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LGBT winter theater picks
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

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Recently, the New York Times published a piece on youth advocates in the Queer community who have pushed to expand the generally accepted acronym LGBT to be more inclusive to become: LGBTQQIAA. The extra letters added on are meant to represent: "Queer," "Questioning," "Intersex," "Allies" and "Asexual."

Now I'm sure the following listing of winter theater picks might not be able to appeal to all groups within this expanded LGBTQQIAA acronym. Yet members of any of these underserved groups should voice their concerns to Chicago-area theaters and local playwrights so that they won't be excluded in the future.

World and local premieres

Teddy Ferrara, Goodman Theatre, Feb. 2 through March 3. Pulitzer finalist Christopher Shinn is the force behind this world premiere commissioned drama, which follows the president of a college queer student group who life is thrown for a loop following a highly publicized campus tragedy. .

Under a Rainbow Flag, Pride Films and Plays at Profiles Theatre Main Stage, March 21 to April 21. This is a world premiere musical by Leo Schwartz that is based upon the real-life story of an Evanston WWII naval corpsman who finds love with another man after the war. .

Perfume, Whiskey, and Sickness of the Soul: Improvisation in the Style of Tennessee Williams, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, beginning Jan. 19. This is a brand new improv comedy show that finds its inspiration from the frequently lurid works of the late, great gay American playwright.

A Streetcar Named Desire, Lyric Opera of Chicago, March 26, 29, April 3 and 6. Renee Fleming stars as Blanche DuBois, the faded Southern belle whose grip on reality is crushed by her brutish brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski (Teddy Tahu Rhodes), in Andre Previn's 1998 operatic adaptation of Tennessee Williams' classic drama. This Chicago premiere only plays for four performances.

Nijinsky, Hamburg Ballet at Millennium Park's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Feb. 1 and 2. John Neumeier's new ballet marks the Chicago debut of this distinguished German dance company, and its content promises to be very homoerotic.

Revivals and returns

8. If you missed the Goodman Theatre's reading of Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black's drama chronicling the landmark 2010 federal trial of California's Prop 8, there are still more chances to see the play in Illinois. The Winneshiek Players in Freeport, Ill., will present 8 on Saturday, March 2, while the Oak Park Lesbian and Gay Association stage the drama drawn from court transcripts from Perry v. Schwarzenegger at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Ernest Hemingway Museum Oak Park Cultural Center.

Beautiful Thing, Pride Films & Plays at the Athenaeum Theatre, Jan. 17 through Feb. 17. Before it was made into a much-loved film, Jonathan Harvey's play was the first to introduce this touching story between two British teenagers who unexpected fall in love. Pride Films and Plays presents a special 20th anniversary production. .

Six Degrees of Separation, Eclectic Theatre Company at Athenaeum Theatre, Feb. 22 to March 17. John Guare's Olivier Award-winning 1990s comic drama is based upon a real-life gay con man who worked his way into the homes and won the trust of wealthy New Yorkers.

Drag in many forms

Peter Pan, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Jan. 30 to Feb. 10. A lot of newer adaptations of J.M. Barrie's classic children's tale have opted to scrap the traditional convention of having a woman play the boy who refused to grow up. But with Cathy Rigby returning in the title role for another tour of the beloved 1950s musical, Peter Pan is played by a woman again. .

Stones in His Pockets, Northlight Theatre, March 8 to April 14. Two actors perform all 15 characters (both men and women) in this 1996 comedy that shows the odd things that happen when a big-time Hollywood movie is filmed in a small Irish community. .

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, March 19-31. The costumes must seen to be believed in this non-Equity national tour of this Australian jukebox musical based upon the cult 1994 film about two drag queens and a transgender performer who make an event-filled journey through the Outback to perform at a casino. .

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