Gay Play Weekend Features 5 Enhanced Staged Readings

GAY PLAY WEEKEND features four new plays and one new musical!

Performances will be held May 15 to 17 at

Hoover-Leppen Theater of Center on Halsted.

GGPMC 2015 Finalists
DC Cathro, Samantha Charlip, Donna Hoke, Steve Shade, Leo Schwartz


Pride Films and Plays has for the last five years celebrated unique voices in the annual Great Gay Play And Musical Contest. And the finalists for 2015 once again represent the best and brightest in ‘What’s New And What’s Next’ in LGBT Theater. Enhanced staged readings of the four new plays and one new musical will be held May 15 to 17 at Center on Halsted’s Hoover-Leppen Theatre.

The five finalists for the weekend are:

At A Certain Age by Steve Shade
below by Samantha Charlip
Family Holiday by DC Cathro
Pen, a musical by Leo Schwartz and DC Cathro
Safe by Donna Hoke

(Please note that “below” is not capitalized.)

GPW-COHThe schedule for the weekend is:

Friday, May 15 at 7:00 At A Certain Age, directed by Charles Berglund
Saturday, May 16 at 2:00 Safe, directed by Dan Foss
Saturday, May 16 at 7:00 Pen, directed by David Zak
Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 below, directed by Derek Bertelsen
Sunday, May 17 at 5:00 Family Holiday, directed by Cody Schmidt

Tickets for all performances are $10 and can be purchased below or at, or by calling 1 800 838 3006.

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Here are synopses of the works and author bios:

[toggle type=”white” title=”At A Certain Age by Steve Shade” active=””]At A Certain Age
by Steve Shade

At A Certain Age, a play in 8 scenes, explores the shifting dynamics in gay male relationships from teenage to senior years, addressing identity crises and life passages instigated by coming out; companionship and bonding; independence and control; coupling and uncoupling; marriage and family; aging and the contemplation of solitary life.

Steve Shade has directed/devised over 70 productions with an eye towards Shakespeare/classical texts and new work/adaptation. In addition to his produced plays/adaptations, he has been a professor at several Southern California colleges, authored well over a dozen guides on a range of classical/contemporary plays, and recent work includes teaching/directing incarcerated youth in the Gateway Program of the juvenile justice system.


[toggle type=”white” title=”below” active=””]

below by Samantha Charlip

The lives of two heroin addicts living below an overpass are thrown into disarray when a letter reveals one of them has a daughter who is getting married.

Samantha Charlip is an NY-based playwright and MFA recipient of NYU Tisch’s Dramatic Writing Program. Plays include: Futurama (Finalist: O’Neill, Source Festival, Ingram Lab, Athe Award; Semifinalist: Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship, Princess Grace Fellowship, Nominations: Kennedy Center) and below (Semifinalist: O’Neill). Samantha was awarded Tisch’s Full Tuition Departmental Fellowship.


[toggle type=”white” title=”Family Holiday” active=””]

Family Holiday by DC Cathro

RJ goes home for the holidays and a nice relaxing time with his parents, sister, nana and best friend. They, however, have other plans. Secrets are revealed and RJ is stuck in the middle of this fast-paced holiday farce for modern times.

DC Cathro is a playwright, actor and director in the DC metropolitan area. His play Commemorative Edition received a reading in PFP’s The Sochi Plays and his play Limits was selected as part of the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage series with The Theatre Alliance in Washington, DC.


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Pen, a musical by Leo Schwartz and DC Cathro

Unhappy from a recent breakup and looking for a distraction, Paul starts corresponding with a pen pal in another state. Soon, what began as an innocent flirtation evolves into an emotional attachment that neither of them expected. The problem? Paul’s pen pal is a prisoner, incarcerated for 13 more years.

DC Cathro is a playwright, actor and director in the DC metropolitan area. His plays have received readings in Chicago, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Leo Schwartz is a winner of numerous awards including a Jeff. He is a multi-faceted composer, lyricist, and book writer. To hear his works visit


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Safe by Donna Hoke

In 2011, a young gay teen hangs himself–but the events leading to the suicide began decades before, in 1986, when bullies tormented Nancy and her closeted best friend. Twenty-five years later, the cycle continues when Nancy is confronted by another bully–her son.

Donna Hoke is an award-winning playwright (Seeds, Safe, The Couple Next Door) with well over 100 productions in 27 states and on five continents. She’s also an NYT-published crossword puzzle constructor, Western New York Dramatists Guild rep, founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories, and three-year Buffalo’s Best Writer (Artvoice).


[toggle type=”white” title=”About Pride Films and Plays” active=””] About Pride Films and Plays

Founded in 2010, Pride Films and Plays has received 10 Jeff Nominations, and 3 Jeff Awards for productions in our first two Jeff eligible seasons. The current season began with the Jeff Recommended Chicago premieres of Terrence McNally’s Some Men, and Jeff Talbott’s The Submission. Leo Schwartz’s Jeff Recommended world premiere musical The Book of Merman will start an extended run at Apollo Studio Theater on February 26.The final show of the season the Chicago premiere of Topher Payne’s dark comedy Angry Fags, which previews on February 22 in the Steppenwolf Theatre’s Garage Rep, opening March 7 through April 26. In addition, our script and screenplay development programs continue throughout the year at Center on Halsted, including Gay Play Weekend (May 15 to 17), Women’s Words (September 11 to 13) featuring plays and screenplays written by women with lesbian characters or themes, and Gay Film Weekend (November 13 to 15) featuring LGBT screenplays and screenings. PFP’s TransFest, a program of trans-centric performers, is slated for May 3 at Links Hall. And our Queer Bits Film Festival dates for 2015 will soon be announced.

For more information on contests or productions, visit

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About Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago’s Lake View Neighborhood. For more information, visit: