“I’m a lesbian. Plain and simple. I don’t make any bones about it.”
When I first started writing that line for PULP a year or two after the millennial turn, I couldn’t imagine that I would be sitting here now writing a blog post (“what the hell is a blog?”), legally married to my wife (although it was a distant hope), a show about a lesbian cartoonist who grew up in a funeral home with a suicidal gay dad would win the Tony Award for best musical, fab lesbian Lisa Kron (who I want to be when I grow up) would win for best book and score (along with Jeanine Tesori) for that musical, and transgender issues would be would be big stories in mainstream media. Plus, a lesbian pulp classic (“The Price of Salt”) would be released as a major motion picture (“Carol”) and create a lot of Oscar buzz. My oh my how times have changed. But, in a way, I could see inklings of this from our first previews of PULP in 2004. The show quickly became a hit, primarily because it appealed to a broad cross-section of Chicago theatregoers. And what an amazing sight that was. On any given night, the audience would be filled with lots of lesbians and gays, yes, but also with just as many straight folks – young and old – laughing and rooting for this group of middle-aged lesbians and drag performers in a 1950’s underground bar trying to find their one true love. Wow.
Patricia Kane as Winchester Cox in the original production of Pulp
I wanted to write a play that reclaimed the marvelous lesbian pulp fiction novels of the mid-20th century, which were usually sad (at best) and tragic (most of the time). I wanted to turn the genre on its head a bit and create an homage that was fun, funny, sexy, empowering, romantic, and ultimately, uplifting. Who doesn’t want to see a play like that? Luckily, with the vision of a fabulous director (Jessica Thebus), the artistic leadership of Eric Rosen, and the creativity of a fantastic group of designers and actors, we were able to build that play over the course of a couple of years. Since its creation, PULP has had critically acclaimed productions across the country. However, it’s interesting to note, that even with its success since its first outing in 2004, it was just published for the first time this summer by Chicago Dramaworks. (I was told in 2004 that no one would publish it because it was about lesbians…) Glad that change has finally come.
I’m thrilled that About Face is bringing PULP back to life for a two-night staged reading, with Jessica Thebus back at the helm. It’s bittersweet, though, because Julia Neary (who played the lead, Terry Logan, in the About Face productions) died from cancer at the beginning of the year at the way too young age of 50. However, I’m thrilled that my dear friend, Peggy Dunne, will be returning to Chicago to play Terry, a role she did in the Celebration Theatre production in Los Angeles in the fall of 2004. The fantastic Amy Warren (who co-wrote the music) returns as Miss Vivian, and I’ll be reprising the role of Winny. We’ll also be joined this time around by the fabulous About Face Artistic Associate Elizabeth Ledo as Pepper and gorgeous Angela Ingersoll as Bing. I’m ecstatic that they will all be with us at The Well. Should be a grand time, or as Bing says – “FAN-Tastic.”
DON’T MISS PULP!
November 12th & 13th at 7:30 pm
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