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WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Queer theater to chill to
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

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LGBTQ audiences who want to see their lives reflected onstage have plenty to choose from this winter. Productions ranges from developmental festival works to lavish and established Broadway-scale musicals. Here's a sampling of some of those productions. All shows in Chicago unless otherwise noted.

Premieres of note

Blue Over You, Spot On Company at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2515 Central Park Ave., Evanston. A bisexual high school drama teacher is trying to solve the mystery behind his wife's sudden disappearance in Daniel Noonan's world-premiere one-man drama. ( now to Jan. 28 )

It's My Penis ( And I'll Cry if I Want To ), The Buena at Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway. Transgender performer Jamie Black takes on outdated gender norms in the Chicago premiere of his solo show. ( now to Jan. 20; . )

For the Loyal, Interrobang Theatre Project at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Penn State's scandal involving Jerry Sandusky is what has inspired this contemporary Lee Blessing drama. ( now to Feb. 4; . )

Insurrection: Holding History, Stage Left Theatre at Athenaum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Gay playwright Robert O'Hara pushes plenty of controversial buttons as history and sexuality come into focus around a thesis project on Nat Turner's slave rebellion. ( now to Feb. 11; )

Yank! A World War II Love Story, Pride Films and Plays in The Broadway in the Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. David and Joseph Zellnik's acclaimed 2010 off-Broadway musical looks at the struggles of gay soldiers during wartime. ( now to Feb. 18; ).

GayCo at Fillet of Solo, GayCo Productions at Heartland Studio Theatre, 7016 N. Glenwood Ave. Members of Chicago's oldest LGBTQ sketch comedy troupe look at important first moments ranging from falling in love to breakups. ( 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20; )

Charles Busch: My Kinda '60s, The Broadway at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. The playwright, performer and drag legend returns with a new award-winning cabaret revue looking back on the events and music of his childhood. ( 7:30 p.m. Sunday-Monday, Jan. 21-22; )

GRINDR: The Opera, Chicago Musical Theatre Festival at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Erik Ransom finds inspiration from both the well-known gay hook-up app and operatic history for this irreverent and adults-only new musical. ( Feb. 9 to 23; )

Time Is on Our Side, About Face Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. New artistic director Megan Carney directs the premiere of R. Eric Thomas' play about two best friends struggling to produce a queer history podcast. ( March 1 to April 7; or )

Kingdom, Broken Nose Theatre at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Michael Allen Harris' world-premiere play deals with African-American fathers and their son reexamining their lives once same-sex marriage becomes legal in the state of Florida. ( March 2 to 31; )

Through the Elevated Line, Silk Road Rising at Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St. Novid Parsi's world-premiere drama follows a gay Iranian refugee and the challenges he faces in Chicago while living with his sister and her American husband. ( March 7 to April 15; )

Fellow Travelers, Lyric Unlimited at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Chicago premiere of the 2016 opera by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce. It deals with gay federal workers struggling with their identities at the height of McCarthey era in 1950s Washington, D.C. ( March 17 to 25; )

The Gentleman Caller, Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St.. Philip Dawkins' world-premiere drama explores the early friendship between the gay playwrights Tennessee Williams and William Inge. ( March 28 to May 13; )

Bull in a China Shop, About Face Theatre at a venue to be announced. Keira Fromm directs Kelli Simpkins in Bryna Turner's play about women's education reformers Mary Woolley and her patner, Jeanette Marks. ( May 24 to July 1; )

Revivals and returns

The Humans, Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Stephen Karam's drama about a financially struggling family having an awkward Thanksgiving dinner had its world premiere at American Theater Company. Now it comes back after winning the Tony Award for Best Play as part of a national tour featuring stars Richard Thomas ( The Waltons ) and Daisy Eagan ( The Secret Garden ). ( Jan. 30 to Feb. 11; )

Speech and Debate, Brown Paper Box Co. at Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway. Precocious high school students uncover some uncomfortable truths in Stephen Karam's acclaimed off-Broadway comedy. ( Feb. 2 to March 4; )

Cabaret, Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. The Tony Award-winning Kander and Ebb musical set in 1930s Berlin is back. The tumultuous times help to turn things tragic as a bisexual American writer falls for a British cabaret singer. ( Feb. 7 to March 18; )

Suddenly, Last Summer, Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tennessee Williams' short 1950s Southern Gothic drama is a guaranteed shocker. ( May 2 to June 17; )

Choral concerts with LGBTQ content

Lipstick and Lyrics: Vice Versa, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway. The drag queens here don't lipsync, but instead sing out twists on iconic songs in this new revue. ( 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24; )

Bernstein and Broadway, Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire at St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St. Chicago's oldest gay chorus teams up again with its sister ensemble of higher voices concert to mark the centennial of bisexual composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. ( 7 p.m. Saturday, March 10; )

Under the Big Top, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. ( May 18 ), then at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie ( May 19 ), then at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. ( May 20 ) Chicago Gay Men's Chorus' latest musical comedy extravaganza takes its inspiration from the circus and also features amazing physical feats. ( )

Editor's note: The author of this piece currently is a member of Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and has previously performed with Windy City Gay Chorus.

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