Pictured Robert O'Hara
Whether George Bush likes it or not, it will be a gay spring in many parts of the country as GayCo sells its collective ass across the nation. That's Jonny's uncharacteristically crude way of telling you, gentle readers, that our town's GLBT sketch comedy troupe, GayCo, will be leaving soon on a national tour of its hit show, Weddings of Mass Destruction. You may recall that the show was a considerable success last season, delighting straight as well as GLBT audiences and critics. It was produced by The Second City, which has used its marketing clout to take GayCo's show on the road. Jonny doesn't have the precise dates of the tour, nor the schedule, but Jonny is sure that our good friends of GayCo will see all the hottest spots in Kansas, West Texas, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming. Congratulations and break a leg!
Our town's sizzling cabaret scene shows no signs of cooling down, not even amid winter's chill. Even the City of Chicago is getting into the act, sponsoring Just Say Cabaret as one of its Winter Delights weekends, tomorrow through Sunday ( Jan. 27-30 ) . The program offers numerous free or low-cost ( even at Davenport's, where the cover will be only $2 ) cabaret treats at venues swank and not-so-swank, among them the Drake Hotel's Coq d'Or, the Chestnut Grill and Wine Bar, Red Head Piano Bar, the Water Tower Visitor Center, the Cultural Center, Millennium Park, Frankie J's on Broadway and even at the Chicago Children's Museum!
Many familiar cabaret faves will perform as part of Just Say Cabaret, among them Beckie Menzie, Tom Michael, The Weird Sisters, Daryl Nitz and George Howe, John Eskola, the legendary Audrey Morris, Claudia Hommel, Nan Mason, Spider Saloff and more. This is a great opportunity to see many top acts for nothing, or for the price of a drink or two. Jonny urges cabaret-lovers, music-lover and drunks to take full advantage.
Details at www.877chicago.com . One very special program will be this Saturday's tribute to brilliant American popular songwriter Harold Arlen, whose centenary is being celebrated this year. The 3-5 p.m. concert at the Cultural Center is 100% free and features a line-up of the best to sing some great Arlen songs, among them 'Get Happy' and 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.
The cabaret scene continues in February. Among other delights, actor/singer Scott Montgomery offers a new show at Davenport's on Fridays in February. Calling is Brand Spankin', Montgomery and music director Dan Stetzel promise material not usually heard in a cabaret context by a new generation of songwriters, among them Melanie, Tom Waits and Susan Werner 'and other really cool kids.' Cover is $15 with a two-drink minimum.
Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago is giving a gay twist to its upcoming production of Closer Than Ever, the couples musical by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire. The five-character show focuses on mature relationships, commenting with care or bite on second marriages, aging, mid-life crisis and role reversals with parents. For this production, director Nick Bowling has decided to make one of the characters gay, which will give different shades of meaning to his songs. Rob Lindley will portray the diva. Closer Than Ever runs at Theatre Building Chicago Jan. 30-March 13.
The Theatre School at DePaul University is going gay and Black to honor African-American History Month in February. The school will present Insurrection: Holding History by out Black playwright Robert O'Hara. The powerful and imaginative 1996 play follows a gay, African-American graduate student of today who travels back in time to participate in Nat Turner's Rebellion, the infamous slave revolt of 1831, the failure of which resulted in even harsher and more restrictive treatment of many slaves. Insurrection: Holding History will be performed Feb. 11-20 at the Merle Reskin Theatre downtown.