Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-11
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Talking with Robert Patrick
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Gay playwright/poet/lyricist/novelist Robert Patrick is set to receive the 2011 Artistic Achievement Award from The New York Innovative Theatre Awards, an organization founded in 2004 to honor great work in New York City's off-off-Broadway scene, Sept. 19.

However, Patrick, a 74-year-old retiree living in Los Angeles, won't be on hand to pick up the award. Actress Shirley Knight, who won a Tony Award after starring in the 1975 Broadway production of Patrick's drama Kennedy's Children, is set to accept the award on Patrick's behalf.

When asked during a telephone interview why he couldn't accept the award in person, Patrick matter-of-factly said, "Money." As much as Patrick would love to attend the ceremony, he can't afford the New York transportation and hotel costs.

Patrick joins the ranks of previous winners of the Artistic Achievement Award like playwrights Lanford Wilson and Maria Irene Fornes as well as avant-garde director Tom O'Horgan. Patrick also got his artistic start by chance when he walked into Greenwich Village's Caffe Cino (generally considered to be New York's first off-off-Broadway theatre) Sept. 14, 1961.

Patrick, a native Texan, started working behind the scenes at the Caffe Cino before the theater produced his first play, a gay drama called The Haunted Host, in 1964.

"That play has been presented to open so many gay theaters around the world—from Alaska to South Africa," Patrick said, though he surmises it's because it economically calls for only two actors. Patrick is also noted that is was in a 1974 production of The Haunted Host that multi-Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein first performed as a male instead of in drag.

However, Patrick is arguably best known for Kennedy's Children, which looks at a generation's disillusionment with the American Dream following the tumultuous 1960s. First produced in London in 1973, Kennedy's Children has been produced worldwide and still sees the occasional revival. (Chicago's Promethean Theatre Ensemble produced it in 2010.)

However, Patrick said he would never have had any success with the play if it weren't for the long-gone gay Chicago theater company At the Drama Shelter. (The theater had the "At the" in its name so it could be first in the Chicago Reader's listings.)

Patrick said he was about to be evicted and homeless while living in Los Angeles when At the Drama Shelter's Ron Hitchcock and Daryl Hale provided him with an influx of unpaid royalty fees from The Haunted Host (the cash allowed Patrick to journey to London, where Kennedy's Children soon became a solid hit). As thanks, Patrick worked with At the Drama Shelter for about a year in 1974, happy spending his time largely within a five-block span near the theater's location at 2020 N. Halsted St.

Although Patrick would go on to write several other plays (often with gay themes like the seminal 1983 teenage drama Blue is for Boys and the 1988 historical cycle Untold Decades), he said he didn't handle success and fame very well. In 1980, Patrick admitted to making a horrible business decision to sell off the rights of his Samuel French-published plays, in large part to rid himself of an aggressive agent who was contractually tied to those works. (Patrick declined to name his former agent.)

"Even Samuel French advised me against it," Patrick said, adding that royalties from Kennedy's Children alone would have acted like an annuity. "I said that I'll just write other plays and some of them will be hits. And a lot of them were hits, but nowhere on the scale of Kennedy's Children."

Patrick said that he officially retired from theater in 1990, although some later plays have slipped through now and then (The People's Theater of Chicago produced Patrick's 1994 gays-working-in-show-business drama Hollywood at Sunset in 2007). Nowadays, Patrick makes no bones about living off of Social Security and freelancing reviews gay male porn films for a variety of outlets.

When asked what he'd like to be most remembered for, Patrick mentioned his rarely produced play Judas (a Jesus Christ drama seen from Pontius Pilate's perspective) and a children's production called The Golden Circle that is based upon the signs of the Zodiac. "They're all online to read, so don't take my word for it," Patrick said.

Patrick sadly noted that artistic associates who were previous Artistic Achievement Award recipients from The New York Innovative Theatre Awards have passed away not long after winning. However, he added that he's still going on strong thanks to a recent walking-as-exercise routine.

Also, though Patrick is sad he can't afford to pick up his New York award in person, he's greatly honored for what it symbolizes in terms of his life and career.

"It means the most important thing to any artist—it means that someone remembers my work," Patrick said of the award. "It is, after all, the be-all and end-all of doing it."

'Mormon' to proselytize in Chicago

Broadway in Chicago recently announced its 2012 seasonal lineup, and the big news is that a Chicago company of The Book of Mormon will play a 12-week engagement at the Bank of America Theatre starting December 2012.

The Chicago company will be separate from a Book of Mormon national touring company launching in Denver next August, which means that this wildly irreverent and nine-time Tony Award-winning musical by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez might become a long-running Windy City hit on the scale of Wicked or Jersey Boys (providing that ticket sales prompt an extension or two).

Other shows in the 2012 lineup include American Idiot, Fela! and a new musical based upon the film Bring it On, plus several return engagements of shows like Mamma Mia!, In the Heights, Jersey Boys, Cats and more. Visit for more information.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg 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.


Immigration event July 18 at Victory Gardens Theater 2018-07-13
Milly's Orchid Show "Summer Musical Spectacular Extravaganza" 2018-07-11
THEATER About Face Youth's 'Stories' examines everyday horrors 2018-07-11
THEATER REVIEW Sagittarius Ponderosa 2018-07-11
THEATER REVIEW Support Group for Men 2018-07-11
Critics' Picks 2018-07-11
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Tilikum 2018-07-11
About Face Theatre Announces 2018-19 Season 2018-07-10
SHOWBIZ Pet Shop Boys, Oprah, 'Chicago' suicide, Idris Elba 2018-07-10
Five Worth Finding 2018-07-10
CABARET Top 40 Showtunes You've Probably Never Heard Of 2018-07-10
Latinx Play Readings at Theater School at DePaul July 19-21 2018-07-10
'Queer Narratives' July 15 at MCA 2018-07-10
MOVIE REVIEW The Cakemaker 2018-07-09
THEATER REVIEW Waitress 2018-07-04
THEATER REVIEW The View UpStairs 2018-07-04
THEATER REVIEW Not One Batu 2018-07-04
THEATER REVIEW Tilikum 2018-07-04
Critics' Picks 2018-07-04
THEATER SPOTLIGHT The Woman with No Legs 2018-07-04
Joel Hall's new leader Jacqueline Sinclair takes steps to continue the work 2018-07-04
Joel Hall: An icon looks back at career 2018-07-04
Sidetrack's OUTspoken! Series, July's featured storytellers 2018-07-03
TELEVISION Former 'Drag Race' contestant makes 'Dance' history 2018-07-03
Drag stars display 'Black Girl Magic' at the Metro 2018-07-01
THEATER REVIEW The Cher Show 2018-07-01
THEATER Higher ground,'The View Upstairs' at Pride Arts Center 2018-06-27
THEATER REVIEW The Golden Girls, The Lost Episodes, Volume 2 2018-06-27
THEATER REVIEW The Green Bay Tree 2018-06-27
THEATER REVIEW You Can't Take It With You 2018-06-27
Critic's Picks 2018-06-27
THEATER SPOTLIGHT Hamlet 2018-06-27
THEATER REVIEW Haymarket 2018-06-27
NUNN ON ONE THEATER Bob Mackie sews a 'Cher Show' 2018-06-27
THEATER REVIEW The Maids 2018-06-26
Hell in a Handbag cast announced for The Artificial Jungle 2018-06-21
'Queer, Ill + Okay' June 21, 23 2018-06-20
MORE ON SULLIVAN Reminiscing about Sullivan's theater 2018-06-20
Activities in Sullivan, Boutiques, antiques, beaches and more 2018-06-20
THEATER Sullivan, Illinois, a theater and a thruple thrive 2018-06-20

Copyright © 2018 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 Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.