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 2020-06-24
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Larry Todd ( Johnson ) Cousineau

At: The Buena, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway. Tickets:; $25-$40. Runs through: Sept. 8

The 1993 AIDS-themed musical All That He Was can be a tough go, but will eventually settle before it's done.

The story begins with the audience immersed in an outdoor funeral set in a small park. The deceased main character functions as an invisible narrator in a story in which each cast member has a moment to shine.

Instead of retreating backstage, the actors are seated around the room, moving in and out of the various scenes during the hour and forty minutes running time of the show. The exposition lasts six minutes and 32 seconds, as described by The Man, played by Matthew Huston. In a flashback sequence, we see all the family dynamics and are quickly brought up to speed on the storyline.

The playwright doesn't use names for the characters, but instead possibly wants them to represent archetypes during that time period. We can recognize many of these people within our own lives and that's when All That He Was works. It's vital to this production that The Man, during his journey in life and death, is relatable and likable.

For those that have suffered from post religious family stress or have had loved ones die from HIV/AIDS, this family drama will contain some triggers, so be prepared.

Many of us have pictured of our own funeral or have had thoughts of revenge when someone does us wrong in life and how they might possibly suffer after our time comes. In one segment, a lesbian and a Bible-thumping family member battle it out through song. It's the same holy war we have been fighting for ages with no resolution in sight and makes the show relevant to current times.

Services are a time for reflection and this theater troupe succeeds in creating that atmosphere in a small confined space. The playbill is even cleverly enveloped around a funeral pamphlet.

Song lyrics in this musical are used to push the plot forward and they often finish with a long sustained note to signal an end. It's a little awkward at times and there's a bit of shaky singing, but its heart is in the right place, overall. Things certainly improve by the end, with some powerful moments that will cause many to shed a tear or two.

Joe Giovannetti ( The Lover ) and Brittney Brown ( The Girlfriend ) are standouts in the cast. They both make the script seem effortless and natural. Nothing against the talent of the singer playing The Doctor, but was a solo song really necessary?

This particular production by Pride Films and Plays contains new music and a revised script, while still keeping the setting in the '90s. All That He Was has enough high points to demand a return visit to the stage; just be sure and bring a tissue along for the ride.

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.


Gay News

Director David Zak steps down from post after community outcry 2020-07-04 - Pride Films & Plays (PFP) Executive Director David Zak stepped down from his longtime post July 3 after numerous members of Chicago's theater ...

Gay News

Broadway suspends shows through 2020 2020-06-30 - The Broadway League announced June 29 that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to ...

Gay News

'Magic Parlour at Home' during July 2020-06-28 - Magician Dennis Watkins is taking his experience The Magic Parlour online for a completely new virtual offering dubbed "The Magic Parlour at Home." ...

Gay News

CHF talk to feature Abby McEnany and Samantha Irby 2020-06-24 - Actor Abby McEnany and writer Samantha Irby will have a conversation in a Chicago Humanities Festival digital program that will take place Thursday, ...

Gay News

THEATER Despite everything, there are shows for Pride Week 2020-06-24 - It's almost impossible to write about the indelible events of 2020 ( which is still not quite half over ) without diminishing them. ...

Gay News

Raven Theatre names new managing director 2020-06-24 - Following a nationwide search, Raven Theatre's board of directors announced Markie Gray as the company's new managing director, effective July 1. Originally from ...

Gay News

47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards announces honorees 2020-06-22 - June 22, 2020 — Chicago — As part of the annual recognition of theater excellence, the 47th Non-Equity Jeff Awards has announced honorees ...

Gay News

'That's Queer, Grandma' June 22-July 6 2020-06-17 - PlayMakers Laboratory ( PML ) celebrates Pride Month virtually with a free presentation of That's Queer, Grandma—a romp through student-written stories that at ...

Gay News

COVID-19 Mercury Theater permanently closing 2020-06-17 - Executive Director L. Walter Stearns and partner, business manager Eugene Dizon, announced the permanent closure of Mercury Theater Chicago after 10 years and ...

Gay News

The Last Sunday in June online live reading June 28 2020-06-16 - Chicago, IL - Jonathan Tolins' look at gay life in the 1990s - THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE — will be performed via ...


Copyright © 2020 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.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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 publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.