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Pride Films and Plays 2018-19 season to feature Southern Comfort, Trevor
From a press release

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For 2018-19, its second full season in its home at the two-stage Pride Arts Center, Pride Films and Plays will expand to a five-show season, up from the four-show schedule of 2017-18. Artistic Director Nelson A. Rodriguez today announced the company's lineup of four plays and one musical under the theme "We Are Family." Rodriguez explains, "This season we are focusing on Chosen Families and their importance in our community - especially during trying times. These four plays and one musical delve into the family-like bonds, romantic relationships, and professional circles which give us the strength and faith to persevere in the face of adversity."

The company will use its two performance venues — the 85-seat Broadway and the 50-seat Buena, to present a range of LGBTQ-themed or authored works from writers both known and new to Chicago audiences.

The season will open in early September with the Chicago premiere of HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA by Jordan Seavey ( pictured ). The comedy-drama deals with a young urban gay couple dealing with the aftermath of a vicious crime. The play premiered in 2016 in a production by New York's LAByrinth Theater Company. Seavey is the co-Artistic Director of NYC's Collaboration Town. Pride Films and Plays Associate Artistic Director Derek Van Barham will direct.

The season's second production will be IT'S ONLY A PLAY, by Terrence McNally. McNally is arguably Broadway's most prolific gay male playwright, with 20 Broadway credits to his name, plus many other plays produced off-Broadway. IT'S ONLY A PLAY is a comedy set behind the scenes of a Broadway play that satirizes theater folk as it celebrates the sort of "chosen family" they form during their production. It premiered off-Broadway in 1986 and was revised and updated by McNally for a 2014 Broadway revival. The Pride Films and Plays production will be Chicago's first look at the revised script. A director will be announced later.

I KNOW MY OWN HEART by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue will open in January. Inspired by the secret coded diaries of Yorkshire gentlewoman Anne Lister, it details Lister's affairs with various women in the early 19th Century. Donoghue is best known for her novel and subsequent screenplay and stage play of ROOM. The film version of ROOM was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Brie Larson's award-winning performance. This will be the US premiere of I KNOW MY OWN HEART and it will be directed by Elizabeth Swanson.

The life of a transgender man in Georgia is the subject of the musical SOUTHERN COMFORT, to open in the Pride Arts Center's Broadway stage in March under David Zak's direction. Based on the 2001 Sundance Film Festival documentary,

Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis

SOUTHERN COMFORT follows the last year of Robert Eads, a transgender man in Georgia. He surrounds himself with his chosen family, as they share monthly potluck meals. Like any family, they have their own trials and tribulations, but ultimately, they all seek acceptance for who they are in their own skin.

SOUTHERN COMFORT received its premiere at The Public Theater in New York City in February of 2016 and was written by Dan Collins ( book and lyrics ) and Julianne Wick Davis ( composer ), who created TREVOR: THE MUSICAL, which was warmly received in its world premiere production at Writers Theatre in summer 2017.

The season will close with the world premiere of DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE, by Brazilian-American, Chicago-based playwright Ryan Oliveira. Oliveira's play explores the challenges of maintaining loving gay relationships amidst the societal forces that attack such relationships. DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE had a workshop by Commission Theatre in 2017, directed by Pride Films and Plays Artistic Director Nelson A. Rodriguez, who will direct this fully staged production as well.

Season subscriptions will be $96.00 for the five-show season, offering one reserved seat for each of the five productions. Patrons purchasing subscriptions by June 1 will also receive one free seat to see THE DAYS ARE SHORTER — the final production of the 2017-18 season, which will play in the Buena from May 8 — June 3, 2018. Flex passes, providing six admissions to any season production that can be divided among productions however the patron wishes, will be available for $168.00. Both season subscription packages are available now at or by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222.



By Jordan Seavey

Directed by Derek Van Barham

August 30 — September 30, 2018

Previews: August 30, 31 and September 1 at 7:30pm and September 2 at 3:30pm. All preview seats $15.

Press Opening: Wednesday, September 5 at 7:30pm

Regular Run: September 6 - 30 with Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:30pm

Premium seats $30, general admission seats $25, student/senior/military $20 ( not valid Saturdays )

Pride Arts Center - The Buena

4147 N. Broadway

Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online

"Love is love" — but is navigating it any less complicated today? What does it mean to be in a committed relationship? Is monogamy just monotony? Told through interweaving glimpses into the life of an everyday couple unexpectedly confronted by a vicious crime, HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA is a fearless, funny, heart-on-its-sleeve examination of the moments that can bring two people together — or pull them apart.

HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA premiered at New York City's LAByrinth Theater Company in fall 2016 and had its West Coast premiere at San Diego's Diversionary Theatre in October 2017. THE NEW YORK TIMES called it "A daringly frank, funny and affecting new play [...] Mr. Seavey's portrait of young gay New Yorkers negotiating the sometimes-thorny nature of love and intimacy has an arresting, even bruising honesty." NEW YORK magazine wrote, "Recalling both the furious politics of Kramer's AIDS jeremiads and the sentimental pathos of Mart Crowley's pre-Stonewall classic [The Boys in the Band], HOMOS is as essential to our moment as those works were to theirs [...] Seavey is dealing with very large ideas that have bedeviled the gay 'community' — and everyone else — forever [...] HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA [is] a play you should see only if you care about either of its title characters."


By Terrence McNally

Director to be announced

October 11 — November 11, 2018

Previews: October 11, 12, 13 at 7:30pm and October 14 at 3:30pm. All preview seats $15.

Press Opening: October 17 at 7:30pm

Regular Run: October 18 - November 11 with Thursday - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:30pm

Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 ( not valid Saturdays )

Pride Arts Center — the Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online

An hilarious send-up of show business and its often-bizarre practitioners, which uses the occasion of a disastrous opening night party to pile one wildly funny comic sequence upon another. IT'S ONLY A PLAY, by the author of such Broadway hits as RAGTIME and KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, premiered off-off-Broadway at the Actors and Directors Theatre in 1982, was produced off-Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1986, and was revived on Broadway in the 2014-15 season, running for over nine months. "This show is without a doubt hilariously, sidesplittingly funny…These are among the funniest lines to roll off a stage in years…IT'S ONLY A PLAY deserves only a rave." —NY Times.


By Emma Donoghue


Directed by Elizabeth Swanson

January 10 — February 10, 2019

Previews: January 10, 11, 12 at 7:30pm. All preview seats $15

Press Opening: January 13 at 3:30 pm

Regular Run: January 17 - February 10 with Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:30pm and January 30 at 7:30pm

Pride Arts Center — The Buena, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago

Premium seats $30, general admission seats $25, student/senior/military $20 ( not valid Saturdays )

Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online

Inspired by the secret coded diaries of Yorkshire gentlewoman Anne Lister, this play subverts all the conventions of Regency romance. Teasing out the entangled lives of Lister ( nicknamed 'Gentleman Jack' ) and three of her many lovers, I KNOW MY OWN HEART explores the different choices women make in a time of limits and prohibitions. I KNOW MY OWN HEART was nominated for the Stewart Parker Award for Best Irish Debut Play.


Book & Lyrics by Dan Collins, Music by Julianne Wick Davis

Based on the Film by Kate Davis


Directed by David Zak

Music Direction by Robert Ollis

Previews: February 28, March 1, 2 at 7:30pm and March 3 at 7:30pm. All preview seats $15

Press Opening: March 4 at 7:30pm

Regular Run: March 7 - 31 with Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30m and Sundays at 3:30pm.

Pride Arts Center - The Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 ( not valid Saturdays )

Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online

SOUTHERN COMFORT is a musical by the bookwriter/lyricist and composer of TREVOR: THE MUSICAL, which had a successful world premiere at Writers Theatre in summer of 2017. Based on the 2001 Sundance Film Festival documentary, SOUTHERN COMFORT follows the last year of Robert Eads, a transgender man in Georgia. He surrounds himself with his chosen family, as they share monthly potluck meals. Like any family, they have their own trials and tribulations, but ultimately, they all seek acceptance for who they are in their own skin. SOUTHERN COMFORT received its premiere at The Public Theater in New York City in February of 2016, following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 ( NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick ), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. THE NEW YORK TIMES called it "A sweetheart of a musical." Bookwriter/lyricist Dan Collins and composer Julianne Wick Davis received theJonathan Larson Award of the American Theatre Wing and the GLAAD Media Award for their work on SOUTHERN COMFORT,


By Ryan Oliveira


Directed by Nelson A. Rodriguez

May 30 — June 29, 2019

Previews: May 30, 31, June 1 at 7:30pm and June 2 at 3:30pm. All preview seats $15.

Press Opening: June 3 at 7:30pm

Regular Run: June 6 - 29 with Thursday - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:30pm and June 19 and 26 at 7:30pm

Pride Arts Center - The Buena

4147 N. Broadway

Premium seats $30, general admission seats $25, student/senior/military $20 ( not valid Saturdays )

Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online

It only takes three seconds for Trevin and Carlos to lock eyes. But how many minutes, months, millennia will it take for them to remain in love in the middle of the woods — in the middle of an America determined to pull them apart? Can they truly keep the tiny house they've made for themselves forever?

DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE received a workshop production directed by Nelson Rodriguez with Commission Theatre in 2017.


Jordan Seavey ( Playwright, HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA ). Jordan Seavey's plays include HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA ( New York Times Critic's Pick; named one of New York Magazine's 10 Best Theater Events of 2016; The Advocate's Top 10 New York Theater of 2016; OBIE Award for performance, Michael Urie ), WIGHT, NOVEMBER 4TH 2008, THE FUNNY PAIN, THE TRUTH WILL OUT, CHILDREN AT PLAY, 6969 and THIS IS A NEWSPAPER. Since 2003 he's co-created more than fifteen new plays with theater company CollaborationTown. These include CANDY ( a commission from LCT3 / Lincoln Center ), the all-ages puppet musical RIDDLE OF THE TRILOBITES ( as residents of New Victory Theater's LabWorks ), FAMILY PLAY ( 1979 TO PRESENT ) ( named one of The Advocate's 10 Best LGBT Plays of 2014 ), and THE MOMENTUM ( 2012 GLAAD National Media Award nomination ). He is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, and an alum of The Public Theater's Emerging Writer's Group and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. He eagerly awaits a new President of the United States of America.

Terrence McNally ( playwright, IT'S ONLY A PLAY ). McNally's far-ranging works include landmark plays such as MASTER CLASS, LOVE! VALOR! COMPASSION!, and FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIRE DE LUNE — plays that celebrate men and women—biographical and fictional, gay and straight—who embrace life's possibilities in all their ridiculous and painful glory. He has contributed the books of ground-breaking musicals such as KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, RAGTIME, and THE VISIT, that challenge notions of race, class, and sexuality. In the world of opera, he has created the librettos for the poignant DEAD MAN WALKING and the upcoming GREAT SCOTT at the Dallas Opera. Some of his other plays and musicals include THE RITZ, THE RINK, THE FULL MONTY, DEUCE, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, MOTHERS AND SONS, A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, THE LISBON TRAVIATA, LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART; CORPUS CHRISTI, A PERFECT GANESH and ANASTASIA. Pride Films and Plays produced McNally's SOME MEN in 2014.

By the time he won the 1993 Tony for Best Book of a Musical for KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN ( the first of four Tony awards ), Mr. McNally was already a recipient of multiple Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel, and Obie Awards. He was inducted to the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1996 and has been honored by numerous organizations for his ongoing contributions to the theatre.

Emma Donoghue ( playwright, I KNOW MY OWN HEART ). Born in Dublin in 1969, Donoghue is an award-winning writer, living in Canada. She adapted her novel ROOM for the screen, earning an Academy award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. ( ROOM was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture, Brie Larson won Best Actress for the 2015 film ). Donoghue also adapted ROOM for the stage and its world premiere was co-produced by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Abbey Theatre Dublin in May-July 2017. She has written six other plays as well as 18 novels. She is also adapting her novelsTHE WONDER and FROG MUSIC for the screen.

Dan Collins ( bookwriter/lyricist, SOUTHERN COMFORT ). Other projects include WOOD ( starring Tony Award Winner Cady Huffman ) and with Julianne Wick Davis, WHEN WE MET ( The Eugene O'Neill National Musical Theater Conference; CAP 21 Theatre Company ). Dan was selected along with Wick Davis as a Dramatist Guild Fellow as well as for TheatreWorks Palo Alto's Writer's Retreat. He received his M.F.A in Musical Theater Writing at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and his B.F.A. in Playwriting at The Theater School at DePaul University.

Julianne Wick Davis ( composer, SOUTHERN COMFORT ). Julianne wrote music and lyrics for When We Met with Dan Collins ( book ), which was developed at the O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference, the York NEO Development Series and had a developmental production at CAP21 in 2014. Her musical TREVOR: THE MUSICAL, written with Dan Collins, enjoyed a successful world premiere at Writers Theatre in Glencoe in summer 2017. She is a York Theatre's NEO 9 emerging writer, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, and a 2015 Sundance Fellow at UCross. Julianne has an M.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Ryan Oliveira ( playwright, DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE ) is a playwright-performer. His play STRAY was produced by Chicago Dramatists in 2017. His short works, MIGRATION and HERE ( THREE ELEGIES FOR A GAY CLUB ), have been part of NoPassport Theatre's Theatre Actions. He was the Romulus Linney Scholar at the 2016 Sewanee Writers' Conference and has been a finalist for the 2016 Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists Grant ( PASSING TIME IN ANIMAL TOWN ), a semi-finalist for the 2016 O'Neill Theatre Conference ( CHAOS ) and Disquiet Luso-American Fellowship ( "The Strays of Piumhi" ). MFA: The University of Iowa ( 2015 ). BA: Cornell University ( 2008 ).


Derek Van Barham ( director, HOMOS OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA ) Derek Van Barham is the Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays, a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble, and a former Artistic Director of The Ruckus. For PFP, he has directed PERFECT ARRANGEMENT, ANGRY FAGS ( Steppenwolf Garage Repertory ), SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED ( Jeff nomination ), and PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT: THE MUSICAL ( co-directed with David Zak ). He also wrote, directed and choreographed BITE: A PUCKING QUEER CABARET and KILL YOUR BOYFRIENDS. Other directing credits include THREE DAYS OF RAIN ( Boho ), MIRACLE! by Dan Savage and SKOOBY DON'T ( Hell in a Handbag ), TRASH and HOT PINK ( New American Folk Theatre ), and FROM THESE FATAL LOINS ( The Ruckus ). Choreography credits include THE CIVILITY OF ALBERT CASHIER ( Permoveo/PFP ), NEVERMORE and SHOCKHEADED PETER ( Black Button Eyes ). He was named one of Windy City Times 30 UNDER 30, recognizing individuals from Chicago's LGBTQ+ community. MFA: Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Up next: THE VIEW UPSTAIRS with Circle Theatre.

Elizabeth Swanson ( director, I KNOW MY OWN HEART ). Elizabeth Swanson is a Chicago-based theater director. Her recent credits include HARVEY ( Three Brothers Theatre ), WHERE ALL THE WHITE SNEAKERS AT? ( Second City ), and LUNGS ( Granary Theatre, Cork, Ireland ). Assistant directing credits include FUN HOME ( Victory Gardens Theater ), LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST ( Chicago Shakespeare Theater ), and VARDO for the Dublin Theatre Festival ( Anu Productions ). Elizabeth has also directed for Stage 773's Artists Lab and directed festival shows and readings with Chicago Dramatists, Pride Films & Plays, Artemisia, and Otherworld Theatre, among others. Elizabeth has an M.F.A. in theatre directing from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at Trinity College, Dublin.

David Zak ( director, SOUTHERN COMFORT ) has won seven Jeff Awards in Chicago, including four for directing ( ANIMAL FARM, DR. SEX, PARADE, POPE JOAN ), two for writing ( THE HIROSHIMA PROJECT, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO ) and a special Jeff for "Fostering Diversity in Chicago Theater." In his 27-year stint as Artistic Director of Bailiwick Repertory, he directed the world premiere production of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER, the US premieres of Sir Peter Hall's ANIMAL FARM and JERRY SPRINGER — THE OPERA, and many original works including the political dramas THE HIROSHIMA PROJECT and SIN: A CARDINAL DEPOSED. He has directed in London ( THE IRISH CURSE ), Seoul ( DOLLHOUSE, FANTA STICK, THE GHOST'S COOKBOOK ), Dublin ( OH, HOLY ALLEN GINSBERG, AT THE FLASH ), Boston ( SIN: A CARDINAL DEPOSED ), Los Angeles ( DR. SEX, AT THE FLASH ) and New York ( MARLOWE AND POSEIDON: AN UPSIDE DOWN MUSICAL ). His productions of the American Premieres of JERRY SPRINGER — THE OPERA and Sir Peter Hall's ANIMAL FARM won Jeff Awards for Best Musical, as did his productions of PARADE, POPE JOAN, and Dennis DeYoung's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Most recently, he directed YANK!, HIS GREATNESS and with Derek Van Barham, PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT — all for Pride Films and Plays.

Robert Ollis ( Music Director, SOUTHERN COMFORT ) is an Artistic Associate of Pride Films & Plays and served as Music Director for PFP's productions of YANK!, PERFECT ARRANGEMENT, PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE BOY FROM OZ, SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED, A HISTORY OF SUMMER and THE BOOK OF MERMAN, plus the premiere of Leo Schwartz's award-winning UNDER A RAINBOW FLAG. He recently served as Co-Music Director for Underscore Theatre's new musical HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST'S SONGBOOK. Robert received a Jeff Award for musical direction of KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. Robert is the music director and co-creator of JUDY AND LIZA: THE LONDON PALLADIUM CONCERT — A TRIBUTE and accompanies other notable cabaret performers in New York City and Chicago venues.

Nelson Rodriguez ( director, DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE ). As Artistic Director with Pride Films & Plays, Nelson Rodriguez's credits include SOME MEN, THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, THE BOYS UPSTAIRS, and MEN ON THE VERGE OF A HIS-PANIC BREAKDOWN, for which he received a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination in Solo Performance and later performed at Vermont Pride Theatre and The Gainesville Theatre Alliance. Additional Chicago credits include Steppenwolf for Young Audiences ( THE COMPASS, u/s ), 16th Street Theatre ( GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES ), Stage Left Theatre ( THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE; WHAT OF THE NIGHT? ), a national tour of SIX STORIES TALL with Adventure Stage Chicago where he is an Associate Artist, and many more. His on-camera work includes a starring role in the feature film EN ALGUN LUGAR ( TLA Releasing; 2017 Reeling Film Festival ), a supporting role in the indie feature SOUL SESSIONS ( Julien Dubuque Film Festival ), and guest spots on the web series EASY ABBY and KISSING WALLS, which were both screened at Chicago International Film Festival's 2018 TV Fest. He is a member of The Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists' playwrights circle, El Semillero. His first full-length play SNAPSHOTS was presented at Victory Gardens Theater and Chicago Cultural Center and his short play, ROPA VIEJA, was produced as part of Broken Nose Theatre's 2017 Bechdel Fest. He holds an MFA in Acting from The University of Southern Mississippi. In 2016, he received Windy City Times' 30 Under 30 Award which recognizes members of the LGBTQ youth community. Mr. Rodriguez is represented by Gray Talent Group.


Pride Films and Plays changes lives through the generation of diverse new work ( or work that is new to Chicago ) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a four-play season of full productions, shoots one short film each year, and continues our famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center.

Pride Arts Center, in its own right, produces events complimenting the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions, or feature national treasures like Charles Busch. PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago's City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.

For more information, visit or call 1.800.737.0984.

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