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 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Upstairs: The Musical
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2017-11-01

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Wayne Self

At: Pride Arts Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway

Tickets: $35. Runs through: Nov. 26

New Orleans tourism thrives on that city's legacy of necrophilic attractions, so why do the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the Upstairs Lounge in its antebellum French Quarter district remain a mystery nearly fifty years later? Is it because 1973 is too recent for the tale to be safely swaddled in romantic myth, or because the 32 men and women—many unidentified to this day—who perished in the arson-initiated fire were in an LGBT establishment?

Wayne Self refuses to let these ghosts go unrecognized. Intrigued at the perpetrator of the hate crime ( before such a term existed ) having never been found—oversight perhaps precipitated by authorities unwilling to acknowledge the scandal of homosexual activity in their jurisdiction—the Louisiana native brings to the stage a speculative account of the events leading up to that fatal night.

His play's goal is not the helpless horror of a holocaust play, however, nor does it deliver visceral immediacy arousing us to street-trashing fury. Our author presents his story from the perspective of two survivors—bartender Buddy and drifter Agneau ( French for "lamb" )—reuniting years after the fact and recollecting, not without reluctance, the tragic ending to the club's benefit for the Metropolitan Community Church, held on the fourth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Neither do the Upstairs patrons conform to Hollywood notions of demographic appeal, being instead composites of the real-life victims and witnesses. These include such diverse personalities as single mom Inez and her two grown sons—concert pianist George and ex-hustler Horace, the latter of whom now shares a monogamous union with activist minister Mitch. Also in attendance is our evening's hostess, Miss Mercy Goodman, whose drag finery reflects the defiant chic characteristic of the early Gay Movement.

That same low-budget ambience is reinforced by the Pride Arts Broadway space, where, at press preview, the company assembled by director Eric Coleman had yet to reconcile the unamplified vocals and Dixieland instrumentals constituting the title's "musical" element with the erratic acoustics of their speakeasy-vintage auditorium. A few more performances should ensure the ensemble's acclimation to their environment and confidence in its capabilities, though. Meanwhile, there's no denying the impressive potential manifested in Self's intelligently crafted portrait of a long-forgotten chapter in LGBT history.


facebook twitter 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

THEATER REVIEW It's a Fabulous Life 2017-12-18 - Playwright: Julie Hill At: The Chicago Red Line at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $20. Runs through: Dec. 22 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Red Velvet 2017-12-18 - Playwright: Lolita Chakrabarti At: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave. Tickets: $48-$88. Runs through: Jan. 21 ...


Gay News

DOUBLE REVIEW Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer and Golden Girls, The Lost Episodes 2017-12-18 - Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer. Playwright: David Cerda At: Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. Tickets: $25-$30; VIP ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Beautiful, The Carole King Musical 2017-12-17 - Playwright: Douglas McGrath ( book ); Jerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil ( words & music ) At: Cadillac Palace ...


Gay News

African American lesbian poet e. nina jay releases DVD 2017-12-15 - The work of e. nina jay, Chicago-based African American lesbian poet and spoken word artist, is featured in the new film Body of ...


Gay News

Soloway's musical satire "Jesus Has Two Mommies" presents benefit for EI 2017-12-15 - The Annoyance Theatre will present a special benefit for Equality Illinois featuring a one-time viewing of a recorded performance of Faith Soloway's musical ...


Gay News

Rock musical Lizzie extends, Broadway's Ciara Renee joins cast 2017-12-15 - CHICAGO ( December 14, 2017 ) — Following a brief hiatus for the holidays, Firebrand Theatre is pleased to announce its hit rock ...


Gay News

LETTER Halberstam update 2017-12-13 - Note: Michael Halberstam, the longtime artistic director for Glencoe-based Writers Theatre, was accused by a former subordinate of harassment and lewd behavior. The ...


Gay News

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Carol connections 2017-12-13 - The Goodman Theatre is currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of A Christmas Carol. Through the decades, this popular perennial stage adaptation of Charles ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A Rock 'n' Rock Musical 2017-12-13 - Book by: John C. Ashton. Music and lyrics by: Foreigner, Scorpions, Great White and more At: Raven Theatre Complex, 6157 N. Clark St. ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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.