encourage the audience to reflect on their own views, beliefs and biases."

THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jye Bryant

AMERICAN PREMIERE

Directed by Jay Españo

Music Direction by Robert Ollis

August 19 — September 19, 2021

Thursdays — Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Additional performance Wednesday, September 1 at 7:30 pm

Previews August 19 — 22, 2021

PRESS OPENING Monday, August 23, 2021, at 7:30 pm

The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

General admission $30.00 More information at www.pridearts.org

In this sung-through musical by Australian composer/lyricist/playwright Jye Bryant, the four most important people in one man's life struggle to communicate meaningfully with him and really know him. We learn all about him through the disclosures of his wife, mother, father, and ex-boyfriend. In Bryant's 19 witty and touching original songs, the characters share intimate details about their life with Steven and the things they fail to tell him. Through their disclosures, we learn that Steven may have as much trouble knowing himself as the others have in understanding him.

4000 DAYS

by Peter Quilter

CHICAGO PREMIERE

Directed by Jay Españo

September 30 — October 31, 2021

Thursdays — Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm (except Sunday, October 3), Additional performance Wednesday, October 27 at 7:30 pm

Previews September 30 — October 2, 2021

PRESS OPENING Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7:30 pm

The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

Michael has been in a coma for three weeks with his mother Carol and his well-meaning partner, Paul watching over him in the hospital. When Michael awakens from the coma, they realize that 11 years - 4000 days - of his memory have been completely erased. He remembers nothing of Paul. It is as though the relationship never existed. Paul fights to bring Michael's memory back, while Carol strived to have Michael all to herself. In this comedy-drama from the author of END OF THE RAINBOW, Michael must learn again who he was, who he really is, and where Paul and Carol fit in his life.

CHRISTMAS KAROL: AN UPTOWN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY

Devised By Jay Españo

WORLD PREMIERE

Director to be announced

December 11, 2021 — January 2, 2022

Wednesdays — Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm (No performances December 20 - 28)

PRESS OPENING Monday, December 13 at 7:30 pm

The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

Karol, a jaded cafe owner and former social worker must face the night she dreads the most: the Annual Christmas Carol concert at her cafe. As she prepares, she talks to the audience and welcomes carolers from around the city. By the end of the night the audience gets to know her real issue.

WHEN THERE ARE NINE

By Sally Deering

WORLD PREMIERE

Director to be announced

February 10 - March 13, 2022

Thursdays — Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, Additional performance Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 7:30 pm

Previews February 10 —13, 2022

PRESS OPENING Monday, February 14, 2022, at 7:30 pm

The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

A dream play of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's last day on earth, by American writer Sally Deering. This biographical play offers insights into her life through a series of flashbacks highlighting her landmark cases, and her alliance with queer communities.

PLAY TO BE ANNOUNCED

June 2 — July 3, 2022

BIOS

Jay Españo (Artistic Director, Director THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN and 4000 DAYS, concept CHRISTMAS KAROL) Born in Manila, The Philippines, he joined the prestigious Tanghalang Pilipino's Actors Company in 1998, where he trained with acclaimed Filipino director Nonon Padilla.

He acted in several commercials, television series and films. Notably, he was a regular cast member of Koko KwikKwak - a spin-off of Batibot (Philippine SESAME STREET).He toured The Philippines with that show's mascots, performing for kids throughout the country. In 2000, Jay was one of many Filipino actors who were cast in the Action Theater Singapore's hit musical CHANG AND ENG, which toured Asia for several years.

Since moving to the Chicago area, Jay has worked with storefront theater companies such as Silk Road Rising, Prologue, Ghostlight, Halcyon, and PrideArts. He has played the role of the King in Rodgers and Hammerstein's THE KING AND I with various theater companies in the US and in Canada.

Robert Ollis (Music Director, THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN) served as Music Director for PrideArts' productions of A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, SOUTHERN COMFORT, YANK!: A WW II LOVE STORY, THE NANCE, PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE BOY FROM OZ, SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED, A HISTORY OF SUMMER and THE BOOK OF MERMAN, plus the premiere of Leo Schwartz's award-winning UNDER A RAINBOW FLAG. He served as Music Director for Underscore Theatre's musical HAYMARKET: A NEW FOLK MUSICAL.

Robert received a Jeff Award for musical direction of KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, in addition to his nominations for seven other shows. Robert is the music director and co-creator of JUDY AND LIZA: THE LONDON PALLADIUM CONCERT — A TRIBUTE and accompanies other notable cabaret performers in New York City and Chicago venues.

Jye Bryant (Composer, Lyricist, Bookwriter THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN) Jye Bryant is a composer, lyricist, and musical theater author based in Sydney Australia. His compositions are performed regularly on cabaret circuits, where he has gained popularity as the composer of choice for many international artists. Some of his work to date includes: THE THINGS I COULD NEVER TELL STEVEN, IN GOD WE CRUST, SEMPRE LIBERA, THE OLDEST PROFESSION, GOLD DIGGER NIGHTS, THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, IN BED WITH JYE (& FRIENDS), RAINBOW TEARS, ALADDIN GOES TO AFRICA, PETER PAN, CINDERELLA MEETS HER PRINCE, SLEEPING BEAUTIFULLY and many more.

Peter Quilter (Playwright, 4000 DAYS) Peter Quilter's plays have been presented in major theatres in over 40 countries around the world and translated into 30 languages. His Judy Garland biographical play, END OF THE RAINBOW, ran on Broadway in 2012, received three Tony Award ® nominations and was adapted as the Academy Award-winning film JUDY. Quilter has additionally had three successful plays in London's West End and has twice been nominated for the Olivier Award.

Sally Deering (Playwright, WHEN THERE ARE NINE)

Sally will be remembered by Chicago theater lovers for her musical DR. SEX, which was produced by Bailiwick Repertory and earned seven Jeff Awards in Chicago. From there moved Off Broadway to the Peter Norton Theater. In addition to her playwriting, Sally has written and directed ten short films, including IMPASSE, which won Best Comedy Screenplay at the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival in 2019; and AUNT SADIE LOVED A LADY, which was named Audience Favorite at the Barrymore Film Center's Short Film Festival in February. Early experiences in Sally's writing career include the 13 years she spent as a weekly columnist and daily features writer for THE JERSEY JOURNAL, where she earned writing awards including Best Columnist in New Jersey from the NJ Press Association. Sally has written two novellas that are available on Kindle. She holds a bachelor's degree in Media Arts from New Jersey City University.

ABOUT PRIDEARTS

PrideArts tells queer stories on a variety of platforms, including both live and virtual performances. Since its founding in 2010, PrideArts has had several chapters, including operating as an itinerant theater for their first six seasons, and as the developer and primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center from 2016-21. The newest post-COVID chapter is still in development.

Pre-COVID, the company produced full seasons of plays and musicals, as well as events including cabaret, film, and more. The company has earned 39 Jeff Awards and nominations, and six nominations in the most recent (2019) ALTA Awards from the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago. Programming has reflected the diversity of the queer community by including work made by and illuminating the experiences of women, gay men, transgender people, and BIPOC.

PrideArts is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago's City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.

PrideArts is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. PrideArts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northalsted Business Association, Lakeview East, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatre.

For more information and to donate, visit www.pridearts.org or call 1.773 857 0222.


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