Windy City Playhouse (3014 W. Irving Park Rd.) today announced a special performance of their upcoming immersive production of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking play “The Boys in the Band” to benefit Lambda Legal, a national organization dedicated to achieving and upholding the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those living with HIV. Directed by Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger, “The Boys in the Band” helped spark a revolution by putting gay men's lives onstage during the pre-Pride era. Fresh off its Tony Award-winning Broadway revival, this landmark play comes to Chicago for the first time in 20 years to celebrate the piece’s 50th anniversary. The benefit performance will take place February 13.
In addition to the performance, theatregoers will enjoy a special post-show conversation with celebrated photographer and activist Tom Bianchi, who achieved widespread acclaim for his photographs, poems and essays focusing on the gay male experience.
Tickets for the performance are on sale now at windycityplayhouse.com/lambda.
Preview performances for “The Boys in the Band” begin January 29, followed by opening night on February 6. Patrons who are unable to attend the benefit performance but want to contribute can enter the code “LAMBDA” at ticket checkout for other shows to receive $10 off each ticket purchase, with $10 donated directly to Lambda Legal.
“At Windy City Playhouse, we value equality, diversity and inclusion, and believe strongly in the work Lambda Legal does in Chicago and across the globe,” said artistic director Amy Rubenstein. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to support and partner with this organization to give back to these communities.”
The cast of “The Boys in the Band” includes Sam Bell Gurwitz as Harold, Christian Edwin Cook as Alan, Jordan Dell Harris as Donald, Jackson Evans as Michael, James Lee as Larry, Kyle Patrick as Cowboy, Ryan Reilly as Hank, Denzel Tsopnang as Bernard and William Marquez as Emory.
The creative team for the show includes William Boles (Scenic Designer), Uriel Gomez (Costume Designer), Erik Barry (Lighting Designer), Sarah Espinoza (Sound Designer), Mealah Heidenreich (Properties Designer & Set Dressing), Max Fabian (Violence & Intimacy Diretor), Jenniffer Thusing (Production Stage Manager), Spencer Fritz (Assistant Stage Manager), Jonah White (Master Electrician), Jonathan Schleyer (Technical Director) and Ellen White (Production Manager).
Set in 1968, the play takes place at the birthday party of Harold, who is turning 32. Luckily, friend-enemy Michael is there with six mutual friends to help him ease into the big three-two. The party is all jokes and quips until the host proposes a harmless game of truth or dare. Suddenly, each must reckon with his sexual identity -- out, closeted, flamboyant, or "passing" -- in an oppressive world where self-love is a luxury. At this party, the cake tastes like truth, and everyone gets a slice.
In true Playhouse fashion, guests will be invited to sit on the various couches, chairs and love seats that make up the quintessentially mid-Century, sunken living room in which the show takes place. Patrons will be welcome to move from seat to seat as they wish but will be otherwise seated throughout the show. Guests will be offered small cocktail samplings (with non-alcoholic options available) and party snacks will be available for the taking throughout the show.
The 2018 Broadway revival production of “The Boys in the Band” won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Variety said, “It not only reminds us of where we’ve been, it also serves as a warning about whatever forms of social oppression are still here and yet to come.” Reviewing the recent revival, Dave Quinn of People raved, “If there were ever a time to revisit ‘The Boys in the Band,’ it’s now.”
The performance schedule for “The Boys in the Band” is as follows: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets ($75-$95) are on sale now.
About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse is a professional theater and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located on Chicago's northwest side. Premiering in March of 2015 with a mission to present contemporary, relevant, and approach art, the Playhouse has quickly become a mainstay of the Chicago theater scene. In 2018, its runaway hit, the immersive SOUTHERN GOTHIC, solidified the Playhouse as the first choice in Chicago theater for one-of-a-kind audience experience. "Experience driven. Audience first."
For more information, visit WindyCityPlayhouse.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
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