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 2020-02-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER Theatergoers flocking to 'Birds of a Feather'
by Catey Sullivan

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

It's been more than a dozen years since it was published, but And Tango Makes Three remains one of the country's most banned children's books. The penguins in Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson's story of Central Park Zoo's famed same-sex avian couple still evoke consternation from those who insist that only hetero penguins should be allowed to raise chicks.

With the play Birds of a Feather, playwright Marc Acito revisits Manhattan's Roy and Silo, two male penguins who hatched and raised a chick together. Opening April 27 at Lincoln Park's Greenhouse Theater Center, Birds of a Feather isn't an adaption of the book so much as an anthropomorphic exploration of the controversy Silo and Roy set off.

"They sparked a huge culture war," Acito said. "But it wasn't just Silo and Roy. Lola and Pale Male were literally overshadowing them sometimes." That would be the Upper East Side's Lola and her mate Pale Male, a hetero hawk couple who shared a posh building with the likes of Mary Tyler Moore and Woody Allen.

While Silo and Roy nested with their adopted chick in the zoo, Lola and Pale Male made their home at 927 Fifth Avenue, fewer than 200 feet east of the penguin family. Plans to roust the hawks from their roost on the building's exterior were met with vociferous protests. Breaking up the family, Lola and Pale Male's advocates said, would be cruel.

"The way people anthropomorphized both couples was kind of amazing," Acito said. "People dressed up as birds and protested in the street." For weeks, the traditional family values of the hawks and 'the gay agenda' perpetrated by Silo and Roy made headlines.

"There was also a class issue," said Acito. "The idea that these incredibly rich people on Fifth Avenue could evict this poor hawk family, that made people angry."

Director Jacob Harvey sees a good deal of humanity in birds of Birds of a Feather. "It's got a deeply political narrative and it speaks to the issue of identity, whether it's heteronormative or not. I fell in love with the fun, colorful world of the book and I love how that translates to the stage, It's a really complex, human story told in a fun way," Harvey said.

Many remain who would put "And Tango Makes Three" out of sight. "There was one woman [in the play] who read it and decided it was porn since the two male penguins slept in the same bed," Harvey said. She was stymied, he added, when asked whether the "Curious George" books were also porn, given that that the titular monkey and his owner The Man in the Yellow Hat also slept in the same bed.

"The fact that this book is still controversial is a reminder of where we are in our current political moment," Harvey said. "We can put a lens of politeness over it, but racism and homophobia are prevalent. We've made great strides at becoming a loving and accepting society, but there is still a lot of work to do," Harvey said.

Acito credits And Tango Makes Three with spurring him to write Birds of a Feather and to become a voice for marriage equality: "I wrote the first draft of this in 2008. I was absolutely fueled by my outrage over gay marriage at the time." When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Acito says he felt like a fog had diffused.

"That was pivotal. That was the first time in my entire life that I felt safe in my own country," Acito said. "When the decision came in, I felt like this cloud had lifted. It was a cloud so ubiquitous that I didn't even realize it was there until it was gone.

"There's a line that really resonates with me—'Love is a rare bird.' That's true. Love is so rare in this life. When you find it, you don't want anything standing in the way. I don't know how you speak to those who'd disagree with that. But I think this play has to power to do just that."

Birds of a Feather runs though Sunday, June 10, at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets are $35-$45; visit .

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

'Judy & Liza' tribute March 5-April 5 2020-02-19 - The tribute show "Judy & Liza—Once In A Lifetime: The London Palladium Concert" will be presented at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. ...

Gay News

'...Love Is Queer to Stay' throughout Feb. 2020-02-19 - The Laughing Stock Theatre production The Masquerade; Or, Love Is Queer to Stay presents a queer spin on classical tropes, and will run ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Boys in the Band 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Mart Crowley At: Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. Tickets: Price: $75-95. Runs through: April 19 In ...

Gay News

OPERA REVIEW The Queen of Spades 2020-02-18 - Score: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky; Libretto: Modest Tchaikovsky; after Alexander Pushkin. At: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Dr. Tickets: 312-827-5600 or ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Roan @ The Gates 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Christina Telesca Gorman At: American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $19-$39. Runs through: Feb. 29 ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Emma 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Paul Gordon ( book, music & lyrics ) At: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier. Tickets: 312-595-5600;; $35-$90. Runs through: March 15 ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Lipstick Lobotomy 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Krista Knight At: Trap Door Theater, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. Tickets: $20-$25; Runs through: March 21 Home, goes the adage, ...

Gay News

ShOWBIZ 'Drag Race' judges, Dwyane Wade, 'Porgy,' Of Montreal, Cirque du Soleil 2020-02-18 - RuPaul Drag Race's season-12 guest judges consist of film, music, television, fashion and political figures such as Nicki Minaj, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater opens Season of Change with Legends the Musical 2020-02-18 - CHICAGO, IL — Black Ensemble Theater opens its 2020 Season: Season of Change with Legends the Musical: A Civil Rights Movement, Yesterday, Today ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Roan @ The Gates 2020-02-17 - Playwright: Christina Telesca Gorman At: American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $19-$39. Runs through: Feb. 29 ...


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 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 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.