2021-2022 Season: The Search for Identity Among Queer Communities

 An Australian musical, a comedy-drama from the writer whose play was adapted as the hit movie JUDY, an Uptown holiday celebration, a new Ruth Bader Ginsberg bio, and a fifth play to be announced, will comprise PrideArts’ first season under newly appointed Artistic Director Jay Españo. Carrying the theme “The Search for Identity Among Queer Communities,” the season will explore the various ways in which queer people define themselves, through the work of writers hailing from England, Australia, and the US. All performances will be held in the Broadway of the Pride Arts Center at 4139 N. Broadway.

The season opener will be the American premiere of THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN by Australian writer Jye BryantBryant’s four-character musical introduces us to the mother, father, wife, and ex-boyfriend of a man named Steven. Each of them has a different idea of what they want from Steven and who they think he is. Bryant’s original score of 19 songs is performed revue-style, and includes numbers that are witty, sometimes earthy and edgy, and frequently touching. Españo will direct the cast of four. Robert Ollis, whose 2019 music direction of the company’s A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE earned him his eighth Jeff Award nomination, will be Music Director. THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN will play from August 19 – September 19. Press opening is Monday, August 23.

Following shortly after the musical will be the Chicago premiere of 4000 DAYS, by the British playwright Peter Quilter, whose Judy Garland stage bio END OF THE RAINBOW was adapted as the Academy Award winning film JUDY. In 4000 DAYS, a gay man awakens from a three-week-long coma to find he’s missed out on not only the past three weeks, but also has no memory of the previous 11 years. With his possessive mother and sometimes controlling husband fighting each other to rebuild Michael into the son or husband they would like him to be, Michael must find a way to reclaim his true self. 4000 DAYS will play from September 30 to October 31st, with the press opening on Monday October 4th.

A special holiday program called CHRISTMAS KAROL: AN UPTOWN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY will play from December 11, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Españo is devising a cabaret-like evening of songs and stories that will involve members of the community. Director to be announced.

WHEN THERE ARE NINE, a world premiere dream play by American writer Sally Deering of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s last day on earth, will be given its World Premiere from February 10 through March 13, 2022. Deering’s musical DOCTOR SEX, a biography of sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey, had its world premiere at Bailiwick Chicago in 2004 and won seven Jeff Awards. WHEN THERE ARE NINE is set during the final hours of Justice Ginsburg’s life, and celebrates her legacy through a series of flashbacks highlighting her landmark cases and her alliance with queer communities. Director to be announced. Press opening is Monday, February 14 at 7:30 pm.

The 2021-22 season will close with a play to be announced that will run from June 2 through July 3, 2022.

Españo says, “My goal is to continue PrideArts’ tradition of telling a diversity of queer community stories that not only entertain, but also encourage the audience to reflect on their own views, beliefs and biases.”


THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Jye Bryant
AMERICAN PREMIERE
Directed by Jay Españo
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
August 19 – September 19, 2021
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Additional performance Wednesday, September 1 at 7:30 pm
Previews August 19 – 22, 2021
PRESS OPENING Monday, August 23, 2021, at 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

In this sung-through musical by Australian composer/lyricist/playwright Jye Bryant, the four most important people in one man’s life struggle to communicate meaningfully with him and really know him. We learn all about him through the disclosures of his wife, mother, father, and ex-boyfriend. In Bryant’s 19 witty and touching original songs, the characters share intimate details about their life with Steven and the things they fail to tell him. Through their disclosures, we learn that Steven may have as much trouble knowing himself as the others have in understanding him.

4000 DAYS
by Peter Quilter
CHICAGO PREMIERE
Directed by Jay Españo
September 30 – October 31, 2021
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm (except Sunday, October 3),  Additional performance Wednesday, October 27 at 7:30 pm
Previews September 30 – October 2, 2021
PRESS OPENING Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

Michael has been in a coma for three weeks with his mother Carol and his well-meaning  partner, Paul watching over him in the hospital. When Michael awakens from the coma, they realize that 11 years – 4000 days – of his memory have been completely erased.  He remembers nothing of Paul.  It is as though the relationship never existed. Paul fights to bring Michael’s memory back, while Carol strived to have Michael all to herself.  In this comedy-drama from the author of END OF THE RAINBOW, Michael must learn again who he was, who he really is, and where Paul and Carol fit in his life.

CHRISTMAS KAROL: AN UPTOWN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION OF DIVERSITY
Devised By Jay Españo
WORLD PREMIERE
Director to be announced
December 11, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm (No performances December 20 – 28)
PRESS OPENING Monday, December 13 at 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

Karol, a jaded cafe owner and former social worker must face the night she dreads the most:  the Annual Christmas Carol concert at her cafe. As she prepares, she talks to the audience and welcomes carolers from around the city. By the end of the night the audience gets to know her real issue.

WHEN THERE ARE NINE
By Sally Deering
WORLD PREMIERE
Director to be announced
February 10 – March 13, 2022
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm,  Additional performance Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 7:30 pm
Previews February 10 –13, 2022
PRESS OPENING Monday, February 14, 2022, at 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Ticket prices to be announced. More information at www.pridearts.org

A dream play of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s last day on earth, by American writer Sally Deering. This biographical play offers insights into her life through a series of flashbacks highlighting her landmark cases, and her alliance with queer communities.

PLAY TO BE ANNOUNCED
June 2 – July 3, 2022