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SUMMER THEATER FEATURE Turn up the heat: Summertime LGBTQ theater
by Stagedoor Jonny
2019-05-22

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We all know that a high percentage of LGBTQ folks are theatergoers, and not just the opera-and-musical-theater queens. ( May they live long and prosper. )

There are opera-and-musical-theater kings as well. Whatever/whomever you are, we suspect there's something for every he/she/they among you in the following selection of theater productions over the summer months. They embrace not only who we are, but also the diversity of our many communities.

—Steamworks: the Musical, Annoyance Theater, through Aug. 9 ( Fridays only )—This Annoyance hit, set in the well-known Boystown bathhouse, has been revamped with new songs and characters as it tells the story of new-in-town Sweet Young Thang who thinks he'll find true love at the tubs. Well, he finds LOTS of things there! Tickets: $24; TheAnnoyance.com

—Falsettos, Nederlander Theatre, May 28-June 9—The 2016 revival of this iconic gay musical makes a brief stop. James Lapine ( book ) helped composer William Finn shape three earlier one-act plays into this 1992 Tony Award winner about neurotic Marvin and his ex-wife Trina, his son Jason, his lover Whizzer, his psychoanalyst Mendel and his two lesbian neighbors. What, no dog? Mostly comedy, but with moments of introspection. Tickets: BroadwayInChicago.com

—Ms. Blakk for President, Steppenwolf Theatre, through July 12—This world premiere about our very own Ms. Joan Jett Blakk ( Terence Smith ) and her 1992 Presidential campaign is co-authored by award-winning writer Terrell Alvin McCraney, who also plays Ms. Blakk/Smith. Tina Landau is co-author and director in what may be the very gayest, most out and out-there work Steppenwolf ever has staged. About time, too! Tickets: $30-$99; Steppenwolf.org

—Desire in a Tinier House, Pride Films & Plays, May 30-June 29—This world premiere by Ryan Oliveira concerns lovers Trevin and Carlos and what it takes to maintain their life together now and as time passes, bridging large social and cultural differences. It's love at first sight, but that doesn't make anything easier. Topher Leon directs. Tickets: $15-$40; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com

—The Second City's Salute to Pride, The Second City, June 4-26 ( Tuesday and Wednesdays only )—For Pride Month, the world HQ of improvised comedy theater offers an all-new, all-queer variety show, with Lucy Stoole hosting and all-LGBTQIA+ cast directed by Mick ( "Mr. Annoyance" ) Napier. In the UP Comedy Club ( entrance at 230 W. North Ave. ). Tickets: $26 & $36; SecondCity.com

—Sweet Texas Reckoning, Artemisia Theatre at The Den, June 7-30—Chicago premiere of Traci Godfrey's award-winning comedy about a Lone Star State mother, the daughter she thinks should marry her childhood sweetheart and the daughter's wife Mom doesn't know about. Artemisia artistic director Julie Proudfoot directs. Tickets: $25; ArtemisiaTheatre.org

—Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre ( now in Evanston ), June 14-July 28—An intimate cabaret take ( much like the original Off-Broadway production ) on this familiar rock tale by Stephen Trask ( music & lyrics ) and John Cameron Mitchell ( text, and the first Hedwig ), with Will Lidke as Hedwig. One wonders when a trans artist will play the role. Tickets: $39-$69 ( show only or dinner & show ), $5 discount through June 9; theo-u.com

—The Drag Seed, Hell in a Hand Basket at Mary's Attic, July 5-Aug. 25—This musical world premiere from David Cerda and Scott Lamberty is their definitely-unauthorized parody of The Bad Seed, the 1950s melodrama ( play and film ) about a perfect little girl with a murderous secret. Of course, the girl now is a boy who wants to be the perfect little drag girl. Tickets: $27 ( previews are less ); dragseedbrownpapertickets.com

—20/20, About Face Youth Ensemble at Leppen Theatre, Center on Halsted, July 12-15—The annual show by the About Face Youth Ensemble always is a scintillating and heartfelt venture. Turning the Leppen Theatre into a club atmosphere, the Youth Ensemble uses 20/20 vision to explore the last 20 years of LGBTQIA+ history. Tickets: $20; AboutFaceTheatre.com

—All That He Was, Pride Films & Plays, Aug. 10-Sept. 9—Writers Cindy O'Connor and Larry Todd Cousineau have updated their award-winning 1993 AIDS-era musical, and Chicago will see it first, directed by Cousineau himself. In this unusual piece, the hero/narrator already has died of AIDS, and his circle of friends and family cannot see or hear him. People still are dying of AIDS in the United States, so All That He Was shouldn't be just a history lesson. Tickets: $30-$40; PrideFilmsAndPlays.com


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