AFT’s 23rd Season

I’m thrilled to announce our 23rd season of plays and programs that powerfully illuminate the present and point the way forward. About Face Theatre continues to advance national dialogue on gender and sexuality with artists asking questions about love, politics, parenting, and social progress in bold interpretations of the way we live now. Through nuanced and diverse identities and experiences, these stories reveal our powerful resilience, our vulnerabilities, our joy, and our full humanity. Thank you for joining us and I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.

— Megan Carney
Artistic Director

THIS BITTER EARTH

November 1 – December 8, 2018
Chicago Premiere!

By Harrison David Rivers
Directed by Mikael Burke

Opening Night: Thursday, November 8 at 7:30 pm

In this poetic romance, deep love is challenged by divisive political realities. Jesse, an introspective black playwright, finds his choices called into question when his boyfriend, Neil, a white Black Lives Matter activist, calls him out for his political apathy. As passions and priorities collide, this couple is forced to reckon with issues of race, class and the bravery it takes to love out loud.

Comments Director Mikael Burke, “This Bitter Earth is a beautiful and unflinching play about race and relationship in contemporary America – about the need for connection and the apparent differences that hold us back. Jesse is black, Neil is white, and against a backdrop of police shootings and Black Lives Matter rallies, this tale of interracial love and heartache asks us: How do we save one another in this tumultuous world? How do we save ourselves? How do we navigate love in a world with so much hate? What do we carry in order to survive that we must learn to let go of in order to live?”

DADA WOOF PAPA HOT

January 10 – February 16, 2019
Chicago Premiere!

By Peter Parnell
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm

Opening Night: Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 pm

This funny and sexy play introduces two gay couples and their circle of friends who have ventured into the world of modern day parenting. As friendships deepen and vulnerabilities get exposed, the foundation of family and commitment are shaken. With same sex marriage the law of the land… what happens next? DADA WOOF PAPA HOT is a fast-paced glimpse into the world of 21st century parenthood.

Comments Director Keira Fromm, “Dada Woof Papa Hot is a funny and moving play about the challenges of modern day marriage and parenting. It examines how parenting lives up to and defies expectations, how it collides with identity, and how it’s changes your life and the lives of your nearest and dearests in the process. I love that the play reaches into contemporary married life and examines its difficulties for straight and gay people alike. It’s refreshing that it takes place today in the post-marriage-equality moment where gay relationships and parenting have been normalized in our culture. The way it explores the unique problems that the central gay couple encounters while raising their young daughter in the wake of marriage equality makes for incredibly potent and compelling theater.”

THE TOTAL BENT

February 7 – March 10, 2019
Midwest Premiere!
Produced by Haven Theatre in association with About Face Theatre

Text By Stew
Music and Lyrics By Stew and Heidi Rodewald
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Opening Night: Thursday, February 7 at 8:00 pm

When a British record producer arrives in Montgomery, Alabama to hook Marty Roy, a young black musical prodigy, he launches us back into Marty’s tumultuous upbringing. The son of a gospel star and self-proclaimed healer, Marty spent his childhood writing the songs that have made his charismatic father famous. But in a nation on the verge of social upheaval, with the rising heat from the street guiding his pen, Marty finds himself at odds with his spiritually forceful father as he strives to create a masterpiece that will change America – no matter the cost.

Comments Haven Artistic Director Josh Sobel, “Ever since seeing their Tony Award-winning Passing Strange in 2008, I have deeply desired to present a work of Stew and Heidi’s, and as such The Total Bent – fresh out of New York’s venerated Public Theatre – is a true dream come true. I am beyond grateful to Megan Carney, Alana Parvey Zalas, and everyone at About Face Theatre for their support and partnership in helping us realize the creative vision of this inspiring and provocative piece of new music theatre. All of us at Haven are thrilled to be working with such an iconic Chicago arts institution in presenting this strikingly urgent work, one that challenges all of us on issues of race, faith, politics, and family in a Christian America.”

Comments About Face Artistic Director Megan Carney, “Haven is an ideal creative partner for us at About Face Theatre because we are two companies committed to looking forward and creating change. We share the beliefs that theatre can lead the way and that innovative partnerships are essential. Josh Sobel, Lili-Anne Brown, and the phenomenal team on this show have a truly inspired vision and we are proud to be a part of it.”

ABOUT FACE YOUTH THEATRE ENSEMBLE PRESENTS: 20/20

July 12 – 28, 2019
World Premiere!

Created by AFT Artists in collaboration with the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Directed by AFT Artistic Director Megan Carney

For its 20th anniversary year, About Face Youth Theatre goes to the next level with a citywide multigenerational performance and civic dialogue project to gather lessons from the past and envision a better collective future. Youth and adult artists will engage LGBTQ+ thought leaders and program alumni through interviews, workshops and story circles to explore markers of social change over the last two decades and mobilize a community in transition. Other lead artists include Associate Director of AFYT Donny Acosta, Associate Director of Outreach and Engagement Mia VivensAFT Artistic Associates, and the AFYT Youth Ensemble. This project is engaging with Chicago’s diverse LGBTQ+ communities with specific partnerships to be announced soon.

Comments AFT Artistic Director Megan Carney, “AFYT has a special collaborative model for creating new plays that has gained a national reputation for the program. For the 20th anniversary, we are expanding the process to create mutigenerational spaces around the city, bringing youth and adult leaders together, and using the tools of the theatre in acts of collective imagination.”


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