TOMMY ON TOP by Chris Woodley

PrideArts Artistic Director Jay Españo has announced his cast for the Chicago premiere of TOMMY ON TOP – a comedy that premiered in London’s West End at the Above the Stag Theatre last summer. TOMMY ON TOP  is a laugh-out-loud bedroom farce about a closeted hunky actor, Tommy Miller, who is about to become the first gay actor to win an Oscar – if he plays his cards right and keeps his queerness at bay. TOMMY ON TOP is by the British playwright Chris Woodley, whose credits include scripts for the long-running BBC series EASTENDERS. Españo will direct and design the sets. TOMMY ON TOP will open to the press on Wednesday, June 15 at 7:30 pm at the Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago; following previews from June 10. It will play through July 17. 

The TOMMY ON TOP cast includes Ryan Cason as Tommy Miller, the closeted Hollywood heartthrob who is nominated for an Oscar and is a shoo-in to win Best Actor. Theresa Liebhart will be his bibulous sister Molly, and Patrick Gosney will play Tommy’s musical theater-obsessed hair stylist boyfriend George. Sandra Franco has been cast as the celebrity talent manager Judy, and Blythe Inanna will play the celebrity blogger Kiki Lopez, who is threatening to out Tommy with some incriminating gay photos. Completing the cast is Brian Boller as Eddie, Tommy’s Trump-loving Republican gay talent agent who goes berserk when he discovers that Judy is also trying to poach Tommy to be in her roster of stars. Understudies are Michelle Paola Ortiz (Kiki), Caitlin McNichol (Molly), Casey Coppess (George), Chris Sylvie (Eddie), and Alex Iacobucci (Tommy).

The Chicago Sun-Times said:

“Jay Espano is without question a talented director who has done wonders in his inaugural season as Pride Arts artistic director. His set design of an elegant and well-appointed Hollywood hotel is the kind you might expect to see in a Cole Porter comedy at the Goodman Theatre.”

“The show’s production values are high, several performances are engaging and the overall message of “owning your own truth” is without a doubt a powerful one.”

The production team for TOMMY ON TOP, in addition to Españo as director and scenic designer, includes Johan Gallardo (Costume Design), Maggie Meyer (Lighting Design), Val Gardner (Sound Design), Ryan C. McNally (Composer), Dean Hahn (Master Electrician), Jack Mcelroy (Fight Choreography), Garrett McCann (Intimacy Director), Emily Chen (Stage Manager), and Eleanor VanHouten (Assistant Stage Manager).

Tickets to TOMMY ON TOP are priced at $35 for regular performances (June 15 through July
17) and $25 for previews June 12-14. Seniors and students will receive a $5 discount for regular

Chris Woodley (Playwright) Chris Woodley is a British/Irish screenwriter, playwright, and
performer based in East London. Chris has recently completed the BBC EASTENDERS Shadow Scheme and is currently writing two television movies for a US network channel. He is developing a number of original television ideas.

Jay Españo (PrideArts Artistic Director, Director). Born in Manila, The Philippines, he
joined the prestigious Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company in 1998, where he trained with acclaimed Filipino director Nonon Padilla. He acted in several commercials, television series and films. Notably, he was a regular cast member of Koko KwikKwak – a spin-off of Batibot (Philippine SESAME STREET). He toured The Philippines with that show’s mascots, performing for kids throughout the country. In 2000, Jay was one of many Filipino actors who were cast in the Action Theater Singapore’s hit musical CHANG AND ENG, which toured Asia
for several years.

Since moving to the Chicago area, Jay has worked with storefront theater companies such as Silk Road Rising, Prologue, Ghostlight, Halcyon, and PrideArts. He has played the role of the King in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I with various theater companies in the US and in