REIGNITE! A four-show virtual season

PrideArts Artistic Director, Donterrio Johnson, brings a four – show virtual fall season called REIGNITE! that will look to the 17th and 19th Centuries for inspiration. The season will open with a benefit concert conceived by Johnson that will intertwine original jazz compositions with poetry by James Baldwin and Tennessee Williams.

Johnson says, “Taking over as Artistic Director of Pride Films and Plays, now called PrideArts, it is particularly important that the content I provide to our audience is poignant, palpable and immediate. This season is called Reignite! Not only are we looking to reignite the spark of this company but reignite our art form and its history. Right now, in our country we are in the middle of huge conversations about race, gender and politics. Also looming over our heads is the weight of a global pandemic that has altered all our lives. If we were to step backwards to the 19th Century these same talking points were very relevant then. We saw the rise of Vaudeville – an art form that brought cis-white male performers to the forefront. These performers would often dabble in drag performance and blackface but would never allow the people who actually lived those lives onto their stages. My idea this season is: What if we rewrote this history? What if we re-appropriated the Vaudeville Era and brought blackness and queerness to the forefront? What would it look like? How would it feel? Would Vaudeville still be around today? It is my mission to breathe new life into these shows and allow them to speak to audiences of today.”

A live concert to stream on YouTube from the Pride Arts Center’s Buena Theatre on September 30 (no-in-person audience). A modern spin on the art form of the Closet Drama – plays written to be read, rather than staged.

With the plague of the 17th century brewing and a government ban that closed theatrical spaces, a new art form was found: Closet Drama – plays intended to be read, not to be performed. PrideArts is excited to bring you a modern spin on this art form, streamed live from the Buena Theater. CLOSET PLAY is an in-depth look into the poetry of two of America’s most prolific queer voices – JAMES BALDWIN and TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, intertwined with original jazz music. Featuring a cast of some of Chicago’s most treasured artists. This event was conceived and will be directed by PrideArts Artistic Director Donterrio Johnson.

A three-character one-act farce that premiered in London in 1847. BOX AND COX is a hilarious romance of real life in one act.

A one-act comedy that premiered in London in 1898, He and She meet for the first time in an asylum and each mistakes the other for an inmate.

Ivan, an hypochondriac, has a proposal for Natalya the neighbor. That is, if they can ever agree on anything.

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