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 2019-12-11
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Talking with Victory Gardens' Chay Yew
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Typically when new artistic directors of theater organizations take over, they're often saddled with a planned-out season created by their predecessor. However, Chay Yew, the Singapore-born and out new artistic director of Chicago's Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater, found a way to put his own personal stamp on the season when there was an unexpected opening.

Theresa Rebeck's new play What We Are Up Against was announced for Victory Gardens' 2011-12 season, but she had to cancel once she became busy with her new job as the creator and head writer of the forthcoming Broadway-set TV series Smash ( premiering Feb. 6 on NBC ) . So as a replacement production, Yew programmed in Ameriville, a previous collaboration he directed with the New York-based ensemble UNIVERSES that looks at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and questions how America might react if a similar disaster occurred again.

"It's good for us all to have a piece to remind everyone that citizenship is not free, democracy is not a given and that we all have to participate," Yew said, noting how an updated production of Ameriville is timely in a Presidential election year.

As an 80-minute theater piece suffused with hip hop, song, poetry and dance written and performed by its ensemble, Ameriville isn't entirely representative of the direction that Yew is planning to take Victory Gardens, which has been long characterized by its large stable of resident playwrights.

"I hope to evolve the playwright ensemble," Yew said, hoping to bring in younger Chicago-based playwrights in addition to the current alumni. "If I were one of the theater's playwrights, I would have been very grateful and happy that I've had a home for so many years and that the home belongs to them. Except that I think we also need to start spreading the wealth and I've spoken to these playwrights, too, because they themselves are also teachers and mentors and they see that many of their students are not getting produced."

Exactly what shape Victory Gardens' playwrights ensemble will look like under Yew's artistic directorship is still being worked out. And as an Obie award-winning playwright himself ( other honors include citations from groups like GLAAD and the Rockefeller MAP Fund ) , Yew is trying to find a new balance between his previous roles as a writer and director.

"I've been feeling a little pinched because it's really hard to navigate the left brain and the right brain," Yew said about his new administrative duties leading Victory Gardens. "I just have to be more rigorous with myself."

He admitted that playwriting will have to go on the backburner, much the way that his role model playwright/director George C. Wolfe shifted his artistic energies after directing the Broadway production of Angels in America in 1993 and running The Public Theater in New York.

Yew has also started making some changes at Victory Gardens with the recent hire of Geoffrey Jackson Scott as its new director of new play development, who joins with Sandy Shinner who maintains her position as Victory Gardens' associate artistic director.

He would prefer that Victory Gardens didn't need to rent out its spaces at the Biograph Theater to other theater companies, but with Victory Gardens' current deficit he sees the rentals as a necessary but hopefully temporary salve. But if Victory Gardens isn't always producing its own shows in the Biograph's two theaters, Yew would like to at least curate the rentals so they might tie in more closely to his company's output.

Yew said he hopes to be a good fit with Victory Gardens, and that its audiences will be willing to go along for the ride.

"Chicago theater audiences are tough and demanding," Yew said. "Chicago is about change, too, and I think that the exciting thing is that the change actually makes the city more vibrant, more exciting."

Ameriville by UNIVERSES in development with Chay Yew continues in previews before an official opening on Feb. 6 at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. Regular performances then run 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, with 4 p.m. matinees on Saturday and 3 p.m. performances on Sundays ( a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 15 replaces that date's evening performance ) . Tickets are $20-$40 for previews and $20-$50 during the regular run ( student, senior and rush tickets available ) . Call 773-871-3000 or visit .

Sudden parting

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company's new artistic director Timothy Douglas abruptly resigned his post a couple of weeks ago midway through his first season with the company. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, both Douglas and the Remy Bumppo ensemble of actors agreed that his hiring was a "bad fit." Remy Bumppo ensemble member Nick Sandys is to become the artistic director.

Send theater news and other related tidbits to and to .

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

Renee Fleming in rehearsal with Lyric Opera for The Light in the Piazza 2019-12-11 - CHICAGO ( December 11, 2019 )—Rehearsals are underway for Scenario Two's presentation of the beloved Tony Award-winning musical The Light in the Piazza ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW A Xmas Cuento Remix­­ 2019-12-11 - By: Maya Malan-Gonzalez At: 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn Tickets: 708-795-6704 or; $22-$32. Runs through: Dec. 29 You've ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-12-11 - The Tall Boy, Stage 773, through Dec. 15—The celebrated talent behind this touring show ( Tandy Cronyn, Kay Boyle, Simon Bent ) create ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Gay spy movie, Santa Suite and more 2019-12-11 - —London Spy: In this British-American series that originally aired in 2015, devil-may-care Danny ( played by a fantastic Ben Whishaw ) meets the ...

Gay News

'Nat King Cole' holiday show Dec. 16-17 2019-12-10 - Writers Theatre, in partnership with Artists Lounge Live, will present a limited engagement of An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas, starring Evan Tyrone ...

Gay News

10th anniversary of 'The Nutcracker' features gay dads 2019-12-10 - The House Theatre of Chicago will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the annual hit production The Nutcracker—an all-original, ballet-free and family-friendly production playing ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Land of Forgotten Toys 2019-12-10 - Authors: Music by Dylan MarcAurele; book and lyrics by Jaclyn Enchin and Jennifer Enchin, based on a story by Larry Little At: The ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Tall Boy 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Simon Bent At: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: and 773-327-5252; $35-$39. Runs through: Dec. 15 The absence ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cold Town/Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Eli Newell At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets: 773-338-2177, or; $25-$30. Runs through: Dec. 22 Cold Town/Hotline: ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The White Plague 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Karel Capek, translated by Peter Majer and Cathy Porter At: Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. Tickets: 773-384-0494;; $20-$25 ( ...


Copyright © 2019 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.