Tag: Scott Duff

Saturday, July 25, 4:08 PM written by About Face Theatre

AFT Looks Back: DREAM BOY (1996)

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 asked AFT Artistic Associate Scott Duff to reflect on his experience as a cast member of AFT’s very first show, DREAM BOY. Read on to learn more and stay tuned as we share AFT history every week throughout our 20th Anniversary campaign!


In the summer of 1996, About Face Theatre presented our fledgling play, DREAM BOY (also remounted in 1998.) The play was an adaptation of the book of the same name by Jim Grimsley who would become a long-time partner for About Face through NTARP (National Theater Artists in Residence Program). Grimsley also helped to develop the New Works festival that would support the creation of shows including PULP. AFT co-founders Eric Rosen and Kyle Hall combined the Northwestern University (and Chicago) tradition of adapting literature for the stage with their desire to tell more nuanced and complex stories from the LGBT community.

dreamboy-picsThe show played for 7 weeks at the Eclipse Theatre in Bucktown (which burned down shortly after the run), a tiny 40 seat theatre that cast member and AFT Artist Associate Scott Duff recalls didn’t even have a stage left entrance. Audiences reacted to the work as if “they’d never seen anything like that before,” explains Duff. And frankly, they hadn’t. About Face was the first theatre company to state outright the intent to tell gay stories right in the mission statement.

DREAM BOY received critical acclaim (which Duff remembers taking to Kinkos to have blown up and put on foam core to display in the windows of the tiny performance space.) With a wave of support from the LGBT press and community as well as the greater theater community, AFT took off and had a theatre in the Jane Addams Hull House within nine months.

“It was awesome. It felt like we were at the beginning of something really special. It felt scary and exciting and it just struck a chord. It was like the perfect storm. It was right before Ellen. LGBT issues were coming to the forefront. Visibility was a huge thing. Things were still crazy from the AIDS crisis and that really galvanized the community. And I think it was because of the AIDS crisis that people in Chicago wanted to see more than just the ‘naked plays.'” – Scott Duff

DREAM BOY was ambitious, gutsy and a bold step to represent serious and relevant LGBT issues on stage. It solidified the company’s unique voice in the Chicago theater community – a voice we’ve expanded, challenged and stood by the importance of now for 20 years. In honor of this milestone anniversary, we will be presenting 4 retrospective plays in our OUT FRONT series, including a reading of DREAM BOY! Join us this fall and help us to continue bringing you this groundbreaking work by helping us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by August 31st in support of 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, April 14, 4:39 PM written by AFT Theatre

OUT CHICAGO Interviews Brahman/i’s Fawzia Mirza


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Wednesday, October 16, 3:54 PM written by EmilyHaha

WE THREE LIZAS Tickets Are On Sale!

About Face Theatre Presents
The Return of the Hit Holiday Musical

Book & Lyrics by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Bradley
Music & Additional Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Ferguson
Choreography by Patrick Andrews
Musical Direction by Aaron Benham

November 27, 2013 – January 5, 2014 at Stage 773


She’s back!

Fresh from a concert at Joe’s Pub in New York City with a revamped book and expanded score, last year’s queer holiday hit WE THREE LIZAS is back… and better than ever!  Box maker Conrad Ticklebottom’s life has hit a stumbling 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.  It’s a darkly sparkly holiday musical spinning a tale of hope, transformation…and the power of Liza!

WE THREE LIZAS will feature many of the original cast members including Scott Duff*John Francisco*Sharriese Hamilton, Danielle Plisz (Jeff Award-nominated), Dana Tretta and Andrew Swan in addition to newcomers Mark David KaplanJames Nedrud and Bethany Thomas. Musicians include Aaron Benham (piano/conductor), Jed Feder (drums) and Debra Johnson (bass).  *Denotes AFT Artistic Associates.

The production team for WE THREE LIZAS includes: Jerre Dye (set design), Mieka van der Ploeg and Robert S. Kuhn (costume design), Mac Vaughey (lighting design), Josh Horvath (sound design), Eleanor Kahn (properties design), Davis McCarty (projections design) and Helen Lattyak (stage manager).

Location:  Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Previews: Wednesday, November 27 at 7:30 pm, Friday, November 29 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 30 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 1 at 3 pm
Press Opening:  Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 pm
Regular Run Friday, December 6th, 2013 – Sunday, January 5, 2014
Curtain Times:  Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm

Tickets:  Previews: $20 adults/$10 students. Regular run: $45 adults/$20 students. Group discounts available. Tickets are available online, in person at the Stage 773 Box Office (1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago) or by calling (773) 327-5252.  Additional processing fees apply for phone and internet orders.

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