Tag: Elizabeth Ledo

Wednesday, November 4, 8:43 PM written by AFT Theatre

A blog the creator of Pulp: Patricia Kane

“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.

Pat Kane as Winchester Cox

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.

Pulp 2015

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.”


November 12th & 13th at 7:30 pm

Stage 773


TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST (only 4 remaining tickets for Friday night!)


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Saturday, August 22, 4:14 PM written by About Face Theatre

AFT Looks Back: THE HOMOSEXUALS (2011)

In honor of our 20th anniversary, we are reflecting on some of our most popular and pivotal shows from the last two decades. This week, we sat down with AFT Artistic Associate and cast member of THE HOMOSEXUALS, Elizabeth Ledo. Read on to learn more and stay tuned as we share AFT history every week throughout our 20th Anniversary campaign!
Help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by August 31st in support of our 20th season!

homosIn 2011, Philip Dawkin’s play THE HOMOSEXUALS was a runaway hit. The show and its stellar cast enjoyed two extensions and has gone on to have many productions around the country. When you talk to people about THE HOMOSEXUALS, you find that they have a really special place for this genuine and incredibly human play. Elizabeth Ledo recalls the audience reaction at the time: “Everyone was just like ‘I just want to take this piece home with me. And what if we can found space like the Blue Man Group and you can just keep running it forever and ever?’ Nobody wanted it to end.”

ledoElizabeth Ledo was the only female in the cast and jokes, “I was the diamond among the aquamarines!” In a show that was primarily about gay men, it’s possible she could have felt like an outsider or like the story she was telling wasn’t really representative of her. Not so. She explains, “I wasn’t there to facilitate a story for gay men. I was there to tell a story about this guy’s life. My job wasn’t to be the ‘fag hag’ in this gay play, it was to be a friend to this guy that was going through this thing and I was one of the windows into that story. That’s human.”

2010-2011 homosexuals 2One of the truly remarkable things about this play (and really Philip Dawkins’ work in general) is that, while the title might suggest that this play might be exclusive, his way of story telling is incredibly inclusive. Ledo remarks, “You could sit in the theatre and just laugh at the absurdity and beauty of human behavior. And sure it spoke to the gay voice, but people could come who didn’t know anything about the gay experience and just be swept away by the great beauty and sometimes ‘ugh’ of human life.”

Philip Dawkins’ work is so representative of the kind of stories that AFT wants to put on stage now. The stories he tells are easy to relate to, genuine and representative of the queer voice as a whole and well-rounded voice in society. The queer experience in his hands is unique but also incredibly human. That was the magic of THE HOMOSEXUALS in 2011 and one of the reasons why we can’t wait to premiere LE SWITCH in our 20th season.


Help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by August 31st in support of our 20th season!

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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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Wednesday, September 4, 9:22 AM written by EmilyHaha

Danielle Plisz Nominated for a Jeff Equity Award!

Congratulations to Danielle Plisz, nominated for a Jeff Equity Award as “Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical” for her role as Liza Was in WE THREE LIZAS!!!

The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968.  The Jeff Awards fosters the artistic growth of area theatres and theatre artists and promotes educational opportunities, audience appreciation, and civic pride in the achievements of the theatre community.  During the 2012-13 season, Jeff Awards judges attended opening nights of 143 Equity productions offered by 51 producing organizations, and from these openings, 109 productions were “Jeff Recommended” and eligible for award nominations.

Also receiving nominations are AFT Artistic Associates Philip Dawkins in the category of “New Work” for FAILURE: A LOVE STORY at Victory Gardens Theater and Elizabeth Ledo in the category of “Actress in a Supporting Role – Play” for the role of Dorinne in TARTUFFE at Court Theatre.

John Tovar – the Fight Director for THE PRIDE – was nominated in the “Fight Direction” category for his work on THE OPPONENT at A Red Orchid Theatre.

The 45th Annual Jeff Awards ceremony honoring excellence in professional theatre produced within the immediate Chicago area is Monday, November 4 at Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace.  A complete list of nominees can be downloaded here.


Photo above: (left to right) Arturo SoriaDanielle Plisz and Sean Michael Hunt in About Face Theatre’s production of WE THREE LIZAS with book and lyrics by AFT Artistic AssociateScott Bradley, music and additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler and directed by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Ferguson. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

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