About Face announces 2010-2011 Season, future plans

Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar Announces 15th Season


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Including Three World Premieres, New Artistic Associates, and XYZ Festival

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of About Face Theatre, it looks like Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar and new Executive Director Jason Held have upped the ante for the start of their next 15 years.  Included in the upcoming season is Float by Patricia Kane, Pony by Sally Oswald and The Homosexuals by Phillip Dawkins, are their second annual XYZ Festival of New Works





About Face is excited to roll out our 15th anniversary with a season that examines individuals at the precipice of change,” says Bonnie Metzgar. “As our organization and society at large both make pivotal choices, this season looks at the risks and exhilarating possibilities available to us in periods of transformation.


October 2010

XYZ Festival

The XYZ Festival will introduce Chicago audiences to the most innovative LGBTQA artists and artworks at all stages of development. Presented over the month of October, projects will include a workshop production of TINY ROOMS by Carson Kreitzer, and new works from AFT About Face Artistic Associates Tanya Saracho and Patrick Andrews, as well as a performance lounge series featuring AFT Artistic Associate Dan Stermer’s performance art/dance trio Double DJ, curated by AFT Marketing Director Jane Beachy. From the hundreds of scripts received for the XYZ Readings Series, four new plays by acclaimed emerging playwrights round out the festival.

XYZ Logo

November 11 – December 12


FLOAT, a new play written by About Face Theatre (AFT) Artistic Associate Patricia Kane and directed by 500 Clown founder Leslie Danzig with dramaturgy by Jessica Thebus. The all-female cast includes Wendy Robie, Adrianne Cury, Peggy Roeder, Rengin Altay and AFT Artistic Associate Amy Matheny. FLOAT will run from November 11 – December 12 at Theater Wit (1229 West Belmont).


April-May 2011 



In April/May, About Face Theatre will present the world premiere of PONY by Sally Oswald, a play inspired by Georg Büchner, at the Chopin Theatre. Directed by Bonnie Metzgar, PONY will be featured as part of The Woyzeck Project, a city-wide festival hosted by About Face Theatre, The Hypocrites, and Collaboraction in which artists around the city will produce hybrid works inspired by the classic anti-war play. Set near the location of the famous murder scene in Woyzeck, PONY is a tale of shifting gender roles and the dangers of obsessive love.


June/July 2011

The Homosexuals

About Face Theatre will conclude its season in June/July with The Homosexuals by Chicago playwright Phillip Dawkins, starring Patrick Andrews at Victory Gardens Studio. The Homosexuals presents the interwoven lives, friendships, and relationships among six homosexual men over six years. Set at present time in a Midwestern city, Dawkins’ comedic and heartbreaking work examines the fears, doubts, and hope among the gay community in a 21st century perspective on the queer classic, The Boys in the Band.

About Face Theatre’s 15th Anniversary Season exemplifies how far the LGBTQ community has come from being defined by one issue to being seen as complex. In our 15 years, AFT has given voice to that changing dialogue around issues facing the queer community. As we move forward, we understand the need to bring the conversation around sexuality and gender to all people,” says Executive Director Jason Held.




New Artistic Associates

About Face announces a new slate of active Artistic Associates. Led by a leadership team of Megan Carney, Amy Matheny, Scott Ferguson and Patricia Kane, the new slate includes actor/choreographer Patrick Andrews, performer Alexandra Billings, designer Geoffrey M. Curley, performer Scott Duff, performer Mitchell Fain, playwright Sarah Gubbins, performer Zavier Hairston, designer Andre Pluess, performer Ben Sprunger, director Dan Stermer, dramaturg Rebecca Rugg, playwright/performer Tanya Saracho, actor Kelli Simpkins, and actor/writer Paul Oakley Stovall.

Rebranding and Strategic Planning

Spearheaded by the Board of Directors, a year-long strategic planning and rebranding process will engage all constituents of the About Face community during the 15th Anniversary Season. About Face has been awarded grants by Prince Charitable Trust and the Kaplan Family Foundation to underwrite these activities.

Education Program Expansion

About Face Youth Theater has launched a new initiative called INTER-ACTION. The brainchild of Education Programs Director Sara Kerastas, this new addition to our touring menu is specifically designed as diversity training for faculty and staff to address schools where prejudiced language and violence toward LGBTQ students is prevalent. Particularly effective when integrated into faculty development days, INTER-ACTION increases the potential impact of About Face’s program by extending our reach into the adult culture of participating schools, and provides teaches much-needed training in the needs of LGBTQ youth.

More about FLOAT

Patricia Kane’s FLOAT received a workshop at last year’s XYZ Festival and is back in the headlining slot this year. About Face Theatre previously debuted Kane’s smash hit PULP in 2004 and remounted it in 2007. FLOAT, with a collaborative team of Jessica Thebus and Leslie Danzig, focuses on the bonds between five women in a small Midwestern town as they grapple with religion, identity, sexuality, each other, and the building of the holiday parade float. This production will run from November 11 – December 12 at Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont).

More about Chicago XYZ Festival of New Works

Workshop productions of TINY ROOMS by Carson Kreitzer, MALA HIERBA, written by Tanya Saracho and a dance/theater work from Patrick Andrews and Jesse Young will provide audiences the opportunity to encounter work that needs staging, movement or design in order to reach the final phases of development. TINY ROOMS features two Chicago socialite women at the turn of the 20th century whose obsession with building miniature spaces is comprised of tremendously different intention (one wants to bring beauty to the rest of the world and the other is reconstructing violent crime scenes for forensic research), but whose relegated roles within society share an undeniable rigidity. Patrick Andrews and Jesse Young’s piece, still in development, will feature a towering heap of Barbie dolls and examines the talismans that awaken human sexuality.

Two “performance lounges” will provide patrons with an exploratory adventure into new formats of performance melded with parties. Launching a series to last throughout the season for those theatergoers who wish to block off several dates throughout the year, then await an address and time for each adventure to begin, the XYZ performance lounges will be curated by Jane Beachy and will feature performance art dance trio Dan Stermer, Jessica Hudson and Donnell Williams, who are collectively called DoubleDJ.

Four bold new plays comprise the XYZ Reading Series, to take place on Sundays and Mondays throughout the month of October. THE TRUTH WILL OUT, a play by Chicago native Jordan Seavey, explores the media’s responsibility and role in the “mainstreaming” of homosexuality via the story of a closeted gay cable news journalist. BIRD IN HAND, written by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, who was recently the first Cuban-American playwright to be produced in Havana, deals with the connections between immigrant identity and sexual identity, particularly how characters are contested and hybrids of various identities. THE ARVESTO PARASITE by David Myers, whose work has yet to be presented in Chicago, challenges societal expectations of gender by using a hermaphrodite prostitute as the main character through a mix of comedy, heartbreak, and violence. A TWIST OF WATER, co-written and co-created by Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, is this year’s People’s Choice script, selected by an open reading and voting process. The play tells the story of a gay man and his daughter during the year following the death of his longtime partner. The play effectively challenges the idea of what makes a family, paralleling the narrative with a history of Chicago.

More about PONY

Pony, a transgendered man, moves to a poor remote town at the edge of a forest to start a new life. But when he falls for a woman obsessed with the town’s recent murder, he is suddenly all too close to the brutal violence that sets her imagination on fire. A response to the classic play WOYZECK by Büchner, PONY is a stark fable where class, gender, and violence intersect at the margins of society.

In PONY, playwright Sally Oswald chooses to people the stage with a vast horizon of gender identities in order to explore and explode one of the great tragic stage dramas of the 20th Century, WOYZECK by Georg Buchner. When Buchner died, he left the manuscript of WOYZECK unfinished, in fragments that were out of order. The version we have come to know as the classic play was pieced together by several editors and was first performed 75 years after his death. PONY is a new refraction of the play in the spirit of piecing together a new truth from shreds of the original.


Phillip Dawkins’ THE HOMOSEXUALS, starring AFT Artistic Associate Patrick Andrews, uniquely detangles the interwoven connections among six homosexual men. The play chronicles the story of Evan, a young gay man who moves to Chicago with nothing but the shirt on his back, and meets a kind man who invites him to a party his first night in town. The circle of men he meets that night have an impact on his life in ways he (nor we) would never imagine. Dawkins’ epic play is a portrait of the gay community, in all its entertaining splendor and cruel ugliness.


About Face Theatre is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity. Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 30 new plays by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.

Landmark world premieres include Doug Wright’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning I AM MY OWN WIFE; Moisés Kaufman’s production of Tennessee WilliamsONE ARM (a co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre and Tectonic Theatre Project); Mary Zimmerman’s M. PROUST and, with Lookingglass Theatre, the famed ELEVEN ROOMS OF PROUST; Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty’s LOVING REPEATING: A MUSICAL OF GERTRUDE STEIN (a co-production with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Original Cast Album recorded by Jay Records); the multi-award winning musical WINESBURG, OHIO by Eric Rosen, Andre Pluess, Ben Sussman and Jessica Thebus; and the cult hit PULP by Patricia Kane. Recent productions include STUPID KIDS, THE FLOWERS, WHAT ONCE WE FELT and SWEET TEA: BLACK GAY MEN OF THE SOUTH. In 2009 AFT launched another vehicle to support the development of new works with the launch of the Chicago XYZ New Works Series, a program designed to introduce Chicago audiences to artists taking risks at all stages of development.

In addition to its award-winning mainstage performances, About Face is known nationally for its groundbreaking Youth Theatre, which creates critically acclaimed new work by and about LGBTQ youth and their allies. The Youth Theatre has performed on major stages across the country, and, through its outreach tour, changes the lives of thousands of young people each year. Building on the success of the youth theatre model, About Face recently launched its corporate outreach program to provide diversity training and onsite workshops to the corporate community. About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country and around the world.

For ticket information, please visit www.AboutFaceTheatre.com.


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