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 2018-11-14
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



'Bewildered' author Ron Weaver remembered
by Matt Simonette

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In his program notes for the 2017 Hell in a Handbag production Bewildered—a musical parody of Bewitched told from the vantage point of nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz—playwright Ron Weaver wrote of his two things he loved most beyond his friends and family: musical theater and classic sitcoms.

Weaver explained, "I've always been especially drawn to the shows where one person lives in the eye of a hurricane of insane or bizarre behavior."

Weaver, who was also the longtime box office manager at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, passed away unexpectedly at age 52 on June 4. The cause of death was acute Guillain Barre Syndrome—a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves.

Jessica Hester, Weaver's best friend, said she'll always remember Weaver's sense of humor and his willingness to help her out without question.

"We obviously went out to see a lot of plays and musicals together," she recalled. "I would not have taken as much advantage of the Chicago theater scene as much if I wasn't friends with him. He was a huge comic book nerd, so we would go see a lot of superhero movies together. He was always my go-to person to help me figure out the plot-points and figure out the 'Easter eggs' in those movies."

Weaver had an extensive knowledge of "kitschy pop culture, so it was always educational to have him around," said Hester.

She said that she moved frequently in the mid-'00s, and Weaver "would always be there to to take me where I was going until I settled in and then bring me back to Chicago when it didn't work out."

Although Weaver frequently left Hester in stitches with his impressions and parody lyrics—she recalled him, for example, singing "Der Kommisar" as Tyler Perry as Madea—she said her best friend generally played it safe in many realms of his life, until he came up with the idea for Bewildered.

A longtime fan of Hell in a Handbag, cast members and staff knew, thanks to his distinctive laugh, when Weaver was in the audience, said company Artistic Director David Cerda.

"He came to all of our shows, multiple times," said Cerda. "We got to know him and talk to him. We developed a friendship that way."

Cerda explained that he is often skeptical when acquaintances pitch their ideas for Hell in a Handbag shows, but Weaver's was different.

"When he presented the idea for Bewildered—the 'elevator pitch' where he told me that it was Bewitched, but from the perspective of Gladys Kravitz—it sounded interesting to me right away," he recalled. "Most of the ideas I hear are either ones we already have thought of or are just not interested in. But this really piqued my interest. Once I realized he was really serious about it, and I heard some of his songs, and once he gave me his first draft, we decided we should do a workshop of it."

Bewildered, for which Weaver wrote the book and co-wrote music and lyrics with Aaron Benham, had its first workshop in 2014.

"That was the first time Hell in a Handbag has done a workshop from an outside person who pitched to us," Cerda said. "That's how the journey started. … It was a dream of his."

Weaver brought with him specific ideas for casting, including ensemble member Caitlin Jackson as Gladys Kravitz and Cerda as Endora.

"I told him, 'You know, I'm not the strongest singer or dancer,'" Cerda recalled. "He said, 'I don't care. I think you can play her.'"

Bewildered finally ran in late 2017.

"We really liked the show because Ron perfectly fit our mission statement," Cerda said. "We normally feature shows about misfits, people who aren't the leads in shows, and Gladys Kravitz was not your normal idea of a leading lady. [Ron] had some beautiful songs. One of them was called 'The Leading Lady.' When I first read that song, I said, 'This is you, isn't it?'"

Hester saw Bewildered twice.

"Oh, my God—I was so proud of him," she said. "He did struggle with depression for most of his life, and he would have crippling bouts of anxiety and self-doubt. But he pushed through it, and wrote something so beautiful. … He had an amazing cast, artists who 'got it' and really appreciated the material."

Funeral services for Weaver took place June 13 in Catlin, Illinois. A celebration of his life is scheduled for Monday, July 30, at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Hester suggested donations in his memory to either About Face Youth Theatre or the Critical Animal Relief Foundation, through which Weaver adopted one of his cats.

facebook twitter pin it 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.


Gay News

Author Miriam Frank headlines CTU LGBTQIA+ event 2018-11-14 - Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America author and Pride at Work founding member Miriam Frank was the featured speaker ...

Gay News

Brynn Tannehill: Trans activist calls for action in new book 2018-11-14 - Many readers remember Dr. David Ruben's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex ( But Were Afraid to Ask )—a 1969 best-selling ...

Gay News

Queer Eye's Karamo Brown in Evanston Dec. 5 2018-11-07 - Television host and culture expert on the Emmy-winning Netflix reboot of Queer Eye, Karamo Brown says that the key to his success is ...

Gay News

Ex-Neo Nazi talks about what spurred him to change 2018-11-07 - To look into the eyes of Christian Picciolini—eyes that seem to smile in a nonthreatening and empathetic way—one would probably not believe at ...

Gay News

Michelle Obama giving book-tour tickets to groups 2018-11-07 - Michelle Obama and Live Nation have announced a selection of the local and community organizations that will receive free admission to the former ...

Gay News

Memorial events for Bernard J. Brommel in Nov., Dec. 2018-11-07 - There will be two memorial events for Dr. Bernard J. Brommel coming up in the near future—one in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and one in ...

Gay News

David Jay Collins readings Nov. 9 2018-11-07 - Chicago author David Jay Collins will read scenes from his locally set novels Gaybash and Summerdale on Friday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m., ...

Gay News

A Cradle Song: Part Four 2018-11-07 - A Cradle Song, written by Mark Zubro and illustrated by W.S. Reed, debuts in the Windy City Times as the new holiday classic. ...

Gay News

BOOKS Some of Chicago's LGBTQ-friendly book clubs 2018-11-07 - Reading is a solitary act, and sometimes a lonely one. A number of individuals have gone the extra mile to start book ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Streisand, GLAAD book, Spice Girls, Boy Erased, Rhapsody 2018-11-06 - Barbra Streisand has released an LGBTQ anthem that doubles as a statement against President Trump, reported. The legendary singer's latest album, Walls, ...


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      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.