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About Face Theatre Announces Remainder Of 2019-20 Season

About Face Theatre Announces Remainder Of 2019-20 Season

About Face Theatre's 2019-20 season will feature three hyper-intimate main stage productions that reveal the history and diversity of the LGBTQ community in new ways. The season will feature three Chicago-premiere productions, a new initiative from About Face's groundbreaking Youth Task Force, and a regional touring production designed to spark dialogue about gender and sexuality.

The mainstage productions will explore LGBTQ experiences through the perspectives of members of three different segments of the community - a gay man, a lesbian couple, and a group of twenty-something queer friends. Taken as a whole, the range of perspectives offered in the season highlight the challenges shared across generations of the LGBTQ community.

As previously announced, About Face Theatre's 24thseason kicks off this fall in October with Scott Bradley's solo show PACKING, directed by Victory Gardens Theater Artistic Director Chay Yew. PACKING follows one Midwestern artist's personal journey of self-discovery as it intersects with the past half-century of queer history. The season continues in January 2020 with Audrey Cefaly's THE GULF, directed by AFT Artistic Director Megan Carney. THE GULF is an intimate drama in which a lesbian couple tests the bonds of their relationship while boat fishing in the American South. The mainstage season concludes in May and June 2020 with LACED by Samantha Mueller, directed by Lexi Saunders, which tells the frighteningly contemporary story of how an LGBTQ community comes together after its local hangout is vandalized. All three mainstage productions will be performed at Theatre Wit, 1227 W. Belmont Ave.

"As one of the country's few LGBTQ theatres, we have an important role to play as storytellers and innovators," says Artistic Director Megan Carney. "For our 24thseason, we're continuing to showcase the wide range of voices within our community, both locally and nationally. Between our innovative mainstage shows and our phenomenal education and outreach programming, we are amplifying the voices of seasoned artists alongside those of emerging leaders. I look forward to sharing these remarkable stories in the year ahead."

Additionally, About Face Youth Theatre's KINSHIP and POWER IN PRIDE will return to highlight the voices of up-and-coming LGBTQ leaders as they tell their own stories and help others find their voices in order to build a strong tomorrow for everyone in the queer community.

About Face Theatre's On Demand Memberships are currently available at AboutFaceTheatre.com. On Demand Membership is a membership program of flexible, year-round tickets and events. Single tickets for PACKING are currently on sale at AboutFaceTheatre.com or the Theater Wit box office. Tickets for other shows and programming will go on sale at a later date.

PACKING
World Premiere
Written and performed by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Bradley
Directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Chay Yew
October 31 - December 7, 2019 | Press opening: November 7, 2019
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago

Half of discovering who you are is finding where you belong. PACKING, a solo performance from writer/performer Scott Bradley (WE THREE LIZAS, Scooty & Jojo's ALIEN QUEEN and CARPENTERS HALLOWEEN), is the tale of a genderqueer vagabond leaving small-town boyhood on an Iowa farm in the 1960s and '70s on a three-decade long odyssey through England, New York City, and Chicago. His journey of reinvention captures a snapshot of recent history through personal accounts of assaults, addictions, the plague years of the AIDS crisis, and the fight for marriage equality. Combining personal memoir, historical record, popular music, and ancestral frontier stories, Bradley's story illuminates the deeply personal LGBTQ struggles too-often erased from U.S. history.

"I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Scott Bradley on his powerful play," says Director Chay Yew."This deeply personal autobiography about survival, addiction, family and the search for self, courses through the milestones of gay history of the last fifty years. Throughout his harrowing journey, Scott courageously bares his soul to us through humor, brutal honesty and poetry. What emerges is an American portrait of an incredible man who is willing to risk it all to find a place called home."

THE GULF
Chicago Premiere
Written by Audrey Cefaly
Directed by AFT Artistic Director Megan Carney
Featuring AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins
January 9 - February 15, 2020 | Press opening January 16, 2020
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago

In the middle of a river and long past the middle of their relationship, Kendra and Betty are questioning where their life together will go next. On a muggy summer evening somewhere down in the Alabama Delta, the two women troll the flats looking for redfish. As passions and tensions flare over past infidelities, life-choices, and job struggles, the couple must confront what it takes to overcome the space between them. THE GULF won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Drama, the David Calicchio American Playwright Prize, and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival.

"THE GULF is both funny and deeply vulnerable as it explores connecting across differences and what gets shaken up in the pursuit of a bigger life," says director Megan Carney. "There's something truly compelling and even scary about those moments when we find the courage to speak the truth, especially when it puts everything we know and love at risk. These two women, both lovers and fighters, are doing just that. And the results are breathtaking."

LACED
World Premiere
Written by Samantha Mueller
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Lexi Saunders
May 13 - June 13, 2020 | Press Opening May 21, 2020
at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago

The night after a queer bar outside of Tampa, Florida, is vandalized, three twenty-something bartenders gather to grieve, riot, and above all, piece together the events of the night before. But as these three friends process the violation of their space, they must decide if it is healthier to understand what happened or to just clean up and move on. Fiery, poetic, and up-to-the-minute contemporary, LACED ferociously celebrates the spaces in which we find our truest selves and the spectrum of ways the LGBTQ community comes together in the face of hate.

"What struck me most about this play are these unapologetically queer femme identities we hardly ever get to see onstage," says director Lexi Saunders. "Sam Mueller has crafted a world full of laughter, heart, and muscle in the midst of absolute ruin. LACED is a poetic ode to Stonewall, to Pulse, to Berlin, to the places we make home and the strangers we call family. In a landscape that wants to only further politicize and vandalize our bodies, our love, our spaces - how can we keep ourselves and each other safe?"

KINSHIP: AN ALL-AGES QUEER VARIETY SHOW
Curated by Youth Task Force Members Angelica Grace, Micah Manternach, and Sharon Pasia
Dates and venue TBD

Centering on the voices of LGBTQ youth of color, KINSHIP is an all-ages queer variety show series that brings emerging artists center stage. Curated through a partnership between rising LGBTQ community leaders and the artistic staff at About Face Theatre, KINSHIP invites brave acts of storytelling, drag, and music, and connects LGBTQ people and their allies throughout the city. Five KINSHIP events will take place in the 2019-season.

POWER IN PRIDE
An Original Touring Performance and Civic Dialogue Program
Developed by the AFT Outreach cast including AimyTien, Dionne Addai,
and Youth Task Force Member Angelíca Grace
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Lexi Saunders
Touring production, dates, and venues TBD

POWER IN PRIDE uses humorous and brave stories about gender and sexuality to spark conversations with middle and high school students, educators, church groups, workplaces, and community members of all ages. Based in true experiences of building chosen family, maintaining self-care, being a strong ally, and finding personal joy, POWER IN PRIDE meets audiences where they are to build understanding about gender and sexuality and take conversations to the next level. This touring show will be performed at approximately 20 venues around the Chicagoland region, reaching approximately 5000 people during the season.



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