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 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Love, magic combine for gay seniors of Kingdom
by Catey Sullivan
2018-03-07

This article shared 1455 times since Wed Mar 7, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


At the heart of Michael Alan Harris' new play Kingdom, there are two people you rarely see on center stage.

From Aeschylus to August Wilson and beyond, theatergoers won't find many AARP-eligible gay men of color. In Kingdom, Arthur and Henry are seventysomething partners of some 50 years, survivors of the Stonewall Era, the AIDS pandemic and decade after decade of multi-pronged discrimination.

"The stories of these men aren't told," said Harris, 29. "I don't want men like Arthur and Henry to leave this world without having someone try to acknowledge their existence, their stories."

Running through March 31 at the Den Theatre, the Broken Nose Theatre production is directed by Kanome Jones and features Christopher K. McMorris as Henry as well as Watson Swift as Arthur.

"I know I wanted to write a story about gay African-Americans and a play about elderly people because those people are so often invisible onstage, completely subtracted from the narrative," said Harris. "It's like when you turn 60, you're largely forgotten about. But people over 60 fall in love. They have things to say."

Kingdom's plot follows two generations of African-Americans. As Henry and Arthur debate the pros and cons of getting married half-a-century into their relationship, their gay son Alexander (Michael Mejia-Beal) struggles with his relationship with a closeted NFL player (Byron Coolie). The family's story also includes Phaedra (RjW Mays), a plain-spoken lesbian and a devoted grandmother who wants nothing more than to play a part in her baby granddaughter's life.

Harris made it a priority to show that LGBTQ characters are not a unified monolith. As Phaedra puts it, "LGBTQ is a umbrella. We all up under it, but that don't mean we all in the same storm."

"We don't all navigate the world the same way," said Harris. "As a cisgender gay man, I don't have the same struggles a transwoman or a lesbian. I wanted to show that we don't have the same struggles, and how different generations deal with being gay; Arthur and Henry came up during the AIDS epidemic, during the very beginning of gay rights [advocacy].

"Their son is living openly as a gay man at a point in his life that they couldn't, not without putting themselves in danger. Alex can get married legally if he wants to.

"For Henry, gay people getting married is like inventing a new color. He can't even imagine it. He doesn't know what to do with this right he should have always had—now that he has it? He's not sure how to even cope with it," Harris said.

Bringing the NFL into the story adds yet another layer. "Michael Sam was all over the news when I was writing Kingdom," said Harris of the first openly gay NFL draftee. "His situation was intriguing to me. A big part of my research was looking at the history of sports players who identify as LGBTQ.

"Sports—especially football—is such a hypermasculine realm. It's difficult for a lot of people to conceive of someone being athletic and gay at same time," Harris said.

Struggles and all, Harris defines Kingdom as a dramedy.

"I definitely didn't want to make this a play about the woes and sorrows of gay people. I wanted these characters to enjoy living their lives. Really messed up things happen in real life, and we find ways to laugh at them," he said.

Part of the lightness within Kingdom comes from its setting. The play unfolds within spitting distance of Orlando's Walt Disney World, long branded as "the happiest place on Earth." As the title suggests, the Magic Kingdom plays a huge part in Arthur's and Henry's lives. Both characters were longtime employees of the House of Mouse. Their shared home is a trove of Disney memorabilia. One of Harris' scenes calls for fireworks exploding over the iconic castle that is at the heart of the fantasy kingdom.

Harris is currently working on his master's degree at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, but he grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, just a few hours from Walt Disney World. "I was always fascinated by the animated films, how theatrical and grand they were. The whole aesthetic kind of enchanted me," he said.

At its core, Kingdom is a love story, Harris said. "It's cliche, but it's true: Love is love is love—no matter your age."

Broken Nose Theatre's production of Kingdom runs through Saturday, March 31, at the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets are pay-what-you-can; visit BrokenNoseTheatre.com .


This article shared 1455 times since Wed Mar 7, 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

Blue Man Group returning Aug. 18 2021-06-16
- Blue Man Group will return to Chicago's Briar Street Theatre on Wed., Aug. 18. A dynamic combination of art, music, comedy and technology, Blue Man Group encourages audiences to reconnect with their inner (and outer) child ...


Gay News

Wizard World Chicago returning Oct. 15-17 2021-06-16
- Wizard Brands, Inc. announced that its flagship event, Wizard World Chicago, will officially make its triumphant return Oct. 15-17 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. All tickets purchased for the originally scheduled event ...


Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago open house July 10-11; Honey West new Venus Cabaret director 2021-06-14
--From a press release - Chicago (June 14, 2021)— Mercury Theater Chicago will celebrate its reopening plans at an Open House at the Venus Cabaret, 3745 N. Southport Ave, on July 10 and 11, 2021. The Open House will be a ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE announce more summer cultural events across Chicago 2021-06-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced even more returning, new and reimagined summer cultural events across Chicago — plus artist lineups and other details ...


Gay News

Dennis Watkins' The Magic Parlour reopens at Palmer House Hilton on Aug. 6 2021-06-10
- Third-generation magician and mind reader Dennis Watkins announced that Dennis Watkins' The Magic Parlour will return to Chicago's Palmer House Hilton for in-person performances beginning Friday, Aug. 6. Watkins will ...


Gay News

2021-22 Season at Goodman Theatre announced 2021-06-09
--From a press release - (Chicago, IL) It's a summer "homecoming" for Goodman Theatre audiences! On July 30, Chicago's theater since 1925 resumes live, in-person performances following a 16-month COVID-19 pandemic period of darkened stages. ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre announces recipients of playwriting grants 2021-06-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO (June 3, 2021) - About Face Theatre announced today that it is awarding grants to two local LGBTQ+ playwrights to support their creative work. Playwrights Hannah Ii-Epstein (she/her) and ...


Gay News

Actor/artist creates huge mural for new Steppenwolf center 2021-06-07
- Chicago-based artist/actor Tony Fitzpatrick has created a massive mural for the exterior of Steppenwolf Theatre Company's new Arts and Education Center, 1646 N. Halsted St. Commissioned by Steppenwolf as a highly visible public-art installation for th ...


Gay News

Jay Españo named Artistic Director of PrideArts, planning 2021-22 season 2021-06-03
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Jay Espano, a Chicago actor, director, and filmmaker whose theater training includes education in The Philippines as well as an MFA from Chicago's Columbia College, has been named Artistic Director of PrideArts. Cheri Tatar, ...


Gay News

VIRTUAL CONCERT Lyric Opera airing 'The New Classics' on June 10 2021-06-02
- On Thursday, June 10, The Lyric Opera will air airtual cabaret featuring Broadway and Lyric artists in "The New Classics: Songs from the New Golden Age of Musical Theater." The event will start at 7 p.m ...


Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater, African American theater companies across country form new national alliance 2021-06-01
--From a press release - [CHICAGO, IL] — In an effort to share knowledge, resources and strengthen the infrastructure of the Black theatre landscape in the United States, the country's independent Black theatre building owners ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-05-31
- "I will never trust pants again!"—Lil Nas X on his wardrobe malfunction on Saturday Night Live. To see the incident—and Lil's commentary—check out BillyMasters.com. We have a Memorial Day tradition ...


Gay News

Oak Park Festival Theatre holding June 15 talk on James Baldwin 2021-05-29
- Oak Park Festival Theatre is hosting the free online event "James Baldwin: His Impact on the Theatre Then, Now, and in the Future," on Tuesday, June 15, at 7-8 p.m., that will feature scholar/author Dr. Eddie ...


Gay News

Northlight Theatre to open its 2021-2022 season in September 2021-05-25
--From a press release - Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, announces its 2021-2022 season, opening with the tour-de-force musical Songs for Nobodies, by Joanna ...


Gay News

ARTS 'Teatro ZinZanni' returning July 8 2021-05-25
- Teatro ZinZanni is returning to the Chicago Loop with new acts and a unique, immersive dining and live entertainment experience. Its brand-new show begins July 8 in the Spiegeltent ZaZou, located on the 14th floor in ...


 



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


 



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.