Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31



THEATER Trans performer Sis is doin' fine in 'Oklahoma!'
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 2865 times since Wed Jan 5, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

This isn't your typical grandma's Oklahoma! The very first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943 and continues to captivate audiences today. The dialogue remains the same, but updated casting choices have brought new life to the classic text thanks to producer Eva Price and a countrywide tour.

Set in Oklahoma's rural territory, the story covers a cowboy named Curly McLain who competes against local farmhand Jud Fry for the hand of the lovely Laurey Williams. Transgender performer Sis stars as Ado Annie Carnes who has her own love triangle to deal with in the plot of the show.

Sis hails from Houston and went to college at San Francisco State University. Before gracing the stage on this tour, Sis moved to New York and appeared on television on the ballroom culture series Pose and the TBS comedy show The Last O.G.

Sis talked about the Tony-winning revival of Oklahoma! before making a quick stop in Chicago during the national tour.

Windy City Times: Hey, Sis. Did you always want to be in the performing arts?

Sis: For the most part, yes. When I was younger, I really liked Barney & Friends. That got me singing, dancing and performing at a young age. I didn't think I could be on TV, so I did theater starting in middle school.

WCT: Well, it has certainly paid off. Did you ever come out as trans at a particular time in your career?

Sis: Coming out was not a part of my personal journey. My transness or queerness is not utilized as a label for me. I exist as me on this day. I don't think coming out was ever necessary.

I always lead with my full self. That is why the opportunities that I have created for myself have been honest and real. I am just me. Either you want me or you don't.

WCT: Do you have a favorite musical?

Sis: I really enjoyed The Wiz, in terms of story and music. That is the one that comes to mind today.

WCT: What led you to Oklahoma!?

Sis: Auditioning. I did Oklahoma! in college and the first time I saw it was in high school. I loved it!

I moved to New York in the middle of the Broadway run and didn't get to see it. I am glad I didn't because I wanted my own interpretation of this production. The fact that I am now going around the country singing "I Cain't Say No" is beautiful.

WCT: Talk about your character, Ado Annie Carnes.

Sis: Ado Annie is a bad bitch. What can I say? She is all we want to be on the inside. I am like her in some ways.

She is different from the other characters because she allows herself to question things. She makes her decisions based on how she feels. The characters in Oklahoma! are figuring things out, but allow other people to take the reins instead of doing it themselves. Annie answers the questions but already knows the answers. She is open to what her heart and body feel, so she leads with that. That is what I love about her.

WCT: What is different about this revival of Oklahoma!?

Sis: It takes the text and puts it right in front of you. Here they strip away all the glitz and glamor of a musical and just give you the story.

Audiences can take from it what they want. It was written a long time ago but shows us how we exist in communities today. We get to see these characters from a different point of view.

Sasha Hutchings plays Laurey Williams; you get to see two Black women with very different experiences of life on stage with this Oklahoma! tour. People can see and hear things they haven't before in an honest way.

WCT: Did you learn to square dance with this production?

Sis: I am from Texas, so I already had that in my tool belt!

WCT: How is the toxic masculinity in Oklahoma! addressed?

Sis: We didn't change anything so it is all there. However, people feel about toxic masculinity is there and audience members have to navigate that. That is how the world was and is today.

WCT: This production shows that there's no need to change words in the book. If casting agents picked a wider variety of people, it would automatically become more inclusive. How do you see that changing?

Sis: We need more people of varying experiences to get up to bat. We are still in a white-centered America, which is the problem.

If you have a different experience than other people in the room, you can bring a new voice to the text. The director Daniel Fish brought a different voice to this text and that is what the people he casts are doing.

I am saying these lines [differently] from any other person before me because they were cis white women. Now there is a Black, trans woman who is in a world that is against her. There is a rebellion that I have [toward] the text that I am showcasing around America.

We have to get more creative in the industry. I hope as we get more agency in the world that it will change.

WCT: Do you have any thoughts about the Jagged Little Pill [situation involving] trans and non-binary performers?

Sis: There are several shows on Broadway that have issues right now. The focus should be on people telling stories that we have never seen or heard before. That is where we should put our energy.

I think Jagged Little Pill shows that the industry needs to change. We are starting to, slowly but surely, but it will take people with varied experiences.

When I am one Black person walking into a room with a white director and team, my experience will be diluted. By the time it gets to the stage, I will be a sliver of who I am. It is a forced perception of who someone wants me to be instead of who I am.

WCT: Talk about your project, Cisgendered.

Sis: Cisgendered was my sold-out 54 Below show. The full thing is on YouTube if people would like to watch it. It was a celebration of my life and showcased me.

The title is about gender identity being equivalent to a person. Being trans is specific to who I am, and [it] incapsulates me. I am Cisgendered at the end of the day, along with all the other things that I am.

WCT: Will you possibly perform Cisgendered in Chicago one day?

Sis: Get it to some people who will produce it and I will!

WCT: How was being on the set of FX's Pose?

Sis: It was a dream come true to be in a space with so many people I share things in common with. I got paid for celebrating my Blackness, queerness and transness. That show changed my life and the whole trajectory of where I was going to go. Getting to be on set for the ending was immaculate.

I am just getting started. I can't wait for more people to know about who I am and what I do. I am focusing on things to create and what I want to do. I want to change the world and I am excited to do that!

This limited engagement tour sweeps down the plain to the Windy City on Jan. 11-23 at the CIBC Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St. Tickets for Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! can be found at .

This article shared 2865 times since Wed Jan 5, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

BoHo Theatre exec director to leave; search for successor begins
BoHo Theatre Executive Director Sana Selemon announced she will be stepping down from her position in March 2023. Selemon—from Columbus, Ohio—became a company member before taking over as executive director in August 2020. BoHo's board of ...

Gay News

Brave Space Alliance announces CEO change
CHICAGO, IL - The board of directors of Brave Space Alliance (BSA) has announced that BSA's founder, LaSaia Wade, will no longer serve as CEO of the organization, effective Oct. 3. Board chair Channyn Lynne Parker ...

Gay News

Yvie Oddly summons sinful drag queens in upcoming 'Night of the Living Drag'
RuPaul's Drag Race: Night of the Living Drag is coming to the Rosemont Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 25, starring Yvie Oddly as The Boogie Man and featuring ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf running Eve L. Ewing's '1919' Oct. 4-29
Steppenwolf Theatre Company will present the Steppenwolf for Young Adults' world premiere of 1919, adapted by J. Nicole Brooks from Eve L. Ewing's collection of poems about the killing of Black teenager Eugene Williams in 1919 ...

Gay News

Iceland releases extensive LGBTQ+ action plan
Iceland has published its extensive action plan on LGBTQ+ issues for the years 2022 to 2025, PinkNews reported. The strategy includes an end to discrimination for queer blood donors, training in LGBTQ+ issues for police, "appropriate ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Gay political contest, trans man killed, Kansas Pride, researcher dies
In New York, two gay candidates, Democrat Robert Zimmerman and Republican George Santos, are running to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Tom Suozzi in New York's 3rd Congressional District—marking the first time in U.S. history ...

Gay News

WORLD Fertility strategy, trans youth charity, French PM, Mexican spots
The British government committed to a 10-year strategy to end discrimination against "female same-sex couples" seeking fertility services, according to Human Rights Watch. The first-ever Women's Health Strategy for England ...

Gay News

Celebration of trans icon Gloria Allen's life on Oct. 6
A celebration of life for the late Chicago trans icon "Mama" Gloria Allen will take place Thursday, Oct. 6, at 10 a.m. at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., inside the third-floor theater. Allen founded ...

Gay News

THEATER About Face showing LGBTQ+ play 'Mosque4Mosque'
About Face Theatre opens its 2022-23 season with the world premiere of Omer Abbas Salem's new play Mosque4Mosque, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar. Mosque4Mosque is a family comedy about a queer Arab-American Muslim man navigating his first ...

Gay News

Trans U.S. Army doctor, wife charged with helping Russia in war against Ukraine
A U.S. Army major doctor and their physician wife were arrested for an alleged criminal plot to give Russia confidential medical information about people connected to the U.S. military and government, CNBC reported. Federal prosecutors claim ...

Gay News

Newsom signs bill making California a sanctuary state for trans youths
On Sept. 29, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that aims to protect transgender youths and their families from bans against gender-affirming care, the Los Angeles Times reported. Senate Bill 107, by state ...

Gay News

More special guests announced for Chicago International Film Festival
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois (September 28, 2022) — Today, the Chicago International Film Festival announced new guests and details for its 58th edition, running October 12 - 23, 2022. Film screenings and programs will take place at theaters ...

Gay News

MUSIC Jessie Mueller and Seth Rudetsky at Steppenwolf on Jan. 14, 2023
On Jan. 14, 2023 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Steppenwolf Theatre and Mark Cortale will present Tony winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful; Waitress) for a hometown concert, hosted and music directed by Sirius XM ...

Gay News

AIDS Foundation Chicago holding Women's Connection Summit of Hope on Oct. 6
-- From a press release - AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) is hosting a Women Connection Summit of Hope in partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to address the needs of cis and transgender women who have been recently released from ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Cardi B, Sam Smith, 'Wednesday' series, Sean Hayes, Serena
Video below - Cardi B clapped back at someone on Twitter who declared her a celebrity who "came out as bisexual but never dated someone of the same gender," per Out Magazine. The tweet,—featuring pictures of Cardi, Grimes, Lady ...


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.







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.