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 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Sons of Hollywood
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2022-03-10

This article shared 899 times since Thu Mar 10, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Title: Sons of Hollywood. Playwright: Carl Menninger and Barry Ball

At: Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. Tickets: $55-$75; www.WindyCityPlayhouse.com . Runs through: April 16

If you google video clips of the seminal 1925 film Ben-Hur, you already know Ramon Novarro was every bit as hot as his publicity claimed, and if you've read the tell-all book Hollywood Babylon, you already know the tabloid gossip surrounding his unseemly death. If you're wise to the making of sausage and movies, however, you also know that there's a broken heart for every carefully cultivated palm tree on Sunset Boulevard.

It wasn't lack of talent that toppled the born-to-privilege Latino luminary from his pedestal and banished his bestie and popular rom-com bachelor William Haines to a civilian career, while sparing girlfriend and de facto "beard" Lucille LeSueur (whose personae transitioned from high-kicking flappers to tragic matrons after changing her name to Joan Crawford). No, the recognition bestowed by co-authors Carl Menninger and Barry Ball in their "play with music" is that extended to martyrs of homophobic bigotry.

When motion pictures were mere novelties providing brief ribald merriment, their irreverence could be tolerated as harmless vulgarity, but the fallout from WW I and the 1929 crash of the stock market ushered in an era of atonement, reflected in the so-called Hays Code adopted by the major studios—a performative proscription forswearing images of antisocial behavior, not only in their products, but in their hiring practices as well. After surviving the trend toward sound pictures, actors of same-sex proclivities now found themselves forced to feign allegiance to wholesome social practices or risk losing their jobs.

When your story's setting is the very heart of the land where fantasies bloom like patently artificial flowers, it's only logical for its motifs to figure in its narration. Unlike bona fide musicals, where characters soliloquize in song, Menninger and Ball locate us with popular tunes from the period—a cabaret revue in a gay club, for example, featuring a satirical ditty mocking gender-fluid fashions ("Knickers and trousers, baggy and wide/Nobody knows who's walking inside")—along with original compositions invoking the nostalgic myth of tinseltown.

Adam Jennings, Trey DeLuna and Abby Lee win our support immediately as the trio of boon companions, although the heaviest lifting falls to Jennings' Billy and Lee's Lucille/Joan as they strive in vain to rescue their fragile comrade (played with Byronesque melancholy by DeLuna) from the recklessness that would prove his final undoing. They are assisted by a protean quintet portraying an abundance of peripheral aiders, abettors and adversaries. Director David H. Bell keeps a tight rein on the production's many moving parts spread over Windy City Playhouse's arena-sized storefront (including a spectacular beat-down choreographed by Max Fabian and lit in Caravaggio chiaroscuro by Anthony Forchielli) to deliver a bittersweet homage to deserving heroes in the long struggle for tolerance and compassion.

Oh, and if you still believe in fairies and West Coast dreams, think what a Hollywood budget could do with such a theme in 2022!


This article shared 899 times since Thu Mar 10, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER Theo Ubique hosting production about Elizabeth Taylor 2022-06-29
- Evanston's Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard St., will run Call Me Elizabeth—an acclaimed one-woman show about the early life of Elizabeth Taylor—on Aug. 20 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 21 (at 2:30 p.m.) only. The production ...


Gay News

Production based on Larry Kramer speech at Center on July 22-31 2022-06-28
- Open Space Arts announced its inaugural production of The Kramer Project, directed and adapted by David Zak from activist Larry Kramer's watershed speech "The Tragedy of Today's Gays." This will be the first production for Open ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elliot Page, NPH, Madonna, Chita Rivera, Jennifer Lopez 2022-06-26
- Elliot Page talked with talk-show host Seth Meyers about how her Netflix show The Umbrella Academy incorporated the actor's own personal transition into season three of the series, Deadline noted. "With Steve Blackman, the showrunner of ...


Gay News

Writers Theatre's 2022-23 season to include 'Tiger Style!,' 'Once' and other productions 2022-06-21
-- From a press release - Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy announce the company's 2022/23 four-play season, to include Mike Lew's Tiger Style!, directed by Brian Balcom; ...


Gay News

Goodman Theatre running musical 'Life After' through July 17 2022-06-20
- Goodman Theatre is running the musical Life After through Sunday, July 17. With humor and wit, this "luminous new musical…lush, poetic and surprisingly funny" (The San Diego Union-Tribune) explores how people move through and live with ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-06-20
- "u don't know my alphabet."—Sexy Lukas Gage (from The White Lotus; Love, Victor; and the rebooted Queer as Folk) tweets his response to criticism that Hollywood shouldn't hire him to play LGBTQIA+ roles. When asked to ...


Gay News

WORLD Pride disruption, trans journalists, Tunisian play, marriage bills 2022-06-19
- Turkish police officers carrying clear-plastic riot shields, wielding batons and deploying pepper powder balls as well as tear gas violently broke up a Pride parade that Middle East Technical University students organized in the capital of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Lightyear,' celebrity event, LGBT runner, Mariah Carey 2022-06-19
Video below - Pixar's latest film Lightyear is hitting theaters, and it has a special moment for gay fans—a same-sex kiss between the character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her female partner—that almost didn't happen, Out Magazine note ...


Gay News

Steep Theatre's race-centered 'Paris' running June 17-July 23 2022-06-17
- Steep Theatre, 1044 W. Berwyn Ave., will run the Eboni Booth work Paris on June 17-July 23. Jonathan Berry will direct. Returning home to the small town of Paris, Vermont, Emmie tries to make ends meet ...


Gay News

PERFORMANCE 'Moonset Sunrise' at Navy Pier on June 16 and 18 2022-06-15
- Collaboraction announced that Moonset Sunrise, its 25th-anniversary production, with live performances on June 16 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Beat Kitchen's new Bar Sol on Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. Through healing ritual, storytelling, ...


Gay News

Queer-themed plays win Tonys; Hudson reaches EGOT status 2022-06-13
- On June 12, the 75th annual Tony Awards were held to honor the top performances from the theater industry. The event—hosted by LGBTQ+ Oscar winner/Tony nominee Ariana DeBose at New York City's Radio City Music Hall—followed ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jodie Comer, 'Queer As Folk,' trans film, Tom of Finland photos 2022-06-12
- Jodie Comer—the Emmy- and BAFTA-winning actress perhaps best known for playing LGBTQ+ assassin Villanelle on BBC America's Killing Eve—will make her Broadway debut next spring in Prima Facie, a new play by Suzie Miller, Deadline noted. ...


Gay News

Theo Ubique marks 25th-anniversary season with four musicals 2022-06-11
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (JUNE 10, 2022) Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's Artistic Director Fred Anzevino and Managing/Casting Director Christopher Pazdernik announced the 25th Anniversary season today with four musicals including a Midwest Premiere ...


Gay News

Strawdog Theatre announces new managing director and production manager 2022-06-10
- Strawdog Theatre Company announced the appointments of Paul Cook (he/him) as its new managing director and Donna "Dante" Gary (they/them) as its new production manager. Cook has been the production manager at Strawdog since 2019 and ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Chicago theater blooms outside and out of town 2022-06-08
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater is keeping its show docked at its Navy Pier facility and Oak Brook's First Folio Theatre is taking the summer off before re-commencing in the fall, but playgoers eager to swap the urban ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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
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.