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 2018-01-17
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Telling gay WWII history
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2018-01-10

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Yank! A World War II Love Story is a 2010 off-Broadway musical focusing on gay, lesbian and heterosexual U.S. service members of more than 70 ago. The critically acclaimed musical penned by brothers David and Joseph Zellnik has its belated Chicago premiere this month courtesy of Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center.

Music director Robert Ollis saw the York Theatre Company's staging of Yank! eight years ago and wanted to work on it immediately.

"Of course was drawn to the music," said Ollis, highlighting the traditional Broadway sound of the Zellnik score. "But also the story itself is powerful and that's the reason why I love it the best."

"My father was in World War II as an 18-year-old when he started serving, and that's one thing you see with this is how amazing these young guys were thrown into these battles at such an early age," Ollis said. "You get a sense of the diversity and the different experiences the men faced by being in a squad like this."

Although the characters in Yank! are fictional, the musical drew its inspiration from real-life veteran accounts in the late Allan Berubé's 1990 book Coming Out Under Fire, which in turn inspired a film documentary of the same name in 1994. Yank! also takes its title from a weekly service members' magazine of the 1940s.

Yank! focuses on the budding romance between new recruits Stu ( Matthew Huston ) and Mitch ( William Dwyer ). Both are initially uncertain about their sexuality as they go through basic training, but a strong connection develops before they are shipped out to battle in the South Pacific.

Yank! also has a few story detours. One involves a worldly Yank! magazine photographer named Artie ( John Marshalll Jr. ) who schools Stu on big-city gay subculture. There's also an interview with a lesbian military secretary named Louise. It's one of many female roles ranging from longing girlfriends back home to sultry torch-song singers that are all played the cast's sole woman, Molly LeCaptain.

Back in 2010, Yank! was positioned for a Broadway transfer with former Chicago-based director David Cromer at the helm. Yet some of the musical's political urgency fell by the wayside once the Obama administration repealed the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of barring LGBTQ soldiers from openly serving that same year.

The uncertainty around the unfulfilled Broadway transfer of Yank! meant that the regional rights to the show were tied up for some time. ( The show's cast album wasn't released until 2014. ) In the meantime, Pride Films and Plays staged the acclaimed world-premiere musical Under a Rainbow Flag in 2013, which similarly dealt with gay soldiers during WWII.

Pride Films and Plays executive director David Zak admits that the company held off on pursing Yank! since it covered some of the same territory of Under a Rainbow Flag. But now with the current presidential administration's attacks on trans soldiers and the LGBTQ community in general, Zak said the time is right to stage Yank!

"It's weird because we didn't think we'd be doing a piece about war," Zak said. "But you can't help but think about it when Donald Trump tweets every morning."

Zak said there is also a lot of renewed in interest in Yank! since the show had its successful British premiere last year in Manchester and London.

Both Zak and Ollis have enjoyed the rehearsal process with the young company of Yank! Zak has particularly appreciated one cast member who has been free with sharing his own experiences of being openly gay and serving in the military.

Zak and Ollis also admire Yank! For its ability to open a window to a chapter of LGBTQ history that is often neglected in schools.

"While most of the story is about the romance and about the interactions of the squad, there is one part where one of the soldiers is arrested for same-sex activities and encounters intense questioning and harassment and imprisonment," Ollis said. "It brings up some of the more serious consequences that happened to some of the soldiers."

"World War II really changed the landscape," Ollis said. "A lot of people who were growing up in small towns came together and went to big cities and met other people from different parts of the world that they never would have met. It furthered the realization that there was a gay community out there."

Pride Films and Plays' Chicago premiere of Yank! A WWII Love Story runs from Thursday, Jan. 11, through Sunday, Feb. 18, in The Broadway space of the Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Previews run through Sunday, Jan. 14, and are $25. Tickets for the regular run are $30-$40 with discounts available for seniors and students. For more information, visit PrideFilmsAndPlays.com .


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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Insurrection' echoes Nat Turner's life through present day 2018-01-17 - Try to define playwright Robert O'Hara's Insurrection: Holding History would likely result in confusion. "I've been describing it, like, the playwright ...


Gay News

Julia Sweeney show through March 18 2018-01-17 - Saturday Night Live veteran, author, actor and TED- talk veteran Julia Sweeney will make her stand-up debut this January in a new workshop ...


Gay News

Charles Busch at Pride Arts Jan. 21-22 2018-01-17 - Tony Award nominee, Drama Desk Lifetime Achievement honoree and two-time MAC Award winner, Charles Busch, who performed two sold-out shows at Pride Arts ...


Gay News

WINTER THEATER SPECIAL World-premiere plays start bright and early 2018-01-17 - It might have been the mild snows in the last few years that finally persuaded theater companies to acknowledge winter as a time ...


Gay News

WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Winter classics "true and reimagined 2018-01-17 - The classics—usually meaning plays by dead playwrights which have withstood the test of time—sometimes can be "reimagined" ( to use an au courant ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT My Kinda '60s 2018-01-17 - Playwright, performer and drag legend Charles Busch ( Psycho Beach Party, Die Mommy Die ) returns to Chicago to perform My Kinda '60s. ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-01-17 - BLKS, Steppenwolf Theatre, through Jan. 28. Life is never easy for young, bright, urban hipsters confronting their future in all its high-velocity kaleidoscopic ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Flamingo and Decatur 2018-01-17 - Playwright: Todd Taylor At: Block St Theatre Company at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $33. Runs through: Feb. 18 Audiences ...


Gay News

WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Queer theater to chill to 2018-01-17 - LGBTQ audiences who want to see their lives reflected onstage have plenty to choose from this winter. Productions ranges from developmental festival works ...


Gay News

TELEVISION TV special, Sighted Eyes, Feeling Heart, tells Lorraine Hansberry's story 2018-01-17 - In high school, Tracy Heather Strain's grandmother took her to see a production of Young, Gifted and Black, a play drawn from the ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

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.