Pride Films and Plays Announces Remainder of 17/18 Season

Pride Films and Plays Announces Remainder of 17/18 Season

Pictured: Pride Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Pride Films and Plays.

Pride Films and Plays has announced the remainder of the 17/18 season, their first full season in residence at the Pride Arts Center, which includes the previously announced THE NANCE.

17/18 will bring Chicago its first look at three plays that examine gay and lesbian lives in earlier decades of the 20th Century, according to Executive Director David Zak and Artistic Director Nelson Rodriguez.

“As human rights in our country face an unsure future, Pride Films & Plays’ next season finds inspiration in stories from our history in which the LGBTQ+ community braved adversity, rebelled against laws and doctrines, and dissented from those in their personal and professional lives in order to carve the fragile place in society which we have today,” comments Rodriguez.

Adds Zak, “We are excited to present this first full season in our new home, and thus will be aligning subsequent seasonal selections with our fiscal year, which ends June 30. The previously announced THE NANCE, Douglas Carter Beane’s 2013 Broadway play about a gay burlesque performer in 1930s New York City, will open the season on July 6 and will be included in 2017-18 subscriptions.”

THE NANCE will be followed in September by the Chicago premiere of PERFECT ARRANGEMENT, a comedy by Topher Payne, author of ANGRY FAGS, which Pride Films and Plays presented as part of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep in 2015. The season will continue with the Chicago premiere of YANK! A WWII Love Story directed by Zak and musical direction by Robert Ollis. These three Chicago premieres will be followed in spring by a world premiere, as well as several developmental projects.

Pride Films and Plays 17/18 Season (from the press release): 

(Previously announced)
By Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by John Nasca
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
June 29 – July 23, 2017

Douglas Carter Beane’s The Nance recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque’s heyday and tells the backstage story of Chauncey Miles and his fellow performers. Chauncey’s uproarious antics on the stage at a time when it is easy to play gay stand in marked contrast to his offstage life. The New York Times called The Nance “A heartfelt new play set in the twilight of burlesque.” It ran on Broadway in 2013 starring Nathan Lane and was nominated for five Tony Awards, winning two.

By Topher Payne
Directed by Derek Van Barham
September 22 – October 23, 2017

It’s 1950, and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Two U.S. State Department employees, Bob and Norma, have been tasked with identifying sexual deviants within their ranks. There’s just one problem: Both Bob and Norma are gay and have married each other’s partners as a carefully constructed cover. Inspired by the true story of the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap classic sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two “All-American” couples are forced to stare down the closet door.

Book and Lyrics by David Zellnik, Music by Joseph Zellnik
Directed by David Zak
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
January 13 – February 18, 2018

YANK!, originally produced off-Broadway in 2010, is a love song to Hollywood’s “it takes one of every kind” platoon flicks and to 1940s Broadway. Suffused with songs (swing, big band, boogie-woogie), it explores what stories get told in wartime, and how WWII became the great catalyst in bringing gay men and women together. It’s the story of Stu, a scared Midwestern kid who gets drafted in 1943, and who – like most guys – spends Basic Training wrestling with fears of whether he “has what it takes” to make it in the Army. But unlike most guys, Stu also falls in love with a fellow Private, a handsome All-American guy named Mitch. When Stu strikes a friendship with Artie – an unapologetically queer reporter for Yank Magazine, Artie shows Stu a glimpse of the gay world that thrived just beneath the surface of the US Army in 1940.

March – April 2018
Pride Arts Center – The Buena
4147 N. Broadway

For more information, including season ticket specials, visit

About author


PerformInk is Chicago's entertainment industry trade publication.