Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Telling gay WWII history
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2018-01-10

This article shared 830 times since Wed Jan 10, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Yank! A World War II Love Story is a 2010 off-Broadway musical focusing on gay, lesbian and heterosexual U.S. service members of more than 70 ago. The critically acclaimed musical penned by brothers David and Joseph Zellnik has its belated Chicago premiere this month courtesy of Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center.

Music director Robert Ollis saw the York Theatre Company's staging of Yank! eight years ago and wanted to work on it immediately.

"Of course was drawn to the music," said Ollis, highlighting the traditional Broadway sound of the Zellnik score. "But also the story itself is powerful and that's the reason why I love it the best."

"My father was in World War II as an 18-year-old when he started serving, and that's one thing you see with this is how amazing these young guys were thrown into these battles at such an early age," Ollis said. "You get a sense of the diversity and the different experiences the men faced by being in a squad like this."

Although the characters in Yank! are fictional, the musical drew its inspiration from real-life veteran accounts in the late Allan Berubé's 1990 book Coming Out Under Fire, which in turn inspired a film documentary of the same name in 1994. Yank! also takes its title from a weekly service members' magazine of the 1940s.

Yank! focuses on the budding romance between new recruits Stu ( Matthew Huston ) and Mitch ( William Dwyer ). Both are initially uncertain about their sexuality as they go through basic training, but a strong connection develops before they are shipped out to battle in the South Pacific.

Yank! also has a few story detours. One involves a worldly Yank! magazine photographer named Artie ( John Marshalll Jr. ) who schools Stu on big-city gay subculture. There's also an interview with a lesbian military secretary named Louise. It's one of many female roles ranging from longing girlfriends back home to sultry torch-song singers that are all played the cast's sole woman, Molly LeCaptain.

Back in 2010, Yank! was positioned for a Broadway transfer with former Chicago-based director David Cromer at the helm. Yet some of the musical's political urgency fell by the wayside once the Obama administration repealed the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of barring LGBTQ soldiers from openly serving that same year.

The uncertainty around the unfulfilled Broadway transfer of Yank! meant that the regional rights to the show were tied up for some time. ( The show's cast album wasn't released until 2014. ) In the meantime, Pride Films and Plays staged the acclaimed world-premiere musical Under a Rainbow Flag in 2013, which similarly dealt with gay soldiers during WWII.

Pride Films and Plays executive director David Zak admits that the company held off on pursing Yank! since it covered some of the same territory of Under a Rainbow Flag. But now with the current presidential administration's attacks on trans soldiers and the LGBTQ community in general, Zak said the time is right to stage Yank!

"It's weird because we didn't think we'd be doing a piece about war," Zak said. "But you can't help but think about it when Donald Trump tweets every morning."

Zak said there is also a lot of renewed in interest in Yank! since the show had its successful British premiere last year in Manchester and London.

Both Zak and Ollis have enjoyed the rehearsal process with the young company of Yank! Zak has particularly appreciated one cast member who has been free with sharing his own experiences of being openly gay and serving in the military.

Zak and Ollis also admire Yank! For its ability to open a window to a chapter of LGBTQ history that is often neglected in schools.

"While most of the story is about the romance and about the interactions of the squad, there is one part where one of the soldiers is arrested for same-sex activities and encounters intense questioning and harassment and imprisonment," Ollis said. "It brings up some of the more serious consequences that happened to some of the soldiers."

"World War II really changed the landscape," Ollis said. "A lot of people who were growing up in small towns came together and went to big cities and met other people from different parts of the world that they never would have met. It furthered the realization that there was a gay community out there."

Pride Films and Plays' Chicago premiere of Yank! A WWII Love Story runs from Thursday, Jan. 11, through Sunday, Feb. 18, in The Broadway space of the Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Previews run through Sunday, Jan. 14, and are $25. Tickets for the regular run are $30-$40 with discounts available for seniors and students. For more information, visit PrideFilmsAndPlays.com .


This article shared 830 times since Wed Jan 10, 2018
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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'The Prom' out Dec. 11 on Netflix 2020-11-27
- The Prom—a musical-comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin (from their and Matthew Sklar's 2018 Broadway musical of the same name)—will be out on Netflix on Dec. 11. The ...


Gay News

THEATER Harry Lennix to direct Dec. 13 reading of 'Mercy' 2020-11-20
- Northlight Theatre will present an Interplay New Play Development Program reading of Mercy, written by Felicia Oduh and directed by Harry Lennix (known for his acting roles on TV shows such as The Blacklist and Billions ...


Gay News

Play development series seeks new plays authored by artists of color 2020-11-19
--From a press release - (Chicago, IL) Calling all bold, imaginative new plays authored by artists of color for Future Labs—Goodman Theatre's newest artistic program to develop works authored and directed by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI and other artists of co ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre starts 25th season with Kickback online short play fest 2020-11-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Nov 9, 2020) — About Face Theatre kicks off its landmark 25th season with KICKBACK, an online festival of newly commissioned short plays and performances by Black LGBTQ+ artists, inspired by the Rebuild Foundation's collections ...


Gay News

THEATER Lookingglass to present 'Her Honor Jane Byrne' on Nov. 26, 28 2020-11-17
- Lookingglass Theatre Company, in collaboration with WBEZ 91.5 Chicago, will present a world-premiere audio play of Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by Ensemble Member and Mellon Playwright in Residence J. Nicole Brooks. Her Honor ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 1997 version of Anyone Can Whistle out Dec. 4 2020-11-17
- On Sunday, Dec. 4, Jay Records will release a 1997 recording of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, which originally had music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim as well as a book by Arthur Laurents. The production ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag to present Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special 2020-11-13
- CHICAGO (November 12, 2020) — Hell in a Handbag Productions celebrates the holidays with the return of America's favorite funnyman, Rip Nelson (Ed Jones*), in the star-studded world premiere of ...


Gay News

THEATER Pride Arts artistic director resigns; PFP keeps Zak 2020-11-12
- Two controversial developments have occurred at Pride Arts (in which Pride Films & Plays, PFP, is the main tenant). According to a letter from PrideArts President Cheri Tatar that Windy City Times obtained, PFP Artistic Director ...


Gay News

THEATER Andre De Shields to help celebrate youth Dec. 9 2020-11-11
- Andre De Shields—a Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning actor, director and educator, and the 2019 "Triple Crown" winner for his portrayal of Hermes in Hadestown—will be the keynote speaker of the Victory Gardens Theater event "Voices of ...


Gay News

Theater community to offer online plays, musicals, dance, comedy for holidays 2020-11-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL (November 10, 2020)— The Chicago theater community will produce a wide variety of online festive plays, musicals, dance and comedy offerings this Holiday season. Theatre venues in Chicago and across the world remain closed ...


Gay News

A Red Orchid Theatre appoints Travis Knight, Sadieh Rifai to new positions 2020-11-10
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL—A Red Orchid Theatre announces the appointments of Ensemble Member Travis Knight as Associate Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Sadieh Rifai as Artistic Development Coordinator. Ensemble member Shade Murray ...


Gay News

Theater excellence honored with 52nd annual Equity Awards 2020-11-10
--From a press release - Nov. 9, 2020 — CHICAGO — In its 52nd annual celebration of theater excellence, the Jeff Awards has recognized 39 recipients for the 2020 awards, selected from among 142 theater artist nominees across 30 artistic and ...


Gay News

The African American Arts Alliance announces 2020 Black Excellence Awards 2020-11-05
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—The African American Arts Alliance (AAAA) will host the 20th annual Black Excellence Awards, an evening celebrating Black artists, Black voices, and Black stories across artistic disciplines, on November 10, 2020 at 7pm. The 2020 ...


Gay News

OUTspoken Storytelling to host tales from LGBTQ perspectives Nov. 10 2020-11-01
--From a press release - Another exciting OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life's stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Nov. 10, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. ...


Gay News

American Blues Theater to present 19th production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago 2020-11-01
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — American Blues Theater will produce its 199h Annual Production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! from Frank Capra's film and directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside with musical direction by Michael Mahler ...


 



Copyright © 2020 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


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


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.