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  WINDY CITY TIMES

'West Side Story' gets a sex-positive spin with new burlesque show
by Vern Hester
2024-02-19

This article shared 8012 times since Mon Feb 19, 2024
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In partial observance of National Condom Day, which was Feb. 14, Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) presented A West Side Story Burlesque at the Harris Theater for two hour-long performances on Feb. 17.

The show, a good-natured and sex-positive send up of the groundbreaking Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim musical, featured numerous dancers performing to a lyrically-tweaked score aimed at LGBTQ+ individuals—with an accent on naughtiness and safer sex. Unlike the tragedy that underpins the original, this version (spoiler alert!) has Riff, Tony, and Bernardo forming a mènage à trois, while Anita and Maria exit the stage arm-in-arm.

Despite the joy and exuberance in the production, A West Side Story Burlesque centered the fact that numerous challenges presented by HIV/AIDS remain. Videos about safer sex, as well as the worldwide activities of AHF, were sprinkled throughout the show.

The production's short run includes performances in Washington, D.C. and New York City, among other locations. AHF operates a number of facilities in Chicago, as well as the Out of the Closet thrift shop, 3311 N. Halsted St., in Lake View. The organization also funds local service providers such as South Side Help Center and CALOR.


This article shared 8012 times since Mon Feb 19, 2024
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