Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Everything's coming up Klea!
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

This article shared 3183 times since Wed Jan 25, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

When Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace announced that its revival of the 1959 Broadway musical Gypsy would star Klea Blackhurst as the pushy stage mother Momma Rose (or Madame Rose as the show's late playwright Arthur Laurents insisted), anyone familiar with the theater scene knew what a natural choice she was.

The Utah-born Blackhurst rose to fame in New York cabaret circles with her critically acclaimed 2001 show, Everything the Traffic Will Allow, which celebrated the life and career of original Gypsy star and Broadway legend Ethel Merman. Although Blackhurst has gone on to build a theater career apart from her Merman tribute, she's also taken on a few Merman-created roles like in the musical Call Me Madam for San Francisco's 42nd Street Moon Theatre and Annie Get Your Gun as understudy to opera soprano Deborah Voigt at New York's Glimmerglass Festival last summer.

"Merman has been a real gift for me," Blackhurst said. "I was around for a long time plugging away trying to get people to pay attention to me and it wasn't until I wrote [my Merman show] that people really stopped to notice me and take me seriously as a performer and actress."

However, like Blackhurst's cabaret show and her subsequent performances in Merman-associated musicals, she wants people to know that she doesn't do a physical or vocal imitation of the late Broadway legend.

"It's more a tribute, a celebration of her as seen through my talents and my work," Blackhurst. "You're going to get me doing [Gypsy] with my love and knowledge and affection and expertise I have on Merman, but it's still me and from the point of view of someone who is a musical theater historian but is still very current and in the moment."

The character of Momma Rose is, of course, based on the real-life domineering mother of burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. As originally created by director/choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Jule Styne, lyricist Stephen Sondheim and the aforementioned Laurents, Gypsy has grown in stature through the years as one of the most important and serious works of U.S. musical theater.

In particular, the role of Momma Rose (whose drive to live her dreams of stardom through her children at any cost) has become likened in difficulty for actresses to play the same way that actors have trepidation in tackling Shakespeare's King Lear or Hamlet.

"Every musical theater actress wants to play it," Blackhurst said about the complex Momma Rose. "But it is not an easy show to perform, that's for sure."

This is the first time Blackhurst has tackled Momma Rose, and she's grateful for having Jeff Award winner/Drury Lane Artistic Director William Osetek helming Gypsy, with fellow co-stars like Jeff Award winner Andrea Prestinario as Louise and David Kortemeier as Herbie.

"[William] cares about this show so much that he rivals my own passion," Blackhurst said. "He really isn't letting me land on the obvious choices sometimes. He's helping all of us dig a little deeper."

This is also the first time Blackhurst has performed at Drury Lane, and throughout rehearsals she has become infinitely impressed with the way the theater is run. She's also relishing the chance to play Momma Rose through such a long run after such a thorough rehearsal period.

"This is beyond my wildest dreams of getting to do [Gypsy] for the first time," Blackhurst said. "I also hope that my performance comes across as thoughtful and fun and whimsical and not just always the steamroller that is going to take you down."

Gypsy continues in previews through Jan. 25, with an official opening on Jan. 26. The production then runs 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 1:30 and 8 p.m. Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Fridays, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6 p.m. Sundays through April 1 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace.

Tickets run from $35-$45 with lunch and dinner packages available from $49.75-$68. Student and senior discount tickets available for select performances. Call 630-530-0111 or visit for more information.

Expanding Profiles

Profiles Theatre announced some big news last week. The daring 65-seat storefront theatre at 4147 N. Broadway has not only won the rights to do the U.S. premiere of Neil LaBute's recent drama In a Forest, Dark and Deep from April 13 to June 3, but Profiles has also acquired the former 99-seat National Pastime Theater space nearby at 4139 N. Broadway for this premiere.

Profiles, of course, has a long association with LaBute, so to get the rights to one of his shows before New York is quite a coup. (In a Forest, Dark and Deep is going to replace the originally scheduled LaBute work The Break of Noon, which will be presented next season.)

The acquisition of the National Pastime Theater is also a sign how Profiles is bullish on expanding its storefront theater empire, since it also operates The Second Stage (formerly Stage Left Theater) at 3408 N. Sheffield Ave.

However, one concern is Profiles' re-christened name of The Main Stage for the former National Pastime. Unfortunately, the name might cause some confusion with similarly named Mayne Stage theater at the intersection of Morse and Wayne in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood.

For more information on the changes going on at Profiles Theatre, visit .

Please send theater news and other related tidbits to or .

This article shared 3183 times since Wed Jan 25, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

SHOWBIZ John Waters, Madonna, Miriam Margoyles, Angelica Ross, 'Cassandro' 2023-09-21
- Openly gay film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, Cry-Baby) received his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, The Hollywood Reporter noted. (Actors Ricki Lake and Mink Stole as well as photographer Greg Gorman were ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kim Petras, LGBTQ+ movies, TIFF, canceled shows, yachts 2023-09-15
Video below - Ahead of her Feed the Beast world tour, Grammy-winning international trans pop singer/songwriter Kim Petras has shared reimagined, symphonic, seven-piece string-ensemble performances of fan favorites from her debut album Feed ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer actor Kyle Patrick reflects on leading 'American Psycho: The Musical' 2023-09-14
- American Psycho—both the Bret Easton Ellis novel and the Mary Harron-directed film led by Christian Bale—would seem ripe for a musical treatment, given the omnipresent campy elements (despite, or maybe because of, the gore). And, in ...

Gay News

Chicago Opera Theater starts 50th-anniv. season with 'Soldier Songs' 2023-09-13
- Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is kicking off its 50th-anniversary season with David T. Little's Grammy-nominated Soldier Songs—described as "a haunting, heavy-metal infused theatrical cantata about the psychological impact of war." ...

Gay News

Porchlight Music Theatre's announces 29th season 2023-09-12
--From a press release - This past Friday at our special event, Porchlight ICONS: Celebrating Ben Vereen, we shared the exclusive announcement of our 29th Season! The new season launches with The Cole Porter Festival - A Celebration of the Man ...

Gay News

THEATER Jim Henson production in Chicago on Nov. 14-Dec. 31 2023-09-12
- A live theatrical adaptation of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is making its Chicago debut Nov. 14-Dec. 31, at the Studebaker Theater at the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Broadway World revealed. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Sex Education' star, Rotten Tomatoes, Jessica Lange, Queer/Art 2023-09-08
Video below - Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa officially came out during an interview with Elle UK, according to Out. "I remember being at Manchester Pride, going through the streets with all my boys, shaking my cha-chas, living it ...

Gay News

Theater Review: A Taste of Soul brings music and food center stage 2023-09-08
By Brian Kirst - We all know the sluggish quagmire of weekday work mornings. Often the only thing that gets us moving and able to face the day is our favorite songs. While all of the Black Ensemble Theater productions ...

Gay News

Steppenwolf to present Broadway's Jeremy Jordan on Jan. 13 2023-09-06
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Mark Cortale will present Broadway star Jeremy Jordan in his Chicago debut, performing two shows only on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024 at 2 and 8 p.m. in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. ...

Gay News

Mitchell J. Fain explores the American Dream in The Lehman Trilogy 2023-09-05
- Chicago actor Mitchell J. Fain is one of three performers headlining TimeLine Theatre Company's upcoming production of The Lehman Trilogy. Fain brings over 30 years of performing experience in the Chicago area to the table, including ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Military drama, Janelle Monae, Conan Gray, Dylan Mulvaney, Whoopi 2023-08-31
- The LGBTQ+ military drama Eismayer (from Dark Star Pictures and Golden Girls Film) will be out in theaters on Oct. 6, and on DVD and Digital on Oct. 10, per a press release. The plot is ...

Gay News

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus leader speaks on group's diversity, 'Sporty Forty' 2023-08-29
- The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC) is marking its 40th-anniversary season this year, and will start this milestone on Sept. 15-16 with "Sporty Forty," an event that is layered in meanings involving stereotypes and the group's ...

Gay News

Britney Coleman keeps Company 2023-08-27
- Company is coming to Chi-town on tour with a fresh take on the classic musical that has already garnered five Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. The original material in 1970 was nominated for 14 Tony ...

Gay News

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest announces 41st edition program 2023-08-21
--From a press release - Chicago, Illinois (August 18, 2023) — Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival today announced its full slate of programming for the 41st edition of the second-longest running LGBTQ+ film ...

Gay News

THEATER Goodman to run 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' in 2024 2023-08-17
- Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Susan Booth announced that Chicago will be first to experience the new musical Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—based on John Berendt's iconic non-fiction book—next summer. With a book by ...


Copyright © 2023 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.