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Chicago Debuts of YANK! and PERFECT ARRANGEMENT Highlight Pride Films and Plays' 2017-18 Season

Pride Films and Plays' 2017-18 season - its first full season in residence at the Pride Arts Center - will bring Chicago its first look at three plays that examine gay and lesbian lives in earlier decades of the 20th Century, according to Executive Director David Zak and Artistic Director Nelson Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says, "As human rights in our country face an unsure future, Pride Films & Plays' next season finds inspiration in stories from our history in which the LGBTQ+ community braved adversity, rebelled against laws and doctrines, and dissented from those in their personal and professional lives in order to carve the fragile place in society which we have today."

Zak adds, "We are excited to present this first full season in our new home, and thus will be aligning subsequent seasonal selections with our fiscal year, which ends June 30. The previously announced THE NANCE, Douglas Carter Beane's 2013 Broadway play about a gay burlesque performer in 1930s New York City, will open the season on July 6 and will be included in 2017-18 subscriptions.

THE NANCE will be followed in September by the Chicago premiere of PERFECT ARRANGEMENT, a comedy by Topher Payne, author of ANGRY FAGS, which Pride Films and Plays presented as part of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep in 2015. PERFECT ARRANGEMENT is a comedy set in 1950 in which a gay man and a lesbian, co-workers at the State Department, marry each other's partners to avoid detection of their sexual orientation by the Department. The tension builds when the secretly gay employees are charged with uncovering sexual deviants among their ranks. PERFECT ARRANGEMENT will be performed in The Buena, the Pride Arts Center's 50-seat theatre at 4147 N. Broadway. Press opening will be Monday, September 26.

The season will continue with the Chicago premiere of YANK! A WWII Love Story. YANK! is the story of a midwestern boy who joins the Army during World War II, falls in love with another soldier and is introduced to the gay underground of the Armed Services through a journalist for the Army magazine YANK. The musical, a product of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, gained critical attention, awards nominations and a loyal audience in its 2010 production by the off-Broadway York Theatre Company. Though a planned Broadway production never happened, YANK! has been produced on three continents, and a production is set to open at the Charing Cross Theatre in London's West End on July 3, 2017. Seven-time Jeff Award-winner David Zak will direct Pride Films and Plays' production of the musical, with Robert Ollis providing musical direction. YANK! will be staged in the Pride Arts Center's 85-seat Broadway stage, at 4139 N. Broadway. It will open to the press on January 18, 2018.

These three Chicago premieres of important work will be followed in spring with a world premiere, and several developmental projects that have long been associated with Pride Films and Plays.

(Previously announced)
By Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by John Nasca
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
June 29 - July 23, 2017
PRESS OPENING - Thursday, July 6, 2017, 7:30 PM
Industry Night - Wednesday, July 19 - 7:30 pm
Pride Arts Center - The Broadway
4139 N. Broadway

Douglas Carter Beane's The Nance recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque's heyday and tells the backstage story of Chauncey Miles and his fellow performers. Chauncey's uproarious antics on the stage at a time when it is easy to play gay stand in marked contrast to his offstage life. The New York Times called The Nance "A heartfelt new play set in the twilight of burlesque." It ran on Broadway in 2013 starring Nathan Lane and was nominated for five Tony Awards, winning two.

Previews Thursday, June 29, Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, July 2 at 3:00 pm. Preview tickets are $25.
Regular run performances Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM
Tickets are $40 for reserved seats, $30 general admission. There are discounts for students and seniors.

By Topher Payne
Directed by Derek Van Barham
September 22 - October 23, 2017
Previews Thursday - Saturday September 22 - 24 at 7:30 pm, Sunday September 25 at 3:30 pm. Preview seats are $20.
PRESS OPENING - Monday, September 26, 2017 - 7:30 pm
Regular performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm, Wednesday October 19 at 7:30 pm
The Buena, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago

It's 1950, and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. There's just one problem: Both Bob and Norma are gay, and have married each other's partners as a carefully constructed cover. Inspired by the true story of the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap classic sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two "All-American" couples are forced to stare down the closet door.

Tickets are $25 for reserved seats, $20 general admission. There are discounts for students and seniors.

Book and Lyrics by David Zellnik, Music by Joseph Zellnik
Directed by David Zak
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
January 13 - February 18, 2018
Previews Saturday, January 13 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, January 14 at 3:30 pm, Wednesday January 17 at 7:30 pm Preview tickets are $25.
PRESS OPENING - Thursday, January 18 at 7:30 pm
Regular performances Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm, Wednesdays February 7 and 14 at 7:30 pm.
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center
4139 N. Broadway
Tickets are $40 for reserved seats, $30 general admission. There are discounts for students and seniors.

YANK!, originally produced off-Broadway in 2010, is a love song to Hollywood's "it takes one of every kind" platoon flicks and to 1940s Broadway. Suffused with songs (swing, big band, boogie-woogie), it explores what stories get told in wartime, and how WWII became the great catalyst in bringing gay men and women together. It's the story of Stu, a scared Midwestern kid who gets drafted in 1943, and who - like most guys - spends Basic Training wrestling with fears of whether he "has what it takes" to make it in the Army. But unlike most guys, Stu also falls in love with a fellow Private, a handsome All-American guy named Mitch. When Stu strikes a friendship with Artie - an unapologetically queer reporter for Yank Magazine, Artie shows Stu a glimpse of the gay world that thrived just beneath the surface of the US Army in the 1940.

March - April, 2018
Pride Arts Center - The Buena
4147 N. Broadway

A world premiere production will be staged in The Buena at 4147 N. Broadway.
Tickets are $25 for reserved seats, $20 general admission. There are discounts for students and seniors.

Four-show "Pride Pass" subscriptions, including one reserved seat to any performance of each of the four shows, are available for $100.00. Additional Pride Pass benefits include discounted ticket prices for friends, invitations to special events, and free film fests and readings. Preview Subscriptions - good for one reserved seat to preview performances of each of the four shows - are $75.00. We are also excited to offer a new $35 "Crash Pass" for audience members 30 or younger, which provides one general admission ticket to each of our four shows. New this season is the Pride Arts Center All Access Pass - $25 per month for any show in the building (except benefit performances). Details are online. Subscriptions are on sale now at


Douglas Carter Beane (playwright, THE NANCE) has written the screenplays for TO Wong Foo, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, Julie Newmar; ADVICE FROM A CATERPILLAR (Best Film, Aspen Comedy Festival, Best Feature, Toyota Comedy Festival) and SKINNER'S EDDY. His plays include AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN (Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Playwriting Award, Drama Desk Best Play Nomination); THE COUNTRY CLUB (LA Times Critics' Choice & Dramalogue Awards); MUSIC FROM A SPARKLING PLANET; ADVICE FROM A CATERPILLAR (Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination); WHITE LIES; DEVIL MAY CARE and OLD MONEY. His new musical, THE BIG TIME (with music and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen) was produced by Drama Dept. THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED which transferred from Second Stage Theatre was his Broadway debut. Beane wrote the book for XANADU, a stage musical adaptation of the 1980 film of the same name, adding new plot twists and humor parodying the original movie. Beane won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. In 2011, Beane was hired to 'doctor' the book for the musical SISTER ACT alongside Bill and Cheri Steinkellner for which he was nominated for a Tony. Beane wrote the book of the Broadway Musical LYSISTRATA JONES and rewrote the book for a new adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's CINDERELLA.

Topher Payne (playwright, PERFECT ARRANGEMENT) In 2014, The American Theatre Critics Association awarded Topher Payne's play PERFECT ARRANGEMENT the M. Elizabeth Osborn Prize for Best Play by An Emerging Playwright. The play went on to be produced Off-Broadway in 2015 by Primary Stages and MARS Theatricals. His other works for the stage include EVELYN IN PURGATORY, SWELL PARTY, THE ONLY LIGHT IN RENO, AND ANGRY FAGS (produced by Pride Films and Plays in 2015 for Steppenwolf's Garage Rep). In 2016, he scripted two films for The Hallmark Channel, MY SUMMER PRINCE and BROADCASTING CHRISTMAS. Topher is a two-time winner of The Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award. He has been named Atlanta's Best Local Playwright by readers of Creative Loafing six times, and received the 2016 Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding World Premiere for the holiday comedy LET NOTHING YOU DISMAY.

David Zellnik (bookwriter/lyricist, YANK!) David's numerous plays include: SERENDIB (The Hippodrome 2011; Off-Broadway Ensemble Studio Theatre 2008, created with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation who sent him for 2 months to Sri Lanka to observe the scientists studying macaques in Polonnaruwa); ARIEL SHARON STANDS AT THE TEMPLE MOUNT AN DREAMS OF THEODORE HERZL (Epic Theatre Ensemble, Theatre J); LET A HUNDRED FLOWERS BLOOM (OOBR Award winner for Best Play, seen in London and NYC; t.b.perf in Portland at the Defunkt Theatre Company, Feb 2014); as well as the one-acts FOR ELISE, IDEOGRAM and KILLING HAND were all in various Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathons. Recently 3 of his one act plays were performed in Italian in Milan (2012). Blue Coyote Theatre Company has commissioned a new full length titled HUNTERS AND THIEVES.

Joseph Zellnik (composer, YANK!) Joseph's solo work includes two dance pieces for the Chase Brock Experience, incidental music/songs for THE TEMPEST at NYU, and - as composer/lyricist - the musical THE UNCROWNED QUEEN OF IRELAND and various songs for cabaret performers. Joseph was the first recipient of the Rosetti Grant, which resulted in the musical TRUST ME and has been a member of the BMI Workshop and the Nautilus Librettist Workshop at New Dramatists. An evening of his solo work was featured as part of the Songbook Series at the Donnell Library. Joe received a BA in Music from Duke University, where he was the recipient of the Mary Duke Biddle Composition Scholarship, and the Henry Schumann Award for Composition in 1991.

John Nasca (director, THE NANCE) is an Artistic Associate of PFP and co-founder and Artistic Director of Glitterati Productions. His directing credits include GYPSY, MR. SHAW GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, BEAUTIFUL THING, THE RITZ, THE GLASS PROTEGE, HEAVENLY EVENING and MOON OVER BUFFALO. He has been nominated 6 times for a Jeff Award and won the last two years in a row for his costumes for PFP's PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT and DESIGN FOR LIVING. He is also the proud recipient of an After Dark Award and three Broadway World Awards. His costume work includes PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE BOY FROM OZ, VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM, ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, NOISES OFF, METROPOLIS, PHANTOM, DIE! MOMMIE, DIE!, POSEIDON: AN UPSIDE-DOWN MUSICAL, FOLLIES, GUYS AND DOLLS, CHICAGO, ME AND MY GAL, THE LITTLE FOXES, RIGALETTO, THE GREAT WHITE HOPE, TINTYPES, THE WOMEN, ON THE WATERFRONT and Something's Afoot.

Derek Van Barham (director, PERFECT ARRANGEMENT) is an Artistic Associate with Pride Films & Plays and a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. PFP credits include ANGRY FAGS (Steppenwolf Garage), BITE and KILL YOUR BOYFRIENDS (original pieces), SOME MEN (with David Zak), and SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED (Jeff nomination). Chicago credits include FROM THESE FATAL LOINS (The Ruckus), MIRACLE! and SKOOBY DON'T (Hell in a Handbag), and TRASH (New American Folk Theatre).

David Zak (director, YANK!) has won seven Jeff Awards in Chicago, including four for Directing (ANIMAL FARM, DR. SEX, PARADE, POPE JOAN), two for writing (THE HIROSHIMA PROJECT, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO) and a special Jeff for "Fostering Diversity in Chicago Theater." In his 27 year stint as Artistic Director of Bailiwick Repertory, he directed the world premiere production of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER, the US premieres of Sir Peter Hall's ANIMAL FARM and Jerry Springer - THE OPERA, and many original works including the political dramas THE HIROSHIMA PROJECT and SIN: A CARDINAL DEPOSED. He has directed in London (THE IRISH CURSE), Seoul (DOLLHOUSE, FANTA STICK, THE GHOST'S COOKBOOK), Dublin (OH, HOLY ALLEN GINSBERG, AT THE FLASH), Boston (SIN: A CARDINAL DEPOSED), Los Angeles (DR. SEX, AT THE FLASH) and New York (MARLOWE AND POSEIDON: AN UPSIDE DOWN MUSICAL). His productions of the American Premieres of Jerry Springer - THE OPERA and Sir Peter Hall's ANIMAL FARM won Jeff Awards for Best Musical, as did his productions of PARADE, POPE JOAN, and Dennis DeYoung's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.

Robert Ollis (Music Director, THE NANCE, YANK!) is an Artistic Associate of Pride Films & Plays and served as Music Director for PFP's productions of THE BOY FROM OZ, SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED, A HISTORY OF SUMMER and THE BOOK OF MERMAN, plus the premiere of Leo Schwartz's award-winning UNDER A RAINBOW FLAG. He recently served as Co-Music Director for Underscore Theatre's new musical HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST'S SONGBOOK. Robert received a Jeff Award for musical direction of KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. Robert is the music director and co-creator of JUDY AND LIZA: THE LONDON PALLADIUM CONCERT - A TRIBUTE, and accompanies other notable cabaret performers in New York City and Chicago venues.


Pride Films and Plays changes lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a four-play season of full productions, shoot one short film each year, and continue our famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center.

Pride Arts Center, in its own right, produces events complimenting the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions, or feature National Treasures like Charles Busch. PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway. PAC is also the home of Red Tape Theater.

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.

For more information, visit or call 1.800.737.0984.

Pictured: This year's European premiere of YANK! at Hope Mill Theatre. Photo by Anthony Robling.

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