FAT B*TCH! Opens 11/19 At Chicago Center for the Performing Arts
Erica Watson - "big, bold and beautiful" actor, comedian, director and commentator for the Oxygen Network and BET - returns to her hometown Chicago with the solo show "Fat Bitch!" This five-night only run is a funny yet thought-provoking look at how society's obsession with weight, race and class have formed the way the world views her shape, and includes her interactions with men, from the boardroom to the bedroom. Written and performed by Watson as a hybrid of theatre and stand-up, "Fat Bitch!" explores how black women and their bodies have always been subjected to admiration and ridicule, and shares images of "Mammy" and "Hottentot Venus."
The production runs about 90 minutes without intermission, and is for ages 18 and up (some limited profanity in show).
Through personal vignettes, anecdotes and video clips, "Fat Bitch!" also offers a humorous and honest glimpse at the American "fat and sassy" black woman stereotype. How these media images have impacted Watson's self-esteem are covered - from PETA's recent "Save the Whales" billboard campaign aimed at overweight women, to the current national "war on obesity" and the recent controversy surrounding President Obama's nomination of a plus-sized black woman for Surgeon General. Watson is a Columbia College Chicago graduate, with a BA in Film and TV (1998), and a MA in Media Management (2005).
Influenced by the quick wit of Whoopi Goldberg, the blunt comedic observations of Wanda Sykes, and the larger-than-life confidence of Mo'Nique, Watson (who is in the upcoming film "Precious" with Mo'Nique, as well as 2006's "Dirty Laundry" with Loretta Devine) creates a universal point of view yet offers a new voice in comedy. "Fat Bitch!" has been workshopped at New York's "The Tank;" first during the Black Comedy Experiment in March 2008, then in May 2009, and a pre-Chicago run from October 7-10, 2009.
"Fat Bitch!" is being produced by NBA champion, Charlotte Bobcats Center, and Chicago native Nazr Mohammed, who Watson has known since elementary school, when they lived next door in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood (blocks from President Obama's house). Autographed sports memorabilia from Mohammed (to be announced later; likely to include apparel and Bulls/Bobcats tickets) will be raffled off at each of the five "Fat Bitch!" shows to benefit organizations dealing with young people and self-esteem. Detailed bios are below.
Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green St., Chicago (handicapped access)
Some street parking one block west of Halsted (off Chicago Ave.)
$8 parking lot directly across Green Street next to Thalia restaurant
CTA Buses - #66 Chicago and #8 Halsted. CTA El - Red Line Chicago/State; Brown Line
Chicago/Franklin; Blue Line Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden
Opens Thursday, November 19, 2009, 8 p.m. (reception following)
Closes on Saturday, November 28, 2009
Five shows only - 8 p.m. on November 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28
TICKETS: 312-733-6000, CCPA Box Office (open 12 noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday - Friday, Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., and 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday)
$15 for all regular performances
$10 advanced tickets purchased online
$10 for students and seniors (with ID)
Born and raised in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, with a BA and MA from Columbia College Chicago, Erica Watson is an actor, stand-up comedian at clubs around the country, and film/television director. She is a St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School alum (where Bryant Gumbel and Steve Allen attended), as well as with The Chicago Children's Choir and The Merit School of Music. In 2009, she will appear in the Oprah Winfrey/Lee Daniels film "Precious," following starring in the feature film "Dirty Laundry." Watson is currently featured in two Gracie Award-winning commercials that she wrote for the Oxygen Network called "Tresstify" and "Kiss & Tell;" as well as gigs with MSG-TV. She has also been featured on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," and was a commentator and pundit for five Black Entertainment (BET) specials, including "They Like Me: BET Awards Nominee Special" and "Top 12 BET Award Show Moments" (both in June 2009); "Countdown to 2009: BET Year in Review" (December 2008); "I Wanna Thank My Momma: BET Awards Nominee Special" (June 2008); "The Evolution of Mary J. Blige" (March 2008); and "The Evolution of Jay-Z" (April 2008). Additionally, Watson is a recurring politics and pop culture panelist on the BETJ talk show "My Two Cents;" and director of the reality TV Series "My Model Looks Better Than Your Model" on the BETJ Network.
Producer Nazr Mohammed, a Chicago native, developed his basketball talent at Kenwood Academy, and is an 11-year NBA veteran. Currently, he is a center with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, and was a member of the 2005 NBA World Champion San Antonio Spurs. He has also played with the Philadelphia 76er's, Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Detroit Pistons. He went on to play with the University of Kentucky's 1996 and 1998 championship teams, before becoming a first round draft pick in 1998.
INFO: Erica Watson, www.ericawatson.com