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PrideArts Presents WHAT'S THE TEA, CIS? to Showcase Trans Pioneers and Local Trans Artists

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WHAT’S THE TEA, CIS? is being presented to mark Trans Awareness Month this November.

PrideArts Presents WHAT'S THE TEA, CIS? to Showcase Trans Pioneers and Local Trans Artists

In celebration of Trans Awareness Month this November, PrideArts will honor transgender pioneers and showcase ten Chicago trans performers who are reshaping our history. Artistic Director Donterrio Johnson today announced the multi-platform educational and entertainment effort called, WHAT'S THE TEA, CIS?* Twice weekly, from November 3 through November 19, Chicago performer MJ Rawls will host a one-minute video on PrideArts' Instagram page (@PrideArtsChicago), providing historical profiles of trans pioneers such as Marsha P. Johnson, Jackie Shane, Miss Major Griffin, and Willmer "Little Ax" Broadnax. These segments will post on November 3, 5, 10, 12, 16 and 19. On Monday, November 30, PrideArts will stream on YouTube a Trans Showcase cabaret of performances from ten incredible Chicago trans performers. Acts will range from stand-up comedy to singers belting today's top radio hits. Cast to be announced. This will be a Pay-What-You-Can event, and tickets are available at A portion of the funds raised from this event will be donated to Brave Space Alliance a trans/non-binary organization here in Chicago.

Johnson says, "We are very excited to be bringing you all WHAT'S THE TEA, CIS? this November during Trans Awareness Month. I am also thrilled to be collaborating with MJ Rawls who's patiently guiding and educating me on this process. It's going to be fantastic, Let the education begin HENNY!"

*The phrase, "what's the tea?" means something like "what's the gossip?" or "what's the inside scoop?"


MJ is excited to collaborate with Pride Arts on this project! Chicago credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (MADAGASCAR; A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM), Mercury Theater (PIPPIN), MadKap Productions (MAN OF LA MANCHA), Kokandy Productions (THE WIZ). Regional credits include: Creede Repertory Theatre (PETER AND THE STARCATCHER; LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), Coachella Valley Repertory (CHESS THE MUSICAL).

She is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. She is represented by Big Mouth Talent. She is also a trans rights activist and hopes that this project expands the theatre community as a whole.


The second entry in the company's four - show virtual fall season called REIGNITE! will be the hilarious comedy BOX AND COX by John Maddison Morton. PrideArts Artistic Director Donterrio Johnson will direct a loosely staged production to be recorded live in the Pride Arts Center's Buena Theatre. The recorded performance will be presented online two nights only - on Thursdays, October 22 and 29, at 7:00 pm each night.

Following BOX & COX in the fall Virtual Season will be the two-character one-act comedy A PAIR OF LUNATICS, by W.R. Walkes. In A PAIR OF LUNATICS, which premiered in London in 1898, He and She meet for the first time in an asylum and each mistakes the other for an inmate. A PAIR OF LUNATICS will be streamed twice only - on Thursdays, November 19, and December 3; at 7:00 pm each evening.

The final play of the virtual fall season will be Anton Chekov's THE PROPOSAL, to be streamed twice only - on Thursday, December 17 and Wednesday, December 30; at 7:00 pm each evening. In this one-act Chekov comedy, Ivan, an hypochondriac, has a proposal for Natalya the neighbor. That is, if they can ever agree on anything. Casts of A PAIR OF LUNATICS and THE PROPOSAL will be announced later.

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