“Nearly 50” – Pride Arts Center celebrates its first Pride Month on Broadway with 30 days of plays, readings and special events

On the cusp of the 50th Anniversary of the seminal gay play The Boys in the Band, Pride Arts Center presents a slate of readings, productions, and special events that look at gay works past and present. Staged readings are The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley (1968) and Jumpers for Goalposts by Tom Wells (2013), a British play about homophobia in sports. Limited run productions include David Pevsner’s solo show Musical Comedy Whore, and BEDS, a double-bill of classic plays Jerker (1986) and Two Boys in Bed on a Cold Winter Night (1995). Special events include a staged reading of The Great Trans* Play Contest winner, SheFest – an evening of performances featuring queer women, Queer Bits Film Festival, and the Broadway in the Broadway Cabaret. The celebration will conclude with Unity in Dance, with choreography by members of Giordano Dance Chicago. Performances will be in The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, except as noted.

Leading off the festival on Wednesday May 17 will be a staged reading of The Boys in the Band. Widely acknowledged to be the first gay-themed play to attract mainstream attention, it opened at a New York City off-Broadway theatre in 1968 where it ran for 1001 performances. Crowley’s play of nine gay men at a birthday party that descends into a night of truth-telling and personal discovery was also produced as a feature film directed by William Friedkin, released in 1970. The reading’s cast includes Pride Films and Plays Company Members Nelson Rodriguez, Patrick Rybarczyk, Shaun Baer, Kris Hyland, and Edward Fraim, joined by Christopher Kauffman, Nick Bryant, Roy Samra and Aaron Reynolds. David Zak directs.

The double-bill BEDS, directed by David Zak, will begin performances June 4th.  It includes Jerker, a two-character play by Robert Chesley, that premiered in 1986 in Los Angeles. Jerker follows the relationship that develops between a veteran and a businessman in the beginning years of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. Although they “meet” only through a series of phone calls, they grow from being phone sex buddies to caring friends. The play’s full title is Jerker: The Helping Hand: A Pornographic Elegy with Redeeming Social Value and a Hymn … San Francisco in Twenty Telephone Calls, Many of Them Dirty. The cast of Jerker will be Trevor Bates and Cody Dericks.

The other half of the double-bill, Two Boys in Bed on a Cold Winter’s Night by James Edwin Parker, premiered off-Broadway in New York in 1995. It’s a two-character play about two gay men who have just finished their sexual tryst after meeting earlier that night in a Manhattan bar. The play will be performed by Nick Bryant and Christopher Kauffman.

David Pevsner, an out gay actor and Skokie native who has appeared in New York productions of When Pigs Fly and Party, contributed songs to Naked Boys Singing, and performed an autobiographical one-man show called To Bitter and Back at Bailiwick Repertory in 2002 will take the Broadway stage for five nights from May 31 – June 4. He’ll perform his latest one-man musical, Musical Comedy Whore.

On Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, the winning play in the Great Trans* Play Contest will be read in the Buena. The contest, announced in March, is an international competition open only to trans* writers.

A series of one-night-only events will fill out the remainder of the pride month programming.  Christopher Pazdernik’s “His and His” cabaret series featuring musical theatre numbers by and about gay men, will conclude with Broadway at the Broadway, on Thursday, June 5.

SheFest, (formerly LezFest), a one-night variety show which celebrates queer, female-identified artists through music, movement, spoken word, storytelling, and stand-up comedy will be performed Monday, June 12. A staged reading of Jumpers for Goalposts, a recent British play by Tom Wells about an LGBT soccer team, will be given on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.  PFP’s Queer Bits Film Festival, now in its fifth year, will be presented on Saturday, June 17. The festival showcases LGBT short films, chosen from English language or English subtitled films submitted by artists around the world.

The month will conclude on Sunday, June 18 with Unity in Dance – a program of same-sex dances choreographed and performed by members of the Gus Giordano Dance Company.

 

LISTING INFORMATION

The Boys in the Band – Staged reading
By Mart Crowley
Directed by David Zak
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
7:30 PM
Tickets – VIP – $25.00, General Admission – $20.00, include a post-show Pride Month Kick-off party
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984
BEDS
A double-bill of Jerker, by Robert Chesley and Two Boys in Bed on a Cold Winter’s Night, by James Edwin Parker
Directed by David Zak
Sun June 4 at 7 pm
Fri June 9, Sat June 10 at 7:30 pm
Sun June 11 at 3 pm
Weds., June 14, Thurs., June 15, Fri., June 16 at 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
Ticket prices – $30 VIP, $25 general admission
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984
PLEASE NOTE: BEDS contains nudity

Musical Comedy Whore
Written by and starring David Pevsner
Directed by Randy Brenner
Wednesday, May 31 – Sunday, June 4
Weds., Thurs., Sat., at 7:30 pm.; Fri at 10:00 pm.; Sun. at 3:00 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
Tickets $25 (VIP), $20 general admission
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984

Jumpers for Goalposts
By Tom Wells
Directed by Brennan Jones
Tuesday, June 6 – 7:30 pm

The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
Tickets: Pay-what-you-can

Broadway in the Broadway
Curated and Directed by Christopher Pazdernik
Thursday, June 8 – 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
$25 VIP, $20 General Admission
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984

Great Trans* Play Contest Winner Reading
Directed by Delia Kropp
Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10 at 7:30 pm each night
The Buena, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway
All seats: pay-what-you-can
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984

SheFest
Iris Sowlat and Julia Rufo, producers
Monday, June 12 – 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
Ticket prices $15 (VIP), $10 general admission
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984

Queer Bits Film Festival
Dan Pal and Shaun Baer, producers
Saturday, June 17 – 7:30 pm’
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
Ticket prices $10
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984

Unity in Dance
Jacob Frazier from Giordano Dance Chicago, and Rusty Hernandez, producers
Sunday, June 18 – 7:00 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway
Ticket prices $50 VIP, $30 General Admission
For tickets, visit www.prideartscenter.com or call tel: (800)-737-0984
Tickets for all events available soon at www.pridefilmsandplays.com or 1 800 737 0984

ABOUT PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS

Pride Films and Plays changes lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. We accomplish this mission through fully-staged productions, writing contests and staged readings, film screenings, and special events. We foster long term relationships with artists to create programming that is as diverse, unique, and complex as the community we represent. In 2015, Huffington Post called PFP “A powerful and empowering entity.” The company acquired its two performance spaces at 4139 and 4147 N. Broadway in July 2016, renaming the spaces the Pride Arts Center.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation and Alphawood Foundation.

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois and The League of Chicago Theatres.

For more information, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com or call 1.800.737.0984.

ABOUT PRIDE ARTS CENTER

Pride Arts Center (PAC) opened in 2016 and consists of two performance spaces: The Buena at 4147 N. Broadway which has 50 seats and The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway which has 85 seats, and it is run by Pride Films and Plays. PAC has become an important part of the arts environment in the Buena Park neighborhood and beyond by hosting events including After Orlando, Bechdel Fest, SheFest and the 525,600 Minutes Cabaret. Additional tenants in 2017 include Walkabout Theater, New American Folk Theater, Cor Productions, Underscore Music Theater, 20% Productions, About Face Youth Theater, Another Door Productions, and of course Pride Films and Plays. For the Love Of (Or The Roller Derby Play) is currently being performed in The Buena.

For more information about space at Pride Arts Center, visit www.prideartscenter.com, or www.pridefilmsandplays.com..

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