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PrideArts Announces Four Additional Virtual Live Readings for January and February

Christopher Shinn’s OTHER PEOPLE, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s MARCUS, OR THE SECRET OF SWEET, world premiere SHUT UP KISS ME, and more.

PrideArts Announces Four Additional Virtual Live Readings for January and February

Pride Arts today announced four more titles and directors in its winter series of one-night only live virtual readings. Following the previously announced January 12 reading of Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT will be a reading of Christopher Shinn's OTHER PEOPLE, a comedy set around the holidays in New York City's East Village involving relationships past and present among four men and one woman. Chicago actor and director Tim Ashby will direct the reading, to be performed on Tuesday, January 19 at 7 pm. Cast to be announced shortly.

The final reading of January will be the January 26th 7 pm performance of Tarell Alvin McCraney's MARCUS; OR THE SECRET OF SWEET. The third of McCraney's trilogy THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS, MARCUS is the coming-of-age story of a young gay man in rural Louisiana shortly before Hurricane Katrina. Christian Helem, who recently directed Stage Left Theatre's virtual production of THE PROJECT(S), will direct a cast to be announced.

The series will continue in February with a world premiere reading of SHUT UP KISS ME - a love story by Chicago native Sophia Zinger set in the hours and days after the first date of two millennial/Gen Z women. Taking inspiration from Diana Son's STOP KISS, SHUT UP KISS ME further explores with heart and humor what it means to find one's self and heal from a past queer trauma within a budding relationship. SHUT UP KISS ME will be directed by Hannah Ottenfeld and will be performed Tuesday, February 9 at 7 pm. One week later, on Tuesday, February 16 at 7 pm, LESBIAN SHORTS, a program of short play readings directed by Amber Mandley, will be performed. That program will include the plays BEA AND MAY by Edwin Sánchez, THE CLARITY OF PIZZA by Carolyn Gage, and NOT IN OUR BACKYARD by Pete Blatchford.

The series will lead off with an adaptation of Shakespeare's gender-bending comedy TWELFTH NIGHT, on January 12, 2021, directed by Peter Vamvakas. A cast of seven will play all roles, providing the opportunity for intriguing double casting. Shakira Searle will play both twins separated by a shipwreck - Viola, who pretends to be a man after landing on the shore in the kingdom of Illyria; and her twin brother Sebastian, who is missing and presumed dead after the storm at sea. The cast also includes Tekeisha D. Yelton-Hunter, Maggie Clennon-Reberg, Thomas M. Shea, Myrrh Gobenciong, Alicia Berneche, and director Vamvakas.

Vamvakas says, "My approach to directing this adaptation of TWELFTH NIGHT is to ignore the pitfalls of gender specific casting and to cast based on talent alone. What makes TWELFTH NIGHT perfect for the Pride in Place series is it questions conventional ideas about gender and sexuality, portraying gender as performative and suggesting erotic possibilities between same-sex pairs."


By William Shakespeare
Directed by Peter Vamvakas
January 12, 2020 - 7:00 pm
Tickets $10.00, available at, or by phone at 773-857-0222

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