Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

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

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Coming soon: More 'Sweet Tea'
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2015-05-20

This article shared 2701 times since Wed May 20, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


A lot of Southerners will argue about the perfect recipe or the proper method for making sweet tea. In a similar vein, professor/playwright/performer Dr. E. Patrick Johnson has made many adjustments in his pursuit of finding the right formula for his stage play based upon his award-winning 2008 scholarly book titled Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.

"We've had various permutations of the show and it has really grown," said Johnson, who is bringing Sweet Tea back to the Chicago area for a run at Northwestern University in Evanston at the end of May. "One of the ways that it has grown is that my own story as a gay Black man has framed the play now such that my story is sort of the conceit of the show."

"Patrick's work is so rich. But when you read his scholarly book, none of the men are talking to each other, so I thought in performance it could actually be a conversation between the men because they are all part of a community," said Jane M. Saks, the president and artistic director of the socially conscious non-profit collective known as Project&. "And then of course adding the richness of Patrick's story and narrative to make an even deeper conversation."

Johnson originally intended Sweet Tea just to be a printed collection of narratives from Southern Black men. But along with the encouragement of Saks, Johnson refashioned his book so that the stories could come alive by being performed aloud. Saks has continued to champion Sweet Tea because it is one of those rare instances where a scholar is actually staging his research. But finding that right mix for the stage has been a continuous adjustment.

An early adaptation was titled Pouring Tea and was simply performed in the manner of reader's theater. Later, the retitled Sweet Tea became a more fully realized staging in a 2010 Chicago co-production by About Face Theatre at the former Viaduct Theatre complete with an onstage tree coated in Spanish moss and hanging illuminated jars. This production later played the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va.

Understandably, Sweet Tea has had to become more simplified scenically as Johnson and Saks have toured the show extensively throughout the country, most recently in Los Angeles. But Johnson feels Sweet Tea digs a lot deeper now, especially since he says there is much more sugar in the show's recipe now.

"In this version, sugar takes on a more symbolic role connecting to all the different ways that sugar is connected to African Americans in this country from historically working on sugar cane plantations to sugar being a part of folklore," Johnson said. "Also sugar being a euphemism for diabetes which also plagues African-American communities to sugar being part of all of the rituals that happen in the play. It's not sugar for sugar's sake, it is sugar with a purpose—and of course some of the terms that are used to describe gay people like 'sugar in the tank.'"

Not only is Project& helming the Evanston return of Sweet Tea, but also its upcoming tour to the National Black Theatre Festival this August in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Saks said this engagement is particularly important, since queer works haven't typically been staged at the festival.

Although Johnson has his hands full with touring Sweet Tea, he's also in the midst of creating a companion text called Honey Pot, which is about the lives of Southern Black lesbians. It's a subject that Johnson didn't feel qualified to tackle as a man. Johnson also thought that once his Sweet Tea book was published, another colleague would pick up the mantle for her own scholarly book on lesbians.

"But it didn't happen," Johnson said. "I kept having women come to see Sweet Tea and during the Q&A session saying, 'When are you going to write our stories?' or 'When are you going to do Pink Lemonade?'—which I did consider for a title."

Johnson was understandably nervous about being able to get women to open up to him with their life stories—particularly if there were histories of sexual violence perpetrated by men.

"I did 77 interviews for Sweet Tea, but I did 81 for Honey Pot," Johnson said. "So they outtalked the men. So my plan this summer is to finish the book and to really start to think about a script."

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South plays May 28-June 7 at Northwestern University's Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theatre, 1949 Campus Dr., Evanston. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays with 2 p.m. matinees Sundays ( no show Saturday, May 30 ). Tickets are $15; $10 for seniors and students. Visit www.projectand.org or www.communication.northwestern.edu/wirtz/special_events .


This article shared 2701 times since Wed May 20, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Theater review: This Wide Night 2021-10-17
- Title: This Wide Night. Playwright: Chloe Moss At: Shattered Globe Theatre/Interrobang Theatre Project at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $25-$45; SGTheatre.org. Runs through: Nov. 13 The landlord calls ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

THEATER Broken Nose presenting looter drama 'Primer' Nov. 15-Dec. 5 2021-10-15
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, will run the world premiere audio drama Primer, described in a release as "a deeply honest look at the prioritization of property over people. Ensemble member Spenser Davis wrote ...


Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...


Gay News

THEATER Rivendell's '8:46' to run Oct. 21-23, stream Nov. 1 2021-10-12
- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced 8:46 (Breathing Room), a new play festival of four commissioned plays each eight ...


Gay News

COMEDY Janeane Garofalo at The Den Theatre on Nov. 19-20 2021-10-12
- The Den Theatre will present comedian Janeane Garofalo for four performances on Nov. 19-20 (at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night) on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Garofalo has had many memorable and critically ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6 2021-10-12
- Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

THEATER 'I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce' returns Nov. 5 2021-10-08
- Theatre 68 and the Venus Cabaret Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave., announced the return of the critically acclaimed production, I'm Not A Comedian… I'm Lenny Bruce, to Chicago beginning Friday, Nov. 5. Ronnie Marmo wrote and ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Songs for Nobodies 2021-10-07
- Title: Songs for Nobodies. Playwright: Joanna Murray-Smith At: Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. Tickets: $30-$89. Runs through: Sunday, Oct. 31 You won't find their names in the history ...


Gay News

Chicago Inclusion Project offers anti-racism workshops for arts organizations 2021-10-05
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—The staff of The Chicago Inclusion Project is excited to launch a new workshop and continuum developed by staff members Jessica Vann and Arti Ishak. The workshop, entitled "Being Anti-Racist: An Active Action," is designed ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW: American Mariachi 2021-10-02
- Title: American Mariachi. Playwright: Jose Cruz Gonzalez At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: $25-$98; GoodmanTheatre.org. Runs through: Oct. 24 From the first moment, when a shrill "grito" proclaims the commencement of a Mariachi bolero, ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Thirteen Days 2021-09-29
- Thirteen Days. adapted by Brian Pastor from the book by Robert F. Kennedy At: City Lit Theatre at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1030 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Tickets: $27-$32. Runs through: Oct. 24 Palace Intrigue has been ...


Gay News

THEATER 'The Last Pair of Earlies' running Oct. 27-Dec. 12 at Raven 2021-09-28
- Raven Theatre, Chicago's newest Equity-affiliated theatre, is welcoming back audiences this fall with the world premiere of Joshua Allen's The Last Pair of Earlies, directed by Wardell Julius Clark. This new drama—which follows the hardships ...


Gay News

Next OUTspoken 'Storytelling Night' Oct. 5 2021-09-27
--From a press release - Six Chicagoans will tell compelling stories with a LGBTQ+ perspective when another OUTspoken "Storytelling Night" takes place Tuesday, Oct. 5, starting at 7 p.m., at Sidetrack Bar, 3349 N. Halsted St. All attendees must be masked ...


 



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.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


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.