Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 29+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-03-25
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

The Hammer
Playwright: Nathan Allen and Chris Mathews. At: House Theatre of Chicago at ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

NUNN ON ONE THEATER Jeffrey Carlson, for good 'Measure'
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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

Actor Jeffrey Carlson is leading the cast of the Goodman Theatre's Measure for Measure. Robert Falls' radical take on the Shakespeare classic is sure to entertain audiences with its dark comedy. Carlson portrays Lucio, a link between the underworld and high society.

Carlson may be remembered for his important part in All My Children as the rock star Zarf, who was revealed to be a transgender woman, Zoe, who was a lesbian. The show won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Daily Drama in the process.

Carlson is classically trained, having studied at Julliard. He debuted on Broadway in Albert Albee's The Goat or Who is Sylvia? with Bill Pullman and Sally Field. He played Marilyn in Boy George's Taboo, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.

He is no stranger to Shakespeare, with performances in Washington D.C. in Hamlet, among many others. Carlson brings this experience to the current production, where Windy City Times went backstage to explore his journey to this production.

Windy City Times: Hi, Jeffrey. Your story is interesting since birth. I read your mom was an All My Children fan.

Jeffrey Carlson: Yes, she named me after Dr. Jeff Martin; then many years later I wound up on the show!

WCT: She must be the proudest mother in the world.

JC: She was so proud. It was fascinating the way it happened. I was asked to do only one day and they called me a month and a half later to write me on the show, then they told me about the transgender role. So I don't think my mom knew about it in that capacity. I had to do a big coming-out transgender story on daytime television.

WCT: The videos are still out on YouTube.

JC: I know. My mom told me to watch them but I didn't want to. Those clips make me nervous and judgmental.

WCT: Were you pushed by her to be in theater?

JC: No; it started strangely. I was terrible at sports as a kid. We were an athletic family and when I kicked the ball, it went sideways. I was an artistic kid. My mom asked me what I wanted to do and I said "Acting." I'm from Long Beach, Calif., and she put me in local acting classes and it was fun. I tried sports again in high school and couldn't do it. One of my relatives taught at my high school and suggested I talk to the drama teacher. In a small capacity I started to open up. I was a really shy kid. I still am but in a different capacity because you have to deal with this business.

I wound up studying to be a veterinarian. I went to UC Davis as an animal-science major. My first year there I was playing the piano, and one of the drama majors heard me singing and signed me up for auditioning for the play. The dean encouraged me to pursue acting. They gave me a job so I could quit the pet store I was working at. I had to cram my degree into a year and a half. I auditioned for Juilliard School and was asked to come two weeks later. That was a marvelous experience. I moved to New York without ever having been there before. My very first day at school was my first day in New York City.

WCT: That is an intense program.

JC: I don't regret a single day of it. I wanted to hang myself most days I was in it because of how rigorous it is. Sometimes they are just plain mean to you, but it is all out of love. Right after that, I got the off-Broadway play and was lucky that a lot of people saw that performance.

WCT: What was the name of the play?

JC: It was called Thief River by Lee Blessing at the Signature Theatre in New York. Edward Albee came to see it and I was asked to do a reading of his play. Before I knew it I was doing my first Broadway play right out of school.

WCT: How old were you?

JC: I was 26 when I started it, and did it for almost a year. I then left it to do a revival of Tartuffe on Broadway. I left that a week early from that to do a revival of The Miracle Worker with Hilary Swank. It was supposed to go to Broadway but we closed out of a town for a variety of reasons.

I shot a bit of a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and was worried that I would never work again when I got the call to audition for Taboo. I guess they had been looking for a Marilyn for a long time. I had never played a drag queen before. By the time I auditioned for Rosie O'Donnell and walked to my agent's office a block away, I had gotten the role—then I went on that crazy rollercoaster!

WCT: How long did that last?

JC: I think we did 113 performances so it was a good three months. We were in rehearsal for two months before that so it felt like it had its due. It went through such a beating through the media. People really loved it and didn't want it to close. It was so fun to go to work every night. The cast got along great even with all of the drama outside.

WCT: Did you see the documentary about it and why it failed?

JC: I was in it.

WCT: When did All My Children happen?

JC: It was a few years after that. I did a lot of theater in between. I did my first show in Chicago at the Shakespeare Theater. We took it to the Royal Theatre Company in England. While I was there I got my script for All My Children. They hired me as a day player but then they wrote me on the show. My parents were thrilled.

I had a meeting with the producer and they explained that they wanted to do the first coming out story of a transgender from male to female on daytime television. I asked, "How are you going to do it?" She said, "With dignity." Then I said okay and they told me what they were doing with Eden Riegel's character, Bianca, coming out as a lesbian and I was sold. I would not have gone on the show for sensational pieces.

WCT: I know many people where they transition and become a lesbian but you don't usually see it on daytime TV.

JC: I feel like that is commonplace now because it opened up my whole world.

WCT: How did you land Measure for Measure?

JC: I did a show here two years ago called Stage Kiss. I was in between moving from New York to Los Angeles but I spend a lot of time here. I teach Shakespeare in the city.

WCT: Where?

JC: It is freelance. I teach with my dear friend Susan Hart. We do this thing where I come in and help professional actors with their language.

After Stage Kiss, the casting director here just called and asked me to see Bob about Measure for Measure. I just happened to be teaching a class about Measure for Measure at the same time. I was covered on the language part.

WCT: Tell our readers about your character in the show.

JC: He is Lucio. He's called a "fantastic."

WCT: What does that mean?

JC: No one really knows what it means. People that have taken a stab at it claim he's avant garde and ahead of his time. He's sharp as a tack with his wit. His references are so obscure almost to a point that they had to be cut because a modern audience wouldn't even understand what I was talking about. In fashion he is ahead of his time. You can't get him to shut up. When he is onstage he always has something to say.

WCT: He must be fun to play.

JC: He can be played so many different ways but we had made him British in this play. He's someone who is very wealthy but he can go from talking to the wealthy people to hanging out with the lowlifes. He hangs out in brothels and does drugs. We are set in the '70s in New York. This isn't your grandma's Measure for Measure!

WCT: This sounds wild.

JC: I never thought I would play someone like him. Bob is really encouraging me to go a very different direction than what I thought he was or perceived him on paper and it is fascinating. There is a little dark side to him. He has ended up being a very caring person as well as the wild child.

WCT: You have performed so much Shakespeare over the years. What do you like about his works?

JC: I just love the writing. I think he is practically perfect. I know some of his plays have problems. It may be cliché but the reason they have been around for so long is when you really look at them they are some of the most human situations. We don't talk like that anymore or even back then. No one was running around rhyming in iambic pentameter. I find the stories very personal to me and I can make them very personal. Almost every character in every play I know someone who is similar to them.

Shake it over to the Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn St., as Measure for Measure is currently running through April 14. To purchase a ticket, visit .

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 Travis Turner heads 'Upstairs' 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW Two Trains Running 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW The Hammer Trinity 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW Picture Imperfect 2015-03-25
THEATER REVIEW The Mecca Tales 2015-03-25
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-03-25
Rivendell Theatre honors Willa Taylor, marks 20 years 2015-03-19
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW The long and short of it: Classics and near-classics 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW First Wives Club: The Musical 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW The Full Monty 2015-03-18
THEATER REVIEW Garage Rep 2015 2015-03-18
Theater Spotlight, Critics' Picks 2015-03-18
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: Bring on the premieres! 2015-03-18
SPRING THEATER PREVIEW: LGBTQ works for the spring 2015-03-18
Upcoming: Willa Taylor honors; GayCo event; Sculpture exhibit 2015-03-18
Entertainment: Madonna; Matt Bomer; Billie Jean film; Josh Groban 2015-03-17
Out Chicago live from Boystown March 22 2015-03-17
Kinsey Sicks campaign on Kickstarter funds trip to Scotland's "Fringe" 2015-03-17
About Face Theatre celebrates 19th year at Wonka Ball: Worhol 2015-03-12
THEATER REVIEW The Diary of Anne Frank 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW One Came Home 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW The Royal Society of Antarctica 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW Titus Andronicus 2015-03-11
Theater Spotlight; Critics' Picks 2015-03-11
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Grant James Varjas pens gay-bar drama 2015-03-11
NBCUniversal partners with Second City 2015-03-11
THEATER REVIEW Fit to be Tied 2015-03-10
Windy City Gay Idol looks back on twelve years 2015-03-06
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Garage activism 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW The Glass Protege 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW The Sweeter Option 2015-03-04
THEATER REVIEW Four 2015-03-04
DOUBLE REVIEW Dunsinane; Macbeth 2015-03-04
Theater Spotlight and Critics' Picks 2015-03-04
The (drag) queen's speech: Talking with Terence Boyle 2015-03-03
NUNN ON ONE: MAGIC Jeff Hobson bringing flamboyant persona to Chicago 2015-03-03
THEATER REVIEW The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker 2015-02-25
THEATER REVIEW Marie Antoinette 2015-02-25
THEATER REVIEW The Other Place 2015-02-25

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.






ALMA names recipients of Young Latino Leaders for Creating Change scholarship
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Taryn Manning dishes on new music, 'Orange Is the New Black'
Ald. Emma Mitts videotaped making anti-LGBT comments
Accepting HIV status is 'strength' for Chicago athlete
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now


  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

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.