New Play Charm Is Set in an Etiquette Class for LGBTQ Youth

News   New Play Charm Is Set in an Etiquette Class for LGBTQ Youth Charm, a new play based on the real-life experiences of a transgender woman teaching an etiquette class for LGBTQ youth, is being presented by Northlight Theatre at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. The show runs through Nov. 8.

According to press notes: "Charm depicts the colorful inner workings of an etiquette class taught by Mama Darleena Andrews, an African-American transgender woman, in an LGBTQ organization known as The Center. Mama attempts to share her rules of proper behavior with a youth group ranging in sexuality, race and gender identity from a Latina transwoman to a cisgendered straight black couple to a gay suburban teen. Though her students initially struggle to see how etiquette relates to their daily battles with identity, poverty and prejudice, Mama’s powerful love and unapologetic attitude eventually win them over. Inspired by a true story, Charm carries a message of peace and dignity, as Mama and her students must ultimately find a new way to respect each other and to redefine what 'having charm' means."

The show, which opened Oct. 14, was written by Philip Dawkins and directed by BJ Jones. It was based on the story of Allen, a transgender woman who spent many of her days at the Center on Halsted with other senior members of the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning/queer community. Allen took notice of a lack of manners in many of their young visitors and took it upon herself to reconcile this issue by teaching an etiquette class.

The cast of Charm includes Armand Fields, Elizabeth Ledo, Monica Lopez Orozco, Brittney Love Smith, Julian Parker, Awate Serequeberhan, Matt Sherbach, Namir Smallwood and Dexter Zollicoffer.

Charm features costume design by Izumi Inaba, lighting design by J.R. Lederle and sound design by Lindsay Jones. Jonathan Nook serves as stage manager.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

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