Devoted to works representing the LGBT community, gender and sexual identity, the 14th season at About Face will include the "Chicago XYZ" developmental festival, which features the premiere of Bock's Flowers.
Also on the bill are E. Patrick Johnson's Sweet Tea and the About Face youth performance Queertopia. A new work by Ann Marie Healy is also in the works for the About Face season.
Trip Cullman will direct Bock's Flowers, which "tells of a theatre company in a small town whose work on stage dangerously bleeds into the real world. Hal and James have surrounded themselves with people that they love. What do we do when the family we create from our friends starts behaving like our actual family?" (Oct. 15-Nov. 8).
Additional "XYZ" works include Philadelphia's Pig Iron developmental reworking of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, under the direction of Dan Rothenberg (Oct. 3-4); and Holly Hughes and Megan Carney's Let Them Eat Cake, "an interactive project designed to further the public discourse about gay marriage." (Oct. 30-Nov. 1).
Ann Marie Healy's What Once We Felt, which was postponed last season due to financial difficulties at About Face, is currently being negotiated for an early 2010 run. The work is described as "a dystopian look at a futuristic society in which men have become extinct and natural selection has been sidelined by DNA 'downloading.'" E. Patrick Johnson's Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South will be presented in May 2010. A partnership with Jane Saks at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for Gender and Women in the Media at Columbia College, Sweet Tea is a stage adaptation of Johnson's acclaimed book based on interviews with over 70 black gay men, ranging in age from 19-93.
The final offering of the season will be the About Face Youth Theatre ensemble presentation of Queertopia. Paula Gilovich will stage the oral history comprising "collected stories of discrimination, violence and exclusion of LGBTQ young people and their allies in Chicago schools and community settings."
Founded by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, About Face 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.
Notable world premieres include Doug Wright's Pulitzer and Tony-winning I Am My Own Wife; Moisés Kaufman's production of Tennessee Williams' One Arm (a co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Tectonic Theatre Project); Mary Zimmerman's M. Proust, and, with Lookingglass Theatre, the famed Eleven Rooms of Proust and Clay that went on to be performed at Lincoln Center and Center Theater Group; Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty's Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein (a co-production with the Museum of Contemporary Art); 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.