It wasn't all that long ago that Bailiwick Repertory became GLBT theater central every summer, kicking off many new works that spoke
to our diverse group of communities to coincide with June Pride festivities. Not anymore!
Now, the Bailiwick, under the innovative, unflagging leadership of artistic director David Zak, is OUT ALL YEAR. But June is still
the perfect time to celebrate, and take a look at, the GLBT offerings on the boards at the Bailiwick's Belmont Avenue home.
But before that, let's chat with Zak, who was gracious enough to take a few minutes away from demanding actors, gung ho
directors, and capering creative artists to answer a few questions for Windy City Times.
Reed: First off, I wondered what prompted you to move from a summer Pride Series to one that was all year long.
Zak: The morph to Out All Year was caused by a couple of factors. First, I think the summer is so busy for so many members of the
community. People could not attend all of the Pride shows even if they wanted to. It seemed like we could do the same number of
shows each year and spread them throughout the season and make the schedules a bit easier on our audiences. Secondly, the
success the series has had over the years has resulted in a great backlog of new material that is ready for production. Using the
studio and loft spaces throughout the year means we can keep the artistic process for actors, writers, and directors going
continuously, instead of taking the big breaks we used to have.
Reed: We all know that anyone who would fall into any GLBT groups should see every work that's on the Bailiwick stage (not to
mention those folks that have a connection with a GLBT person, or who just appreciate a thought-provoking, entertaining evening of
theater), but I wondered if someone was forced to be more selective, what would your recommendations be for:
Best show for eye-popping sexual and nudity content: It's a tie between UNDERGROUND LOVE and SLAP AND TICKLE.
Best show when you need to laugh: EXPLICIT LYRICS.
Best show that will have you leave the theater humming: Another tie: BEST OF TIMES and PINAFORE.
The show that will make you think the most: UNDERGROUND LOVE.
Best show to bring your gay son/daughter/sister/brother/mother/father to: BEST OF TIMES or IN ONE ROOM.
Best show to for a lesbian couple to see on a first date: IN ONE ROOM.
With Zak's recommendations in mind, here is a brief rundown of what's hot and coming to the Bailiwick stage soon:
Naked Boys Singing!—Probably the Bailiwick's biggest hit ever, this music and comedy filled evening (not to mention buff, nude
male bodies) continues to play to full houses, after being extended again and again.
Pinafore—The Pinafore, flagship of the New Gay Navy, is docked in Palm Springs during the White Party. What follows is pure
Gilbert and Sullivan: a secret elopement, lovers discovered, and of course, a last-minute confession! Opens June 23 at 7:30. Regular
performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:30 through July 27. Regular performances are $20
Thursday, $25 Friday and Sunday, and $30 Saturday.
Underground Love: The Poetry of Harold Norse, Erotic and Not—He was personal secretary to W.H. Auden, and roommate of
young Tennessee Williams. He traveled with Kerouac and Ginsberg, and is still writing poetry in San Francisco. His name is Harold
Norse, and for the last several months, Bailiwick's Artistic Director David Zak has developed a play for five actors, tracing his life.
Regular run: Wednesdays at 8, Saturdays at 6 and Sunday at 5 through July 20. Tickets are $20 Wednesday, $25 on Saturday and
Explicit Lyrics—From the mind of Chicago cabaret impresario Daryl Nitz, comes the most outrageous banned evening of cabaret
this town has ever seen. Re-tooled from its sold-out run in January at the Artistic Home, the Bailiwick and Daryl Nitz have created an
even more outrageous show. So dive in for a diverse and delightful collection of show tunes, pop tunes, novelty songs and pillow talk.
Friday nights at 10 p.m. from June 20 to July 25. All tickets $18.
Slap and Tickle—This world premiere by David Parris is a comedy inspired by a series of casual interviews about sexual
experiences with gay men, ranging in age from 19 to 52. From first kisses underwater to a men's room assault, from high school gyms
to public parks, the stories veer beyond sex to explore interrelated issues of promiscuity, intimacy and homophobia. Ostensibly set in
a contemporary New York City bathhouse, the play features a towel-clad cast of 4 'Robs' who assume an array of roles. Previews
Saturday July 5 at 10 p.m. Opening Sunday, July 6 at 6 p.m. The regular run is Friday and Saturday at 10, and Sunday at 6 through
August 10. Tickets are $25.
The Best of Times—Several of Chicago's top theater artists will perform a cabaret show celebrating the upcoming 70th birthday of
Jerry Herman, one of the most popular and accomplished songwriters of any generation. Herman is best known for works such as
Hello Dolly!, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles, and other top Broadway shows. One performance only: Sunday, July 20, 8 p.m. Tickets are
In One Room—A world premiere by Jimmy Maize, IN ONE ROOM is based on interviews conducted with gay, lesbian and
bisexual youth under 25 from all over the country. A series of monologues, the production is a kinetic vision of what these diverse
queer youth might say to one another if they were given the chance to meet. Previews Monday July 21 at 8. Opening night is
Tuesday, July 22, at 8 p.m. Performances Wednesday at 8, and Saturdays at 6 and Sundays at 5 through Aug. 10. All tickets $20.
All shows are at the Bailiwick Repertory, 1229 W. Belmont in Chicago. Visit www.bailiwick.org for more details. For tickets, call (773)