The Schedule and Directors for Gay Play Weekend Are Announced

A slate of 4 vibrant and kinetic new LGBTQ+ plays and 1 musical have emerged as finalists in Pride Films and Plays’ 2016 Great Gay Play and Musical Contest. They come from writers across the United States, and were selected by a reading team from across the country doing blind readings of the manuscripts. Those five scripts will be performed as Enhanced Staged Readings at the Center On Halsted’s Hoover-Leppen, 3656 N Halsted, during Gay Play and Musical Weekend which is April 22 to 24, 2016. Tickets for the event are pay-what-you-can (suggested $10). Find more information at or 1 800 737 0984.

Esteemed Chicago directors David Belew, Jo Cattell, Delia Kropp, John Nasca and Mara Stern direct.

The schedule for the weekend is:

  • Friday, April 22 at 7:00PM: All-American Boy by Donald Gecewicz, Directed by Jo Cattell
  • Saturday, April 23 at 2PM: TBD (To Be Determined) by Paul Elliott, Directed by Delia Kropp
  • Saturday, April 23 at 7PM: Another Horatio Alger Story by Jason Jacobs, Directed by David Belew
  • Sunday, April 24 at 1PM: Spectacular Brown by Brian Pracht, Directed by Mara Stern
  • Sunday, April 24 at 4PM: A Woman Onstage, book and lyrics by Stephen deGhelder, music by Brad Simmons, Directed by John Nasca with Musical Direction by Adam Shenk

GayPlayWeekendSynopses of the plays and bios of the playwrights and directors:

All American Boy by Donald Gecewicz, Directed by Jo Cattell

Piero just published a new book, but his public life as a gadfly journalist is sidetracked by big trouble for his boyfriend, Sinan, with the Immigration Service. Someone tampered with Sinan’s application. Set against politics of unchecked power, endless war, and high-stakes political games, All-American Boy portrays our interior insecurities and the possibilities for tenderness in this time of dislocation and discontent.

Donald Gecewicz lives, and writes, in Chicago. He and Kristina Schramm co-wrote and produced The Romans, a four-episode comedy. Magic Lantern was showcased in DCASE’s playwrights residency program. Caffeine Theater produced Like the Moon behind the Clouds. And poetically, Red Bird Chapbooks will publish his epigrams, Rosehill, this summer.

Jo Cattell works as resident director for terraNOVA Collective and is Head of Playground Theatricals. She has directed for numerous companies in the UK and US, including the BBC, Pentabus Theatre, Origin Theatre Company, terraNOVA Collective, Collaboraction, & GMP, and was also Acting Coach for Cirque du Soleil.

Another Horatio Alger Story by Jason Jacobs

An idealistic teacher and his at-risk student make an imaginary journey to Gilded Age New York, where author Horatio Alger writes a tale that will define the American dream.  Below its innocent surface, Alger’s work and personal life reveal the influence of sex, power, and privilege in narratives of success.  Can any American still pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and was this ever really the true story?

Jason Jacobs is a New York-based theatre maker, director, and playwright.  Favorite projects include Bald Diva! and After The Chairs (queer spins on Ionesco), Lavender Songs (Backstage Bistro award), and devised projects with LGBTQA youth.  He teaches for Roundabout Theatre, and is a graduate of Columbia MFA.

David Belew is the Artistic Director at Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, where he has directed several shows and will be appearing in William Finn’s “Mke Me a Song” this summer.

Spectacular Browne by Brian Pracht

Spectacular Browne is a family drama about two brothers who clash while struggling to live in a small-minded town.  It’s 1990, and young Charlie wants to be accepted as his true self: a lady.  But no one else in town wants him to, especially his brother, Maurice.  Ridiculed all his life, Charlie feels if he can just sing to them as a woman, they’ll begin to accept him, but Maurice will stop at nothing to make sure this does not happen.

Brian Pracht’s prize-winning short plays have been selected to many festivals across the country.  His full-length play, Un Plugged In, premiered at the Lion Theatre in New York City, and his work has been developed at Primary Stages, Naked Angels, Flux Theatre Ensemble, and Axial Theatre.

TBD-To Be Determined by Paul Elliott, Directed by Delia Kropp

The Hamilton sisters have always lived in isolated contentment.  All of that changes when the Sheriff drops a battered teen on their front porch. They are even less inclined to take on the role of savior when they find out the truth about the youth and the events in town.

Paul Elliott is an accomplished director, producer and published playwright with over 30 years experience in writing for the stage, television and film including working for Disney Live Entertainment, Universal and Landmark Entertainment. His first comedy, Ledge, Ledger & the Legend was recently voted one of the most highly produced one acts in the past twenty years. His play Gentle Passage, was voted a Hollywood Fringe winner in 2013 and won PFP’s Great Gay Play Contest in 2014.

Delia Kropp is an actress and director based in Chicago, a company member of Pride Films and Plays, and member of The Chicago Inclusion Project.

A Woman Onstage by Stephen deGhelder and Brad Simmons, Directed by John Nasca with Musical Direction by Adam Shenk

Kyle Edwards, a delicate student at an all-male Catholic college, finds deep satisfaction when playing beautiful females onstage though it makes him the subject of ridicule and bullying. A Woman Onstage explores what happens when a person’s fragile world crumbles because his sexual identity and self worth are defined by each other.

Stephan deGhelder. (Book and Lyrics). As a playwright, Stephan’s other works have been seen throughout the states, Off-Broadway in NYC, in Canada and as far away as Abu Dhabi.  Chicago audiences might remember A Kiss From Alexander, by the team of Simmons/deGhelder. The team is currently working on a feminist musical. When Jenny Comes Marching Home Again.

Brad Simmons (Composer) has penned the musicals A Kiss From Alexander, A Dickens Of A Carol, A Woman Onstage and When Jennie Comes Marching Home Again with librettist/lyricist Stephan deGhelder, Dreamworld with Cory Krueckeberg, four one-act musicals Reel To Reel, Summer Wind, All For You and Vegas, and the films Gargoyle and Whiskey Neat. On Broadway, he was conductor and musical director for Lysistrata Jones.

Jon Nasca’s credits include Gypsy, Beautiful Thing, The Ritz, Boy From Oz, Design for Living and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. He’s received four Jeff nominations, an After Dark Award and three Broadway World Awards.

Adam Shenk most recently musical directed You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Open Door Repertory Theatre, and has worked with Second City on numerous shows. He is thrilled to work on this new piece of theatre with Pride.

About Pride Films and Plays

The mission of Pride Films and Plays is to change 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.”

PFP’s current season began with Ten Dollar House at Piccolo Theatre earlier this year. It continues with Raggedy And at Rivendell Theatre through April 10, The Boys Upstairs at Mary’s Attic from May 21 to July 2, Bite in late summer at Mary’s Attic, and the world premiere of Resolution at Rivendell October 20 to November 20.

In addition, our script and screenplay development programs continue throughout the year at Center on Halsted, including Gay Play Weekend (April 22-24), LezPlay (October 7-9) featuring plays and screenplays written by women with lesbian characters or themes, and Gay Film Weekend (November 11-13) featuring LGBTQ+ screenplays and screenings.

Other special events include Boys in Briefs: At the Beach! is March 29, and April 26 at Uptown Underground. Queer Bits AltReels is April 25 at Public House Theatre. Nominee Night which celebrates all Chicago theater is May 17 at Sidetrack.


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, and the AmazonSmile Foundation. PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the GLBT Chamber of Commer of Illinois and  The League of Chicago Theaters.

For more information, visit or call 1 800 737 0984.