Tag: LGBTQIA theatre

Monday, November 24, 8:34 PM written by About Face Theatre

Thanks to Dimo’s Pizza & all our OUT FRONT attendees!

This past weekend we kicked off a whole new season of OUT FRONT series with a reading of “A Beautiful View.” Thanks to all the artists (including Youth Ensemble member, Erika Salgado who stepped in to read stage directions!) for making this fantastic play come to life. We heard from several attendees how much they loved the work even in this bare-bones reading format. Kudos to Polly Noonan for her direction and to Elizabeth and Kelli for being fantastic as always. Also a shout out to Hannah Friedman for her hard work as Stage Manager and Assistant Director and to Anna Rhoads for lending her beautiful ukelele skills to this presentation. And finally, a HUGE thank you to all of you who joined us at Stage 773 through rain and chilly weather – we couldn’t have done it without you!

We’d also like to give a big THANK YOU to our food sponsor Dimo’s Pizza! The pizzas were fantastic and enjoyed by all. We are so happy to have you on board and look forward to chowing down again at our next reading. 🙂

Speaking of which, the next installment in this year’s series is right around the corner! Mark your calendars to join us at Center on Halsted January 25th and 26th for “The Loneliness Project.”
Learn more!

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Wednesday, September 24, 10:14 PM written by About Face Theatre

CHECKING BOXES is a Chicago Artists Month Featured Event!


You have another chance to catch About Face Youth Theatre’s original play, Checking Boxes! We are thrilled to announce that our most recent AFYT show is being presented again as one of Chicago Artists Month’s featured events.

Visit the Chicago Artists Month website to learn more about this event and read statement from our Director of Education, Ali Hoefnagel – one of CAM’s featured artists!

In this original play devised by the About Face Youth Theatre, characters explore the often overlooked intersection between immigration and the LGBTQIA experience. Through storytelling, spoken word and movement, these talented young artists share experiences of coming out, growing up and pursuing the American Dream. Inspired by the burgeoning “Undocuqueer” movement in the U.S., Checking Boxes is based on the true experiences of the ensemble members and other members of the LGBTQIA community.


Monday, October 13th @ 7:30pm
Jackalope Theatre at the Broadway Armory
5917 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL

Join the Facebook event to stay in the loop!


“Talk about timeliness. With the issue of unaccompanied children from Central America entering the United States heating up, About Face Theatre Youth Ensemble’s “Checking Boxes,”… brings a sympathetic perspective to the stories behind the incendiary photos and headlines.”

“The script, developed by Shannon Matesky and the 14-member ensemble and directed by Ali Hoefnagel, fairly hums with a mix of desperation, defiance and idealism. ”

“When “Checking Boxes” keeps the focus on the intersection between … personal details and the larger national picture for those who currently “have to hide two parts of myself,” it provides its performers a passionate platform for expression.”
– Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune

Matesky and the AFYT through this piece urge us to see we have more power than we think to help the lives of others living in the margins. This piece reminds us that we have work to do, because from the looks of things, we aren’t there yet.
– Loy Webb, New City Chicago (read the full review)

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Monday, August 25, 2:55 PM written by About Face Theatre


The Chicago Premiere of
Written and Performed by Steven Strafford
Directed by Adam Fitzgerald

The Chicago Premiere of
By Daniel Pearle
Directed by Keira Fromm

The Chicago Premiere of
By Bixby Elliot

A World Premiere Play by The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble &
OUT FRONT Series: Year-Round Public Readings and Workshops of New Works

CHICAGO (August 21, 2014) – About Face Theatre is pleased to announce its full line-up of 2014-15 programming, kicking off this fall with the Chicago premiere of METHTACULAR!Steven Strafford’s hilarious and harrowing autobiographical account of his three year crystal meth addiction in Chicago. In the winter, AFT presents the Chicago premiere of Daniel Pearle’s A KID LIKE JAKE, a contemporary look at gender seen through the lens of parents shepherding their Cinderella-loving son through the rigors of NYC kindergarten admissions. Next spring, AFT presents another Chicago premiere – Bixby Elliot’s comedy ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS A F*GG*T, a teen’s touching and hilarious quest to prove the truth behind our 16th President’s sexual orientation.

AFT’s 2014-15 programming will also include a yet-to-be-titled world premiere devised by the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble and the return of the OUT FRONT Series, a year-round line-up of workshops and readings of new and developmental works by LGBTQIA playwrights.  This year’s OUT FRONT Series will focus on plays by and about women, including a workshop of THE LONELINESS PROJECT by Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins, which explores the intergenerational sense of isolation in the LGBTQIA community.

About Face is pleased to introduce “AFT On Demand,” a variety of flexible, year-round subscription packages.  For plans and prices, visit www.aboutfacetheatre.org. Single tickets for METHTACULAR! are currently on-sale at www.aboutfacetheatre.org, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.  Single tickets for additional programming will go on sale at a later date.

“We’re excited to bring audiences a season of provocative, engaging and entertaining works that illuminate the world in which we live,” comments Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff. “In fact, all our mainstage work is united by the theme of ‘authenticity.’ As Shakespeare said, ‘To thy own self be true.’ In the LGBTQIA community, I feel that question is constantly at the heart of who we are – no matter where we fall on the spectrum.  These plays celebrate the value of embracing our own truths and highlight the many different paths through that question. We hope you’ll join us in 2014-15 for a journey into the truth of the human experience,” adds Volkoff.

About Face Theatre’s 2014–15 programming includes:

August 21 – September 28, 2014
The Chicago Premiere of
Written and performed by Steven Strafford
Directed by Adam Fitzgerald
Music supervision and arrangements by John McDaniel 
Original music and arrangements by William TN Hall
Original music by Wade Elkins 
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.

METHTACULAR! is Steven Strafford’s hilarious and harrowing autobiographical account of his three years as a crystal meth addict in Chicago. Through comedy, songs, and plenty of honest storytelling, Strafford brings audiences on a journey through the chemical highs, devastating lows, and ultimate redemption from his drug addled, sex crazed life.  Presented in association with Justin Brill.

February 2015
The Chicago Premiere of
By Daniel Pearle
Directed by Keira Fromm
Location TBA

Alex and Greg’s intelligent and precocious four year-old son is a leading candidate for enrollment in one of Manhattan’s top kindergarten programs.  But when attention turns to his passion for Cinderella and dress-up, his imagination and behavior becomes a lightning rod for all involved. Winner of the prestigious Laurents/Hatcher playwriting prize, A KID LIKE JAKE takes a contemporary look at gender, family, expectations and acceptance through the lens of 21st century parenting.

Daniel Pearle’s plays include Bel Canto, Tearin’ Up My Heart, The Prodigies, Freefall, Plunder and The Truth About Christmas. Awards include: 2013 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, 2013 Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award, 2008 Loeb Drama Center Phyllis Anderson Prize and MacDowell Fellow.

May/June 2015
The Chicago Premiere of
By Bixby Elliot
Directed by Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff
Location TBA

In this time traveling riff on history, young Cal embarks on a journey to prove to his family that Abraham Lincoln, one of our country’s most revered presidents, might be gay.  Cal’s story is juxtaposed with scenes from Abraham Lincoln’s life in the 1800s — along the way there is sex in a stovepipe hat, a road trip to the nation’s capital, budding high-school romance and a quadrille or two. From the writer of the hit comedy, Girl You Know It’s TrueAbraham Lincoln was a F*gg*t is a clever take on truth, family and the importance of role models for LGBTQ youth.

Bixby Elliot‘s work has been produced in New York, Chicago, Seattle and Edinburgh.  His plays include Blueprint (world premiere NYC: SPF), Abraham Lincoln was a Fa**ot (finalist: O’Neill Theater Conference 2010, New Dramatists, Seven Devils Development Conference, winner: Pandora New Play Competition) and Girl You Know It’s True (semi-finalist: O’Neill Conference 2011, Princess Grace Award). Other plays include Birds Do It (semi-finalist: Princess Grace Award), Treasure Island, FL (semi-finalist: O’Neill Conference 2012, winner: SouthernRep New Play Festival), PN1923.45 LS01 volume 2: The Book Play (New York Premiere: NYC International Fringe Festival), Hotel Oracle (New York premiere: Walkerspace/SoHo Rep) and I Am Not Peter Pan (New York premiere: Cherry Lane Theater; Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Best of Fest). Bixby holds an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, is a proud company member of InViolet Rep and is co-curator of The Brooklyn Generator, a project that supports writers in creating new work.

July 2015
A World Premiere by The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Location TBA

Each year, About Face’s acclaimed Youth Theatre devises a play through workshops, in depth interviews, theatre training and improvisation.  Working with a professional writer and director, they produce plays that tackle challenging topics ranging from being undocumented and queer to anti-gay violence to safe spaces for youth in the LGBTQIA community.  Next year, AFYT will tackle another pressing issue in the queer community.

About Face Theatre (Andrew Volkoff, Artistic Director) 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.

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Tuesday, July 8, 10:55 PM written by AFT Theatre

AFT Goes to Broadway – Contribute to this exciting campaign!


About Face Theatre is growing!

We’ve moved to the corner of Broadway and Berwyn and our new Edgewater home will offer nearly 7,000 square feet of offices, classrooms and rentable rehearsal spaces. Our new facility will serve as an exciting hub of creative activity for Chicago’s artistic community. It will also allow us to expand our nationally recognized youth and outreach programs, as well as continue to develop and produce the award-winning LGBTQIA theatre for which AFT is known. We couldn’t be more excited! But we need your help…

Visit our “AFT Goes to Broadway” campaign page for full details on how you can support our programming, outreach and new space. Read more