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 2015-09-30
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


At the Flash
THEATER REVIEW Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Mary Shen Barnidge

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

Playwright: Sean Chandler and David Leeper. At: Pride Films and Plays at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 800-838-3006;; $21-$25. Runs through: Dec. 16

There's not many gay bars that can boast of having stayed open continuously for 40 years. Co-playwrights Sean Chandler and David Leeper propose such an oasis, operating under the same name from the shadowy 1960s to the out-and-proud 2010s, its clientele over the decades representing a history of gay life in America. In this one-man show, Leeper assumes the role of performer to acquaint us with five of the ambassadors we would likely encounter at The Flash.

The Flash, you see, wasn't always the palatial gateway to the LGBT community, introduced at the beginning of the play on the occasion of its 2012 grand reopening, attended by mainstream press (some tracing its roots to neighborhood-guide handouts) in addition to owner Rod Mahoney's committed partner and their adopted daughter. Ah, but as our host fusses over preparations for the event, ghostly figures from the past emerge to remind us of the changes occurring just outside the doors of this sanctuary.

We meet blue-collar Richard in the 1960s, torn between love for his family and guilty forays into the darkness of back-room sex. In the 1970s, we hear transgender Miss Sparkle exhort her cross-dressing sisters to appreciate the tolerance enjoyed within The Flash's safe confines. During the 1980s, party-boy Derrick clings to the hedonistic lifestyle in a stubborn attempt to ignore the growing threat of AIDS. ("I came out just in time for a plague!" he laments.) Finally, the 1990s find schoolteacher Mona, devastated by her lesbian lover's lonely death in a hospital only permitting "relatives" to visit, crusading for marital and filial rights.

Their progress is not presented in chronological order, but in a kaleidoscopic mosaic requiring Leeper to switch back and forth between characters with often less than a sentence for the transition. Under the direction of David Zak, however, the vividly etched portraits never disintegrate into caricature, but remain distinct and immediately recognizable throughout the show's brief 80 minutes of playing time.

The stories make for an engaging and surprisingly epic narrative, and although none can be said to end happily—contented, perhaps, or resolute, but hardly cheery—there is empowerment in surveying the accomplishments of the outsiders who congregated for recreation, but grew to lead a social revolution. Did YOU anticipate the importance of YOUR own first step into a gay bar?

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.


SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT A 'Marvin's Room' milestone 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Disgraced 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Miss Buncle's Book 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Funnyman 2015-09-30
THEATER REVIEW Gem of the Ocean 2015-09-30
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-30
Charm play features look at transgender charm school 2015-09-29
Chicago Humanities Fest presents Four Women: Josephine, Eartha, Nina and Tina 2015-09-24
THEATER REVIEW The Revel 2015-09-23
Theater: Now on stage and soon to open 2015-09-23
Jane Lynch dates rescheduled 2015-09-23
Chicago Theater still thrives, still evergreen 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW Dogfight 2015-09-23
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW The Tempest 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW Side Show 2015-09-23
THEATER REVIEW The Producers 2015-09-23
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Silk Road's many strands 2015-09-23
Harris Theater: World premiere with Renee Fleming, Patricia Barber 2015-09-22
Alexandra Billings to headline PFP's Simply Sensational Benefit 2015-09-22
Victory Gardens Theater launches Directors Inclusion Initiative 2015-09-18
Trans rally at movie theater Sept. 20 2015-09-18
FALL THEATER SPECIAL Premieres galore 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW Katrina: Mother-in- Law of 'em All 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW American Idiot 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW How the World Began 2015-09-16
THEATER REVIEW Jamaica, Farewell 2015-09-16
'Handbag Sampler' benefit Oct. 18 2015-09-16
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-09-16
FALL THEATER SPECIAL Classics, revivals offer relief from changes in theater landscape 2015-09-16
'Snow White' runs in Provincetown 2015-09-15
Theater: Now on stage and soon to open 2015-09-15
Chicago's Bijou Theater to close Sept. 30 2015-09-11
About Face Theatre Presents 3rd Annual to present The Black & Tan Supper Club 2015-09-11
THEATER REVIEW The Rainmaker 2015-09-09
THEATER REVIEW Glory Days 2015-09-09
THEATER REVIEW The Lyons 2015-09-09
THEATER REVIEW Don Chipotle 2015-09-09
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-09-09
Theater: Now on stage and soon to open 2015-09-08

Copyright © 2015 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      Post 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.