Pride Films and Plays Presents Five Decades of Great Gay Theatre 5/9-6/13

Pride Films and Plays, a new not-for-profit, is proud to announce its inaugural activities as an organization. The first two events scheduled are Five Decades of Great Gay Theater, May 9 - June 13, a series of staged reading of great gay plays, Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 West Belmont*, and the Great Gay Screenplay Contest, held in conjunction with Chicago Filmmakers. The contest seeks new screenplays dealing with gay history, characters or themes and relevant to the world. The semi-finalists will be read this fall during Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival.

All tickets for the Five Decades of Great Gay Theatre and the readings of the Great Gay Screenplay Contest Semi-Finalists are $10, and may be reserved by calling 773.250.3112 or 1.800.838.3006. Tickets may also be purchased at

David Zak, executive director, says "Pride Films and Plays will educate the writers and the public on the great body of work that already exists in gay theatre and film and inspire the writers to contribute to the next generation of great gay writing." Pride Films and Plays presents a brief summary of this history in Five Decades of Great Gay Plays as staged readings to play this May and June at the Theatre Building Chicago*. The series includes from the 1960's Mart Crowley's The Boys In the Band, Sunday, May 9 at 7 p.m., directed by Michael Lasswell and hosted by Dean Richards of WGN TV and radio; from the 1970's Lanford Wilson's The Fifth of July, Sunday, May 16 at 7 p.m., directed by Patrick Walsh and hosted by Misha Davenport of the Chicago Sun-Times; from the 1980's William M. Hoffman's As Is, Sunday, May 23 at 7 p.m., directed by Steve Scott and hosted by Alexandra Silets of WTTW Television; from the 1990's Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing*, Sunday, June 6, directed by John Nasca and hosted by Tom Chiola, retired judge and from the first decade of the 21st century, Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg, Sunday, June 23 at 7 p.m., directed by David Zak.


May 9 - June 13

Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 West Belmont

All tickets $10

THE BOYS IN THE BAND by Mart Crowley (1968)

Sunday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Directed by Michael Lasswell
Hosted by Dean Richards, WGN TV & Radio

Mart Crowley's first play, THE BOYS IN THE BAND, is considered to be a groundbreaking work in American theater, the first truly honest portrayal of the
lives of contemporary homosexuals. It opened in New York April 14, 1968, at the off-Broadway Theater Four and ran for 1,002 performances before being adapted to a successful motion picture. THE BOYS IN THE BAND follows nine friends who converge for a birthday party and as liquor is consumed the friends begin to reveal too much about themselves and the other partygoers changing their relationships forever.

Michael Lasswell has won numerous awards for his work in regional theaters from Florida to Oregon; this reading marks his Chicago Debut as a Director. His recent work includes Gross Indecency, As Bees in Honey Drown, Mass Appeal, Honey in the Horn, Thirty-Seven Postcards and six different productions of Travel's With My Aunt.

FIFTH OF JULY by Lanford Wilson (1978)
Sunday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Directed by Patrick Walsh
Hosted by Misha Davenport, Chicago Sun-Times

FIFTH OF JULY broke theatrical ground through the character of Kenneth Talley, Jr. a gay, paraplegic, Vietnam veteran living in his childhood home with his boyfriend, botanist Jed Jenkins. Set in rural Missouri in 1977, the story revolves around the Talley family and their friends, focusing on the disillusionment with America in the wake of the Vietnam Conflict.

Patrick Walsh has assisted on many productions in Chicago, including High Holidays at the Goodman, Dying City at Next Theater and Haram Iran at the Athenaeum Theatre Complex.

AS IS by William M Hoffman (1985)
Sunday, May 23 at 7 p.m.
Directed Steve Scott
Hosted by Alexandra Silets, WTTW Television

AS IS is one of the first mainstream plays to theatrically explore the impact of AIDS had on our contemporary world. The story introduces the audience to Saul and his circle of friends, who are dealing with a new pandemic beyond their comprehension with humor, style and grace.

Steve Scott is artistic associate of the Goodman Theater, and directs frequently at Eclipse, Shattered Globe, and many other theaters.

BEAUTIFUL THING by Jonathan Harvey (1993)*
Sunday, June 6 at 7 p.m.
Directed by John Nasca
Hosted by retired judge Tom Chiola

In this touching coming-of-age drama, BEAUTIFUL THING tells the story of the emerging relationship between a pair of teenage boys growing up in a working-class neighborhood and the repercussions it has on family and friends. In this simply told and bold story, sides are chosen, voices are raised and hearts are broken.

John Nasca's directing credits include Gypsy, No, No, Nanette and Moon Over Buffalo John is also a three-time Jeff recommended costumer for Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Anyone Can Whistle and Die! Mommie, Die.

*Please note this reading only is at Theatre Wit, 1229 West Belmont, Chicago.

TAKE ME OUT (2003) by Richard Greenberg
Sunday. June 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Director David Zak

TAKE ME OUT, a Broadway hit, explores with wit and compassion what might happen if a player on a major league baseball team were to announce that he is gay. Darren Lemming is the ideal player on the ideal team, leading them to two consecutive World's Series titles, until the day he decides to announce his sexual orientation to his team.

David Zak has won many Jeff Awards for Directing, and was artistic director of Bailiwick Repertory from 1982 - 2009.

Competition is held May 1 through August 1, 2010

Pride Films and Plays will be accepting entries for the Great Gay Screenplay Contest beginning May 1, 2010. The five winning finalists will be read during the Reeling 2010. The Great Gay Screenplay Contest fosters excellence in screenwriting by seeking new screenplays that feature gay characters, history or themes important to the gay community and relevant to the world. Submission deadline is August 1, 2010. Fifteen semifinalists will be chosen by a reading committee, and then forwarded to a final executive committee that includes Bruce Vilanch, David Drake, Billy Masters, Chicago journalist Richard Knight and stage and film professionals from around the country. This executive committee will select five finalists by September 1, 2010 and those selected scripts will be performed as staged readings November 13 during Reeling 2010 in Chicago. From those final five, both a Juried Winner and a "People's Choice Winner" will be chosen. Entries should be sent to:


3023 N. Clark


Chicago, IL 60657.

For further contest rules and regulations visit

Pride Films and Plays is a New Group dedicated to comprehending the history of great gay writing and fostering its excellence in new works for the stage and screen. Pride Films and Plays believes by linking a national network of writers with working professionals in those fields a higher quality product will be created by the writers.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by Shout Marketing & Media Services and Chicago Filmmakers.


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