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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SUMMER THEATER SPECIAL Hot recommendations
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2018-05-16

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Summer theater productions are rising in temperature with some hot upcoming performances heading to Chicago.

If you don't want to leave the air conditioned house, watch the 72nd Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 10, on CBS at 7 p.m. CT to see if Mean Girls is more "fetch" than SpongeBob Squarepants, both leading with 12 nominations.

For those that love to go outside and visit theaters there is a rainbow of options to see during Pride month and beyond. Here are some of the highlights in the upcoming months:

—A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti LaBelle: Look "Over the Rainbow" for a story about a shy girl from Philly who eventually becomes the energetic and outspoken singer Patti LaBelle. Serve us a slice of her sweet potato pie! Running May 13-June 17 at the Black Ensemble Theater. Info/tickets: BlackEnsembleTheater.org; 773-769-4451

—Bull in a China Shop: This Midwest premiere of Bryna Turner's play is based on the lovers Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks, featuring an all-female cast including AFT's artistic associate Kelli Simpkins. Running May 24-June 1 at Theater Wit. Info/tickets: AboutFaceTheatre.com; 773-975-8150

—The Laramie Project: AstonRep Theatre Company concludes its season with a community's response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. Now is the time more than ever to revisit this small town's hate crime that continues to move audiences. Running June 7- July 8 at The Raven Theatre Complex. Info/tickets: AstonRep.com; 773-828-9129.

—The Cher Show: Cher shares her story of a six decade career in a 35 song musical about the gay icon's life. Three different women turn back time as Cher while wearing out and proud designer Bob Mackie's creations. Running June 12-July 15 at Oriental Theatre. Info/tickets: BroadwayInChicago.com

—The Color Purple: Miss Celie and the family return again to Chicago with a mix of musical genres. More of the lesbian storyline is intact in the script than the movie version, plus there are outwardly sexual songs like "Push Da Button" packing a punch. This Tony Award winner will ring more true to the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Alice Walker than Spielberg allowed. Running July 17-29 at the Auditorium Theatre. Info/tickets: BroadwayInChicago.com

—The Maids: This is the story of two housemaids, played by drag queens, who create elaborate sadomasochistic rituals. Running June 22-July 14 at 1376 W. Grand Ave. Info/tickets: TheArtisticHome.org; 866-811-4111

—Let's Make It Perfectly Queer: A Salute to Pride: LGBT cast members create inclusive sketches at Second City's Blackout Cabaret. Running June 1-24. Info/tickets: SecondCity.com 312-337-3992

—The View Upstairs: A Chicago premiere presenting the story of Wes, a young fashion designer who buys a building that magically transforms into a '70s gay bar. Running June 22-July 22 at 4139 N. Broadway. Info/tickets: CircleTheatreChicago.com .

—The Roommate: Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre hosts the Chicago premiere of The Roommate in a two person play directed by Phylicia Rashad with one of the characters being a member of the LGBT community. Running June 21-Aug. 5. Info/tickets: Steppenwolf.org; 312-335-1650

—Support Group for Men: The Goodman gang dissect gender roles and masculinity when some longtime pals meet in Wrigleyville. Running June 23-July 29 in the Albert Theatre. Info/tickets: GoodmanTheatre.org; 312-443-3800

—The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2: The classic TV sitcom drag show is not ready for retirement yet with brand new campy stories. Running June 19-Sept. 7 at Mary's Attic. Info/tickets: HandbagProductions.org; 800-838-3006.

If that's not enough PrideFilmsandPlays.com provides plenty of gay entertainment at 4139 N. Broadway:

—Out and Proud: A Rainbow Celebration: Featuring the talented Melissa Young and her amazing friends singing cabaret style while mixing in stories of the LGBTQ movement over the years on June 3.

—Pink Orchids: A person's status and the HIV stigma that can surround them is described through monologues. It will run June 6-July 7.

—Fabulous Divas of Hollywood: Created by Alan Palmer who impersonates Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, and Liza Minnelli. If you can't afford tickets to the Oriental you might find Cher there, on June 8 or 9!

—The Green Bay Tree: A young man must choose between his fiancee and his male mentor on June 11-July 8.

—WeFest: Celebrate queer female, non-binary, and trans artists one night only on June 13.

—Fucking Men: A bold title with a story that involves 10 men from different walks of life who try to connect. It will run July 1-Aug 25.

—Holding the Man: Who doesn't love an Australian accent or a true story? This one is about a real-life gay couple, based on Timothy Conigrave's memoir, will run Aug. 5-26.


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