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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Stage Door Jonny
by JONATHAN ABARBANEL
2005-04-13

This article shared 1659 times since Wed Apr 13, 2005
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Now that Take Me Out is up and running, EVERY Windy City Times reader probably knows that it features a BIG locker room shower scene with a half-dozen nude athletic actors. It's not sexploitation; the script—which won a Tony Award—requires the scene. At a recent theater conference at which Jonny was a guest panelist, the manager of a large, conservative theater in a southern state reported that his company had produced Take Me Out this season. The company wanted to attract a younger and more alternative audience, even at the calculated risk of offending their older subscribers. The manager said the production was a success, and that he overheard two seventy-something female subscribers in the lobby one day. 'My goodness,' one woman said to the other, 'I've never seen six of them at the same time before!'

Another success of a completely different stripe was last year's production by the Aguijon Theater Company of Bodas de Sangre ( Blood Wedding ) , the 1933 masterwork by gay Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. It ran for five weeks at Aguijon and was revived at the Goodman Theatre as part of the second Latino Theatre Festival. Aguijon will remount their production, performed in the original Spanish, for three performances only this weekend, April 15-17. The Aguijon Theater is at 2707 N. Laramie; ( 773 ) 637-5899; $20.

Jonny doesn't suppose that anyone ever would understand homo milk as shorthand for homogenized milk, but it seems to work for singer/activist Scott Free when dressed up slightly as Homolatte, the weekly Wednesday night program of words and music he's produced and hosted for several years. Big Star Cafe, 1439 W. Jarvis, currently is home base for Homolatte: Queer Words & Music, which presents the talents of one GLBT writer and one musician each week. There's no cover or minimum, although a $5 donation is requested for the performers. The April 20 Homolatte features singer/songwriter Rachael Sage and author Gregg Shapiro, April 27 is the monthly Outmusic Open Mic and May 4 offers Yvonne Zipter and Martine Locke.

About Face Theatre has said goodbye to managing director Christopher Sink, who is returning to the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts so that his longtime partner can take advantage of a distinguished professional opportunity. Sink and partner arrived from the Berkshire region less than two years ago. Sink's tenure at About Face was short but significant. The challenge presented to him was to increase funding for About Face and help put the company on the national map. He succeeded at both, culminating with About Face's participation in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production ( and continuing national tour ) of I Am My Own Wife. Prior to About Face, Sink had been managing director of the much larger Shakespeare and Company ( Lenox, Mass. ) for more than decade, engineering the troupe's successful move to multi-million dollar new quarters.

There's nothing particularly GLBT about Pierre Boulez, as far as Jonny knows. He merely happens to be one of the world's most eminent orchestral conductors and composers, and principal guest conductor of our own Chicago Symphony Orchestra ( CSO ) . In honor of Maestro Boulez's 80th birthday, the CSO has issued a two-disc CD from its archives featuring music performed by the orchestra under the Boulez baton, and recorded in live performances between 1991 and 2000. Selections run the gamut from Bach to contemporary works by Boulez himself, among them orchestral and vocal pieces by Messaien, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Mahler and Janacek. A Tribute to Pierre Boulez is $35 and can be ordered purchased at the CSO's Symphony Store ( 220 S. Michigan ) , by phone, ( 312 ) 294-3345, or online at www.symphonystore.com .

The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus flings into Spring this weekend with Friday and Saturday night concerts at the Athenaeum Theatre, featuring ragtime, doo-wop, vocal jazz standards and scat ( get your minds outta' the gutter, guys ) . In the Mood is the concert title; ( 773 ) 935-6860 or Ticketmaster.

If that's not gay enough for you, the queen herself will be in Chicagoland April 23, direct from the royal nuptials. Yes, Sir Elton John brings his Peachtree Road Tour to the Allstate Arena; ( 312 ) 559-1212.

Finally, Jonny wishes to send birthday greetings to one of his personal gods, William Shakespeare, who turns a remarkably spry 441 on April 23.


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