Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



THEATER Chicago's City Lit has anxiety on tap with 'Two Hours in a Bar'
by Scott C. Morgan

This article shared 6906 times since Thu Mar 21, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Two Hours in a Bar

Waiting for Tina Meyer by Kristine Thatcher with material by Larry Shue

Text Me by Kingsley Day (Book, Music and Lyrics). At: City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.. Tickets: 773-293-3682 or; $34. Runs through April 21

Might City Lit Theater's Two Hours in a Bar lead to a string of future community theater licensing deals? If so, this show that conjoins a world-premiere musical onto a piece of '80s theatrical archeology could become a lasting theatrical legacy of outgoing City Lit producer and artistic director Terry McCabe.

Two Hours in a Bar is a double bill of comic one acts, which both deal with nervous romantic rendezvouses tinged with mystery. Up front is the "world stage premiere" of Waiting for Tina Meyer, while the contemporary gay dating musical Text Me rounds out the show.

At least one "big-name" author is attached, and he would undoubtedly attract attention from many a community theater producer scheduling upcoming theater seasons. But this playwright can't be given a top billing.

Waiting for Tina Meyer is credited to resident City Lit playwright Kristine Thatcher with material by Larry Shue (emphasis added). That's right! Larry Shue, the late author of the oft-produced hit stage comedies The Nerd and The Foreigner, previously teamed up with Thatcher back in their acting days at Milwaukee Rep to create Waiting for Tina Meyer.

In a recent interview with the Lansing State Journal, Thatcher said the estate of Larry Shue contractually insisted that she take top billing for their collaboration (Shue perished in a commuter airplane crash in 1985). Yet Thatcher said the billing really should be reversed, since she credits Shue with most of the work on what originated as an agent-requested script for the TV sitcom One Day at a Time.

The shortness of Waiting for Tina Meyer is likely what helped to keep it stuck on the shelf all these years. So, City Lit came up with a solution by commissioning Kingsley Day (Aztec Human Sacrifice, Tour de Farce) to write the book, music and lyrics to Text Me, which also deploys a five-member ensemble to appear in a similar tavern setting.

Waiting for Tina Meyer is set on New Year's Eve in a Connecticut Irish bar as two heterosexual actors in a touring musical await a woman who slipped a stage-door note to one of them during that evening's performance. Anticipation is also what fuels Text Me, which centers around a gay guy anticipating an IRL date from a torso-only online chatter.

Director McCabe's pairing of Waiting for Tina Meyer with Text Me is largely fun and fluffy, if a tad lightweight in the drama department (particularly in Day's Text Me, which echoes the 2013 Broadway musical First Date a little too strongly).

McCabe's casting for Two Hours in a Bar also isn't always ideal. Only some performers rise to the necessary character acting challenges of both a cuddly sitcom-style romantic comedy and a contemporary musical where the songs emerge from smart phone text messages.

Jimmy Hogan gets the flashiest acting opportunities, and is the most successful of pulling off both the narcissistic and chauvinistic star actor Walter in Waiting for Tina Meyer and the very tall and hook-up mishap-prone Ian in Text Me. Hogan is a delight in both pieces as he confidently inhabits his very different characters.

Kat Evans is also doubly great, particularly with her lovely singing voice as Ian's escape-plan gal pal in Text Me. Evans also provides wry comic support as the boss bartender Robin who revels in Thatcher and Shue's rejoiners to many of Walter's unsolicited flirtations.

Playing widowed characters in Waiting for Tina Meyer, marssie Mencotti and Freddy Mauricio don't quite plumb the necessary dramatic depths of Thatcher and Shue's script. Yet Mencotti is far more comfortable as an eccentric billed in Waiting for Tina Meyer as "The Lady" versus Mauricio as the anxious character actor Bob.

And like Mauricio, Shraman Ghosh needs to find more of an effortless quirkiness to the bar pianist Carl in Waiting for Tina Meyer. Mencotti's klutziness as "The Manager" in Text Me also would have been more believable if the show's uncredited sound designer had aurally illustrated the loud sound effects of her stockroom accidents with an offstage speaker rather than one pointed directly at the audience.

Right now, it's an unknown whether this conjoined creation of Waiting for Tina Meyer and Text Me will have the historic lasting power of other double bills (the famous operatic pairings of Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana is scenically referenced via a Pavarotti poster in Text Me). But despite some minor imperfections, City Lit's Two Hours in a Bar (which ironically has a running time shorter than its title) is unquestionably a charmer. For less than two hours, Two Hours in a Bar is time well spent.

This article shared 6906 times since Thu Mar 21, 2024
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Celine Dion, 'The People's Joker,' Billy Porter, Patti LuPone, 'Strange Way' 2024-04-19
- I Am: Celine Dion will stream on Prime Video starting June 25, according to a press release. The film is described as follows: "Directed by Academy Award nominee Irene Taylor, I Am: Celine Dion gives us ...

Gay News

Kokandy Productions now accepting submissions for Chicago Musical Theater Fest returning Aug. 8-11 2024-04-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO (April 18, 2024) — Kokandy Productions is pleased to open submissions for the 2024 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, returning this summer following a four-year hiatus. Kokandy is thrilled to ...

Gay News

THEATER Blue in the Right Way's 'Women Beware Women' offers feminist, trans take on a troubling Jacobean tragedy 2024-04-18
- "Problematic" is a great go-to adjective to describe Women Beware Women. This 1621 Jacobean tragedy is by English playwright Thomas Middleton, who is probably best remembered as a collaborator with William Shakespeare on their pessimistic tragedy ...

Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago announces programs for May 17-19 season finale 2024-04-17
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) announced program selections for Spring Series: Of Joy, the final installment of Season 46, Abundance. The engagement will include four unique works, once ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ film fest Queer Expression to feature Alexandra Billings in 'Queen Tut' 2024-04-12
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Pride Film Fest celebrates its second decade with a new name—QUEER EXPRESSION—and has announced its slate of LGBTQ+-themed feature, mid-length and short films for in-person and virtual events in April and May. QUEER EXPRESSI ...

Gay News

Open Space Arts's COCK offers a complex but compelling take on relationships 2024-04-08
By Brian Kirst - Premiering in 2009, Mike Bartlett's COCK was a comic revelation, exploring notions about fluidity and sexual labelling long before they became commonplace discussions. Granted, conversations about these issues will always ...

Gay News

Jeff Awards launches submission period for Impact Awards 2024-04-06
- The Jeff Awards announced the opening period for applications submissions for its 2024 honors to help inspire early career artists of color in the Greater Chicagoland area. Two recipients will be selected for awards of $10,000 ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Outfest, Chita Rivera, figure skaters, letter, playwright dies 2024-04-05
- For more than four decades, Outfest has been telling LGBTQ+ stories through the thousands of films screened during its annual Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival—but that event may have a different look this year because ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Dionne Warwick, OUTshine, Ariana DeBose, 'Showgirls,' 'Harlem' 2024-03-29
Video below - Iconic singer Dionne Warwick was honored for her decades-long advocacy work for people living with HIV/AIDS at a star-studded amfAR fundraising gala in Palm Beach, per the Palm Beach Daily News. Warwick received the "Award of ...

Gay News

WORLD Israel court, conversion therapy, death sentences, Georgia bill, fashion items 2024-03-29
- Israel's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Population Authority must register female couples as mothers on the birth certificates of their children they have together, The Washington Blade reported. The decision was made following a petition ...

Gay News

City Lit Executive Artistic Director Brian Pastor talks theater, comics, queerness 2024-03-26
- City Lit Theater has announced its programming for the 2024-25 season—which will be the company's 44th. It will also be the first season to be programmed under the leadership of Brian Pastor (they/them), who will assume ...

Gay News

The Jeff Awards announces the 50th anniversary awards for non-equity theater 2024-03-26
--From a press release - A complete list of recipients can also be found online in the Non-Equity and News and Events sections at (March 25, 2024 - Chicago) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater, the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer musicians, Marvel situation, Elliot Page, Nicole Kidman 2024-03-21
- Queer musician Joy Oladokun released the single "I Wished on the Moon," from Jack Antonoff's official soundtrack for the new Apple TV+ series The New Look, per a press release. The soundtrack, ...

Gay News

Jamie Barton brings nuances of identity to her Lyric Opera 'Aida' performance 2024-03-18
- Chicago's Lyric Opera is currently featuring a production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida starring Michelle Bradley as Aida, Jamie Barton as Amneris and Russell Thomas as Radamès. The opera runs through April 7, 2024, with Francesca Zambello ...

Gay News

Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez is set to slay at The Big Gay Cabaret 2024-03-05
- Out and proud performer Jai Rodriguez is set to play at The Big Gay Cabaret this March for three days. Presented by RuPaul Drag Racer Ginger Minj, this monthly series highlights the wide world of cabaret ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.