Tag: Patricia Kane

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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Tuesday, August 18, 4:47 PM written by About Face Theatre

AFT Looks Back: PULP (2004 and 2007)

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 had the great pleasure to speak with Patricia Kane about becoming a playwright with support from AFT and created her wildly successful show, PULP. 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!

pulp2In 2001, About Face Theatre developed and produced Patricia Kane’s play, an adaptation of the novel SEVEN MOVES, the first play Kane had ever written. During a post-show talkback, AFT Founder Eric Rosen made a remark that would change how Kane viewed herself as an artist. “Eric said something like, ‘I love this production, but the parts of the play I like the best are the parts that came from Pat.’ It took me aback. I had never considered myself a playwright. That put the idea in my head.”

Pulp_PatKane2Not long after, Kane was in a bookstore and came across a book of lesbian pulp fiction cover images. She took the book home and her wheels began to turn. When an AFT artistic meeting turned to a need to put more “L” in their LGBT, the discussion of creating a play inspired by lesbian pulp fiction took hold. The seed for PULP was officially planted.

“One of the big things I wanted to accomplish with PULP was to twist that genre and making it affirming,” says Kane. And PULP did just that. The play turns the genre on its ear resulting in a tremendously fun love story with tons of heart. Kane also notes, “I also wanted to let people know that lesbians can be funny! Crazy, I know!”

PULP enjoyed two wildly successful runs with AFT, one in 2004 and the other in 2007 when Kane played a role in the show herself. When asked if this huge success opened doors for her as a lesbian playwright, Kane’s earnest response is, “Actually, it closed them.” While the play went on to have various productions across the country, no one would publish it. “My agent would try to get it in certain theaters and was told, ‘It’s a play about lesbians, we won’t do it.’”

Copy-of-Pulp-6---photo-by-Michael-BrosilowKane’s experience is a reminder of how far we’ve come, and also the work we still have to do. “One of the wonderful things about going to see PULP was seeing audience members from every walk of life,” remarks Kane. “We as gay folks have been going to see straight plays for…forever. And just the recognition that our stories are also pertinent to the straight world and that we can learn from each other…it’s a hard door to crack open, but it’s starting to,” remarks Kane.

Work like Kane’s is what AFT strives to accomplish. New work, developed with support of the company, that tells universal stories and helps to keep pushing that door open. Reflecting our lives on stage reflects the human condition, and every artist like Kane who puts their view of the world on stage contributes to helping more people understand that too.


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

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