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 2018-02-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW Steamworks the Musical
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Stephanie McCullough, Mike Gifford, Parker Callahan & the cast. At: Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-697-9693;; $20. Run: Fridays through June 16

Long-partnered as I am, I didn't realize that bathhouse culture still flourishes in Chicago, or at least in Boystown, as the very funny Steamworks the Musical makes clear. This is an expanded version ( with new songs ) of an Annoyance Theatre hit of several years ago. It will be a hit again if its very limited run can be extended.

Y'see, Al the twink arrives from Nebraska saying, "I've never been gay before," meaning he couldn't act gay back home. ( I dunno, I had a really hot threesome once in Lincoln. ) Almost immediately Al meets Carol, the Boystown faghag who complains she can't score cock on the Halsted Strip. After a stand-and-pose stop at Roscoe's, Al follows a hot guy to Steamworks and quickly learns the ropes via song ( "The Lay of the Land" ) from bathhouse attendants Twinkie-Dee and Twinkie-Dum as well as long-term customer Chester, who claims he hasn't left Steamworks in 12 years. Eventually, Al connects with his dream man, a stooopid musclehead owned by the King of Steam, an assertive diva cock who rules the Steamworks roost. No more plot details or I'll spoil the fuck-off for you. Oh, didn't I say? There's a fuck-off between Al and the King of Steam. But enough!

The theater program doesn't identify who plays whom, but all 10 actors have strong voices and great comic timing, and Al is cute as a button. They sing about tits 'n' pits, the scuzzy whirlpool ( complete with turd puppets ), a love song ( "I'm Wet with Love" ) and a charmer titled "Falling into the Hole." You get the idea. Everyone uses condoms and there's a song about PrEP, which doesn't inhibit the gross-out jokes one bit. There are witty remarks as well, such as Al's admission that he's "not cool enough for Sidetracks" and never has "enough singles for Lucky Horseshoe." He may be a newbie but he's been around the block fast!

There's little story and little in the way of production values—a basic set and a few well-fastened towels—but that's the nature of the cabaret-style Annoyance Theatre. Music director Stephanie McCullough has coached the company well and accompanies on keyboard. Director Mike Gifford keeps things fast but crisp. He's very wisely refrained from picking a cast of Boystown beauties. Everyone onstage is a real person with a real-life body ( FYI, there is no full nudity ) ranging from buff to chub, blond hair to gray hair, chest hair to no hair.

American theater has a distinct subset of bathhouse plays: The Ritz ( McNally farce ), Steambath ( Bruce Jay Friedman's 1970 non-gay drama ) and Tubstrip, a 1974 gay comedy. Steamworks the Musical is a worthy addition. Some enterprising troupe should do them all in rotating repertory.

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

THEATER SPOTLIGHT The Burn 2018-02-21 - Philip Dawkins exploded onto the scene with 2015's Charm, inspired by the life of Chicago's Gloria Allen, a trans etiquette teacher. If you ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Breach: a manifesto on race in America... 2018-02-21 - Playwright: Antoinette Nwandu At: Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: $15-$56. Runs through: March 11 An ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Moon for the Misbegotten 2018-02-21 - Written by: Eugene O'Neill At: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe. Tickets: $35-80. Runs through: March 18 Writers Theatre's A Moon for ...

Gay News

CRITICS' PICKS Theater 2018-02-21 - Skeleton Crew, Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, through March 3. The experience of four blue-collar ...

Gay News

OPERA REVIEW Love Never Dies 2018-02-21 - Playwright: Andrew Lloyd Webber, music by Glenn Slater/Charles Hart, lyrics by Ben Elton, At: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Tickets: 800-775-2000; ...

Gay News

Lyric's 'Jesus Christ' talent announced 2018-02-21 - Artists from the bands Postmodern Jukebox, tUnE-yArDs and Diane Coffee join Broadway and West End talent for Lyric Opera's North American premiere of ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Fear and Misery in the Third Reich 2018-02-16 - Playwright: Bertolt Brecht At: Haven Theatre at the Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $18. Runs through: March 11 ...

Gay News

Lesbian teens will attend prom together, Lambda Legal encouraged by response 2018-02-15 - ( Anniston, AL, February 14, 2018 ) —Lambda Legal received a response from east Alabama's Calhoun County School District today that an Alexandria ...

Gay News

The Condition of Femme at Pride Arts Center in March 2018-02-14 - Circle Theatre's World Premiere The Condition of Femme will explore the many facets of rape culture March 2 to April 1. Lauren Marie ...

Gay News

Harris Theater presents 2018-19 Mainstage Season with Opera Atelier, English National Ballet 2018-02-14 - Chicago, Ill. — The Harris Theater for Music and Dance announces its mainstage season lineup for 2018-19, as the Theater celebrates 15 years ...


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.








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.