Tag: Andrew Volkoff

Monday, May 19, 8:00 PM written by boomerang

About Face Theatre Celebrates June with The Pride Performance Series

Including a Special Reading featuring Michael Urie of Ugly Betty

CHICAGO (May 15, 2014) – About Face Theatre commemorates Pride Month with THE PRIDE PERFORMANCE SERIES, a spectacular line-up of readings, performances and special events throughout June celebrating the LGBTQIA experience. The series kicks off with a reading of Jonathan Tolins’ comedy The Last Sunday in June, starring real life couple Michael Urie (of TV’s Ugly Betty) and his partner Ryan Spahn.Urie iscurrently starring in Tolins’ comedy Buyer & Cellar at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse. Up next, AFT Artistic Associate Paul Oakley Stovall leads a panel of Chicago artists through an exploration of Lesbians & Literature. Then, playwright Bixby Elliot (Girl You Know It’s True) unravels everything you’ve ever learned about our 16th President as AFT presents a reading of his hilarious play Abraham Lincoln was a F*gg*t.  Finally, Steven Strafford stars in a reading of Methtacular!, his own brutally honest and often comedic story of survival as a meth addict in Chicago.

Tickets for THE PRIDE PERFORMANCE SERIES are available at www.aboutfacetheatre.org.   A Series Pass is available at a 20% discount ($44) for access to all four events.


The Last Sunday in June

By Jonathan Tolins

Directed by AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff

Starring Michael Urie with Ryan Spahn and others

Monday, June 2 at 7:30 pm 

The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

Tickets $20


The Last Sunday In June is a fascinating look back at how much has changed in the LGBTQ landscape over the past ten years. It’s the last Sunday in June 2003, the day of the annual Gay Pride Parade through New York’s Greenwich Village. Tom and Michael, his partner of seven years, intend to spend the day planning their impending move from the Big Apple to the upstate town of Nyack, but their plans are rerouted as one friend after another drops by to view the parade from the window of their Christopher Street apartment. An afternoon originally designated for things domestic instead turns into a series of conversations about relationships, self-acceptance and the very meaning of what it is to be gay, eventually calling into question Tom and Michael’s relationship itself.


Lesbians and Literature

Hosted by AFT Artistic Associate Paul Oakley Stovall

Part of the PivotArts Festival

Tuesday, June 10 at 7 pm

Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago

Tickets $10


Lesbians have had a lasting, but often unsung, impact on English literature.  AFT Artistic Associate Paul Oakley Stovall hosts a panel discussion and performance exploring gay women in literature including Sappho, the couple behind James Joyce’s Ulysses and more.  The event features playwright Marilyn Campbell, AFT Artistic Associate Elizabeth Ledo, playwright and actress Pat Kane, and others.


Abraham Lincoln was a F*gg*t

by Bixby Elliot

Directed by AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff

Friday, June 13 and Saturday June 14 at 7:30 pm

Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Tickets $10


Was our country’s most beloved president gay? That’s what 17-year-old Cal thinks and he’s going to prove it to the world! Structured around an oral report that Cal presents at Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln met his untimely end,Abraham Lincoln was a F*gg*tweaves together Cal’s story and his quest to prove the secret (based in fact) sexual history of Gaybraham Lincoln. Along the way there is damning evidence, time travel, a road trip to the nation’s capital, budding high-school romance, a crazy Mary Todd and sex in a stove-pipe hat.  Watch and learn!



Written by and starring Steven Strafford

Directed by Adam Fitzgerald

Tuesday, June 17 at 7:30 pm

American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St., Chicago

Tickets $15


Methtacular! is Steven Strafford’s hilarious and harrowing account of his three year run as a crystal meth addict in Chicago. As Steven weaves together stories, songs and Facts of Life references, audiences will laugh their way down into the depths of a drug addled, sex crazed life.


About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.



PRESS CONTACT: David Rosenberg
David Rosenberg Public Relations

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Thursday, January 16, 1:57 PM written by EmilyHaha

Announcing Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show

About Face Theatre and Silk Road Rising

Present the Chicago Premiere of

Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show

By Aditi Brennan Kapil

Directed by AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff

March 27 – April 27, 2014


About Face Theatre and Silk Road Rising are pleased to present the Chicago premiere of Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show, by Aditi Brennan Kapil, directed by AFT Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff and featuring Fawzia Mirza in the title role. This bold, comic exploration of cultural and sexual identity plays March 27 – April 27, 2014 at Silk Road Rising, Pierce Hall at the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St. in Chicago.  Tickets go on sale Monday, February 3, 2014 at www.aboutfacetheatre.com, www.silkroadrising.org or by calling (312) 857-1234 ext. 201. The press opening is Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 pm.

In this provocative play masquerading as a stand-up comedy routine, an Indian intersex person, or “hijra,” explores history, mythology, gender roles… and high school. Brahman/i – funny, cynical, inventive and intensely charismatic – takes on more than a dozen unforgettable characters in a fascinating life story that most of us can barely even begin to imagine.

“We are thrilled to be producing the Chicago premiere of this adventurous new play with our friends at Silk Road Rising,” comments About Face Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff.  “The missions of our theaters dovetail seamlessly in this story, offering us a rare opportunity to work together and tell a truly unique story. Using stand up comedy to blow apart preconceptions of gender and cultural identities, Brahman/i truly highlights what it means to be an outsider, embracing who you are, and the power of unconditional love. I’m excited to see Kapil’s creation come to life in Fawzia Mirza’s hands as her considerable comedy skills illuminate the play’s touching, humorous, in-your-face humanity.”

“What an absolute honor it is to be partnering with About Face on this hilariously bold new play,” adds Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury.  “If there is such a thing as ‘stand up decolonization,’ Kapil nails it.  Colonized minds, colonized bodies and colonized histories all get roasted in a no holds barred, soul-baring comedy blowout as daringly funny as it is defiantly honest.  Brahman/i reminds us that heritage can be a wellspring of courage and creativity – and that the body never lies, it merely asks questions. Whoever knew that intersectionalities could be so much fun?”

Location:  Silk Road Rising, Pierce Hall at the Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago.


Press opening:  Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 pm

Regular run:  Friday, April 4 – Sunday, April 27, 2014

Curtain Times:  Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 4 pm & 8 pm; Sundays at 4 pm

TicketsRegular run: $35 adults/$20 students & seniors. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets go on sale Monday, February 3, 2014 at www.aboutfacetheatre.com, www.silkroadrising.org or by calling (312) 857-1234 ext. 201.


Fawzia Mirza (Brahman/i), a lawyer-turned-artist-and-educator, was last seen on stage as one of four actors to perform in the solo show White Rabbit/Red Rabbit presented by the MCA and the Chicago Humanities Festival.  In 2013, Mirza performed at The Goodman Theatre in Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes’ The Happiest Song Plays Last, where she originated the role of Shar.  She was also an ensemble member of Christopher Shinn’s world premiere play, Teddy Ferrara.  Mirza’s own solo play, Me, My Mom & Sharmila Tagore, premieres this year. Her Silk Road Rising credits include the Jeff Award-winning Scorched, The DNA Trail and Mosque Alert.  Mirza has also been featured in several Chicago-made Indie films including Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together, Scrooge & Marley, Promise Land, Silhouettes and The Queen of My Dreams (this short film she co-wrote about her life, Bollywood and identity has screened at over 50 festivals around the world). Her web credits include The Throwaways, Easy Abby, Kiss Her I’m Famous and she writes, produces and stars in her web series Kam Kardashian and her new short series Brown Girl Problems. Mirza’s ‘day job’ has her touring yearlong to universities and military installations performing Sex Signals, the most popular sexual violence prevention show in the world.  Photo credit: Joe Mazza at Brave-Lux

About the Playwright:

Aditi Brennan Kapil is a playwright, actress, and director of Bulgarian and Indian descent, raised in Sweden, and currently residing in Minneapolis. Her play Love Person, a four-part love story has been produced to critical acclaim across the country in Sanskrit, ASL and English. It was developed during a Many Voices residency at the Playwrights’ Center, work-shopped at the Lark Play Development Center in New York, and selected for reading at the National New Play Network (NNPN) conference in 2006. Love Person was produced in a NNPN rolling world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, Marin Theater in San Francisco and Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis during the 2007-2008 season. In 2008-2009, it was produced at Live Girls! Theatre in Seattle, Alley Repertory Theatre in Boise and Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Love Person received the Stavis Playwriting Award in 2009. Kapil’s play Agnes Under Big Top, a tall tale was selected as a 2009 Distinguished New Play Development Project by the NEA New Play Development Program hosted by Arena Stage, and was developed by the Lark Play Development Center, Mixed Blood Theatre, InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia, the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and the Rhodope International Theater Laboratory in Bulgaria. Agnes Under Big Top premiered at Mixed Blood Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT in 2011, and Borderlands Theater in Tucson, AZ in 2012 in a NNPN rolling world premiere.  Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show is a part of Kapil’s trilogy, Displaced Hindu Gods, and was commissioned by Mixed Blood, premiering there in October 2013.

Kapil is currently working on a play loosely based on the character of Imogen in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre.  She is a graduate of Macalester College with a BA in English and Dramatic Arts.

About the Director:

Andrew Volkoff joined About Face Theatre in 2013 as Artistic Director. He is also a freelance director specializing in new and contemporary works and has directed numerous productions (including several world and regional premieres) in New York, across the U.S. and abroad. Andrew served as Associate Artistic Director of Barrington Stage Company (BSC) in Massachusetts for five years and Genesius Theatre Group in New York City for three years. He also acted as the Co-Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre Lab for one season. Andrew has worked as the Associate Director on Ella for Rob Ruggiero at Dallas Theatre Center and other regional theatres, is a Drama League Directing Fellow, and an SDC member.  Proud to be the first director chosen to participate in the U.S./Bulgaria Directors Exchange Project, Andrew directed the Bulgarian premiere of John Kolvenbach’s Lovesong in Sofia at the Nikolai Binev Theatre, where it is in its second year of repertory. He is currently developing several plays and musicals.  He attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

About the Companies:

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.

Silk Road Rising creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses.  In representing communities that intersect and overlap, we advance a polycultural worldview.

Silk Road Rising color logo

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Wednesday, September 18, 12:24 PM written by EmilyHaha

About Face Theatre Featured in the New York Times

About Face Theatre was recently featured in the New York Times‘ Arts section!  In the article “Gay Theaters Now Struggle to Evolve,” Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff – in an interview with Erik Piepenburg – discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the theatre as About Face enters its 18th season.  As Volkoff says, “You’re always going to have people at different points in their lives who need to hear these stories.”

Want to hear more?  Read the full article online!

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Wednesday, September 11, 11:56 PM written by EmilyHaha

Announcing About Face Theatre’s 2013-2014 Programming!

This spring, About Face Theatre is proud to present the Chicago premiere of Aditi Brennan Kapil’s stand-up comedy play, BRAHMAN/I: A ONE-HIJRA STAND-UP COMEDY SHOW, exploring gender, culture, mythology and puberty all through the lens of a hijra, an Indian intersex person.

In the summer, About Face Youth Theatre investigates the intersection of immigration and queer identity in the world premiere of CHECKING BOXES.

Our 2013-14 offerings also feature the OUT FRONT Series, a year-round line-up of workshops and readings of new and developmental works by LGBTQA playwrights, as well as a month-long PRIDE CABARET Music Series in June 2014.

Don’t miss a moment of this groundbreaking programming.
Memberships start at just $110.

Become A Member Today 



The About Face Theatre 2013–14 programming includes:

November 27, 2013 – January 5, 2014
The Return of the Hit Holiday Musical
Book and Lyrics by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Bradley
Music & Additional Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Ferguson
Musical Direction by Aaron Benham
Choreography by AFT Artistic Associate Patrick Andrews
Featuring AFT Artistic Associates Scott Duff and John Francisco with Sharriese Hamilton, Mark David Kaplan, James Nedrud, Danielle Plisz (Jeff Award nominated), Bethany Thomas, Dana Tretta and Andrew Swan.
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Fresh from a concert at Joe’s Pub in New York City with a revamped book and expanded score, last year’s sparkly, queer holiday hit is back… and better than ever!  Box maker Conrad Ticklebottom’s life has hit a block. Once, Conrad and his purple box ignited an entire movement in art and design, but now he finds himself alone, forgotten and teetering on ruin. The holidays bring three magical figures to his door – a trio of Liza Minnellis to escort him on a fabulous journey through what-was, what-could-be and what-the-f*?!, redeeming his lost promise and re-inventing a brand-new Conrad Ticklebottom.  A quirky holiday musical tale of hope, transformation… and the power of Liza!

March/April 2014
The Chicago Premiere of
By Aditi Brennan Kapil
Directed by Collective Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff
Location TBA

This hilarious stand-up comedy routine/play takes on history, mythology, gender roles and high school through the distinct comic lens of Brahman/i, an Indian intersex person – a hijra – tethered by neither gender nor culture, and wildly curious and inventive in their examination of both.

Aditi Brennan Kapil is a writer, actress and director of Bulgarian and Indian descent. She was raised in Sweden and resides in Minneapolis, MN. She performs extensively around the country and her writing has been produced nationally to critical acclaim. Her play Love Person received the 2009 Stavis Playwriting Award, and her play, Agnes Under the Big Top, a tall tale, was selected as a Distinguished New Play Development project by the NEA as administered by Arena Stage.  Her most recent work is the “Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy,” consisting of the plays Brahman/i, The Chronicles of Kalki and Shiv.  Aditi is currently working on commissions with Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and South Coast Repertory Theatre, and is a resident artist at Mixed Blood Theatre, an artistic associate at Park Square Theatre and a Core Writer at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

About Face’s OUT FRONT Series
A year round line-up of workshops and readings of new and developmental works, including:
BILLIE AND BILLY by AFT Artistic Associate Paul Oakley Stovall
7:30PM – Saturday, November 16, 2013 and Sunday, November 17, 2013
American Theatre Company, 1909 West Byron Street, Chicago, Illinois 60613
Tickets are FREE!

The divide between different cultures and ethnicities, between men and women, between straight and gay in America can be a great one.  Using only two characters, Paul Oakley Stovall aims to present what seems to be a tiny little drama, set in a small city apartment and the empty flat across the hall.  As Billie and Billy form an unexpected bond, their lives begin to intersect in strange ways. The audience is invited to explore with them: our need for companionship, our desire to solve the mysteries of existence and the ways in which we see ourselves in the eyes of others.  Billie and Billy explores the similarities ignored, our common needs and desires and the mutual ground we walk upon.

January 25 & 26, 2014
when last we flew by Harrison David Rivers
Location TBA

Inspired by Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and a testament to the power of theatre, when last we flew is a moving and often humorous look at life in small town America from a contemporary teenage perspective.  After stealing his local library’s only copy of Angels in America, misfit teenager Paul locks himself in the bathroom to begin reading the landmark play. He soon finds that his life and the lives of those around him in his small Kansas town are about to take flight, and over the course of a seemingly ordinary day, extraordinary things start to happen…

June 2014
Location TBA

To commemorate Pride Month, every weekend in June, About Face Theatre will be hosting a series of cabaret performances celebrating every aspect of the LGBTQA community.  From showtunes and standards to comedy to new music to open mics, we’ll be serving up the fun as we invite our community to join with us in making Pride laugh, sing and sparkle!

July 2014
The World Premiere of
By the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Location TBA

Every two years, About Face’s acclaimed Youth Theatre devises a play as the result of workshops, in depth interviews, theatre training and improvisation.  Working with a professional writer and director, they produce plays that tackle challenging topics ranging from anti-gay violence to safe spaces for youth in the LGBTQA community.  This year, AFYT turns its attention to an exploration of immigration in the queer community.  Building off the work that they created in this summer’s research filled Youth Intensive, they’ll be bringing this brand new play to Chicagoans in July 2014.

About Face Theatre (Andrew Volkoff, Artistic Director) is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity.  Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 48 world premieres by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.

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Monday, May 6, 12:14 PM written by EmilyHaha

WONKA BALL 2013 Raises $85,000 for AFT Programming and Youth Theatre

About Face Theatre’s


Raises $85,000 for AFT Programming and Youth Theatre

CHICAGO (May 1, 2013) – Nearly 450 guests gathered for a three-ring party of of colossal entertainment and excessive elegance at About Face Theatre’s WONKA BALL 2013: CIRCUS MAXIMUS on Friday, April 26 at Chicago’s Architectural Artifacts, 4325 N. Lincoln Ave. The company’s 17th annual gala raised more than $85,000 for About Face Theatre programming, including its groundbreaking Youth Theatre.  Guests were also introduced to AFT’s newly-announced Artistic Director, Andrew Volkoff, who succeeds outgoing Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar this spring.

Greeted by fire dancers, stilt walkers, a swinging mermaid and other sideshow entertainers, guests made their way into the giant red and yellow Wonka Big Top. Following an exclusive Ringmaster’s VIP cocktail reception, partiers spilled into the playfully decorated venue for spirits and scrumptious samplings at tasting stations and an opportunity to bid on tempting silent auction items. Partygoers enjoyed non-stop entertainment, including opera tenor Scott Ramsay, a marching band, belly dancers, contortionists and more. Revelers capped off the evening with dancing to the tunes of DJ Swaguerilla.

The 2013 Leppen Leadership Awards were presented to Mary F. Morten and the Office of Alderman Cappleman and Uptown United.  Named for About Face Youth Theatre supporter Michael Leppen, the annual awards recognize those whose efforts on behalf of About Face Theatre and the LGBTQA community empower youth leaders to take action and encourage LGBTQA adults and youth to create intergenerational dialogue and understanding.

Nemo Serges was the recipient of the About Face Youth Theatre 2013 MVP Award, given annually to an outstanding youth theatre ensemble member for exceptional service to the company and to the greater LGBTQ community. The recipient has proven herself or himself to be exceptionally dedicated to the mission of our work and has gone beyond her or his duties as an ensemble member to better the experience of other Youth Theatre participants.

The WONKA BALL 2013 was co-chaired by board members Billy Lullo and Benjamin SprungerThe 2013 Planning Committee also included board members Robert Abernathy and Drew Kent (VIP Party Co-Chairs); board member Amy Hutchison and associate board member Kristen Kaza (Silent Auction Co-Chairs); and Andrea A. Cedusky (Event Consultant); and Barbara Lee Cohen (Creative Director for Talent).

Proceeds from the annual WONKA BALL support About Face Theatre programming including its groundbreaking Youth Theatre, which creates critically acclaimed new work by and about LGBTQA youth and their allies.  The Youth Theatre has performed on major stages across the country and, through its outreach tour, changes the lives of thousands of young people each year.  AFT also boasts its annual, award-winning main stage season and the ambitious XYZ Festival of New Works.

Wonka Ball 2013 Corporate Sponsors included: BMO Harris Bank, Sidetrack and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois.

Photo Copyright © 2013 Timmy Samuel

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Thursday, May 2, 11:19 AM written by EmilyHaha

Andrew’s Road Trip

As we prepare to welcome incoming Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff on June 1, we wanted to bring you a series of blog posts from him chronicling his journey – literally and metaphorically – to AFT and Chicago. Here’s Part I, in Andrew’s own words:

It was wonderful to meet so many of the amazing people that make up the About Face community at Wonka Ball this past weekend! Words cannot express how excited I am to be the incoming Artistic Director at AFT.

I’m writing to you as I careen across Massachusetts in a U-Haul. I’m beginning the first leg of my journey to Chicago…by heading to New England. A little roundabout I’ll grant you, but necessary before I head back to the Midwest. I’m so pleased to be returning to my roots in the Midwest. Since I grew up in Milwaukee, I’m thrilled to come back to the area: leading About Face feels like the natural next step in my life, a homecoming in more ways than one.

What makes About Face so special to me is how wonderfully multi-faceted it is. It stands as a shining example of a theatre that nurtures its relationships with the communities around it — relationships that I think are the most sacred thing in theatre. AFT has supported an extensive community of LGBTQA artists for almost two decades. I intend to lead the organization in a way that supports those artists’ voices and helps make the world a better place for all LGBTQ people. And AFT’s focus on giving youth a safe space to express themselves through artistic self-discovery is spectacular. I wish that there had been something like that available to me when I was growing up in Milwaukee. I see myself, therefore, as a steward not just of the theatre but also of these young artists. Through supporting those artists and through a commitment to new work – enlarging the canon of American theatre through enlarging the canon of LGBTQ theatre – About Face has shown that LGBTQ theatre is American theatre.

About Face is a vital theatre that generates new, innovative work, retains a relevant stake in its community by contributing to its artistic development and growth and advances the public dialogue on sexual identity and gender. What greater honor could there be than to serve such a theatre?

All right, I’ve got to get back on the road! Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

All the best,

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