Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-10-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Queer comedy with a side of Curry
by Kerry Reid
2018-06-06

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In the months leading up to the election of Donald Trump, several performers at Second City left in the wake of receiving increasingly homophobic, sexist and racist comments from audiences ( and in at least one instance, directed to a fellow audience member ). Former cast member Peter Kim ( a gay Asian man ) recounted his experiences in an essay for Chicago Magazine in October 2016, describing the level of verbal abuse as "a stage-four cancer spreading through the entire cavity of our nation."

But since then, Second City has taken some concrete steps to foster the voices of diverse and marginalized performers. Those voices are front and center in two shows opening in conjunction with Pride Month. In Let's Make It Perfectly Queer: A Salute to Pride, directed by Annoyance founder and longtime director Mick Napier, a cast that is entirely LGBTQIA performs classic Second City sketches about queer life, along with some original black-outs and songs connecting the archival pieces. It runs through June 24. And on June 6, the company offers The Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase, directed by Second City co-artistic director Matt Hovde, featuring a diverse cast performing archival material, original sketches and improv sets.

The Bob Curry Fellowship, named for the first African American to perform as an improviser on the Second City mainstage in 1966, has been up and running since 2013 as part of the theater's Diversity and Inclusion Program. The highly competitive fellowship ( only 16 are accepted annually out of over 200 applicants ) provides ten weeks of intensive mentorship and training to performers from traditionally underrepresented communities. Last year, Riley Mondragon was the first transgender fellow and she joins two of the current Curry Fellows—Maya Haughton and George Elrod—as part of the cast for Let's Make It Perfectly Queer.

Interestingly enough, the Pride show marks the first time that Second City has offered a Pride-specific revue. Elrod, who also works at iO, created their first Pride-centric showcase last year and is doing it again this year with the 12-hour marathon iO Pride Fest on June 10. Said Elrod "I don't know if people want to be outer, louder and prouder given the political situation, or if they're just finding a better support system around this time."

Asked if the well-publicized problems with bigoted audience comments at Second City played a role in making the show, Haughton said "It hasn't been specifically mentioned to my knowledge. It's definitely been in the backs of the minds of people creating the show. Mick is so in your face that he really wants us to say 'fuck you, we're here.' He's all about making it 'Look at us. We are here to show you that we are powerful and strong and we don't care what you think.'"

Going back into the archives also means that the performers confronted the mindsets of earlier eras. For example, Elrod noted that, "A lot of the stuff I'm working with in the show deals with characters who may not bring up their queerness, but it is a two-person same-sex or queer relationship. Watching the videos and seeing audience members oooh and aaah and laugh at things that wouldn't be laughed about today or that queer audiences wouldn't really care about is the most interesting thing to me."

Haughton said that Napier "gave us the power to speak up on sketches that we didn't have good feelings about. Or if we flagged something that was problematic we could say 'Hey, let's tweak this.'"

For Elrod, the goals of the Pride show and the Curry showcase are different. "Let's Make It Perfectly Queer is a salute to all the past queer performers in the [Second City] space. The showcase highlights our ability as Second City performers. The archive is showing we can reproduce and mimic and put on a show that was created by someone else. The original showcase shows we can write and generate material from our own POV."

Several graduates of the Curry fellowship, including Rashawn Nadine Scott and Tien Tran, have ended up in mainstage revues. But for Haughton—who didn't study at the Second City Conservatory or iO, but has been active in comedy for more than 20 years—the fellowship strengthened her understanding of how improv and scene structure works. She also noted "Because I have been doing it so long, I had fallen into bad habits in terms of repeating some of the character types I do. It's helped me break those habits."

For Elrod, one of the great things about creating work with a diverse cast in the Curry program is the shorthand that exists among the ensemble. "If we were in a room that wasn't as diverse, there might a need to be explain someone's pitch. This room is so eager to carry someone's ideas to the end. That's the thing that has been unique. We've all got this ability to just go with it and everyone is going there together."

That's something to celebrate for Pride Month and beyond.

Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase runs at 8 p.m. on Wed., June 6, at Second City's e.t.c. Theater, 230 W. North Ave., second floor of Piper's Alley. Tickets are $15. For more information go to secondcity.com or call 312/337-3992.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Illeana Douglas 2018-10-14 - Illeana Douglas is a renaissance woman. Her distinguished career includes theater, standup comedy, movies, including several Martin Scorsese films, TV, writing, music ...


Gay News

Twelve Chicago-based LGBTQ+ performing arts organizations to perform together 2018-10-13 - CHICAGO, October 11, 2018 — Chicago Gay Men's Chorus celebrates 35 years of making music with their upcoming holiday show 35th Anniversary Holiday ...


Gay News

New World Play Festival through Oct 27 2018-10-11 - CHICAGO - Following the success of their 12th season of productions, culminating with the critically acclaimed Not One Batu, Nothing Without a Company ...


Gay News

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 2018-10-10 - By Simon Stephens At Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. Tickets: 312-335-1650 or Steppenwolf.org; $20-$30 Runs through: Oct. 27 ...


Gay News

The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe, A Love Story 2018-10-10 - By David Rice At: First Folio Theatre, Mayslake Hall, Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. Tickets: firstfolio.org; $34 - $44. ...


Gay News

Oxy, Ohio 2018-10-10 - Playwright S J. Spencer At The Side Project Theatre Company at McKaw Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. Tickets: TheSideProject.net; $15-$20. Runs through: Oct. ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-10-10 - Indecent, Victory Gardens at the Biograph, through Nov. 4. The history of a play surviving through good times and bad invites us to ...


Gay News

La Boheme 2018-10-10 - By Giacomo Puccini At: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20. N. Wacker Dr. Tickets: 312-827-5600; LyricOpera.org; $49-$279 . Runs through: Oct. 20 ...


Gay News

Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2018-10-10 - By Roald Dahl ( original novel ), David Grieg ( book ), Marc Sharman ( music and lyrics ) and Scott Witt ( ...


Gay News

Zurich 2018-10-10 - Playwright: Amelia Roper At: Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn Ave. Tickets: $10-$38; 773-649-3168; SteepTheatre.com . Runs through: Nov. 10 A ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.