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AUDIENCE ADVISORY: Includes male nudity. Suitable for audiences 18+
by Milan Pejnovich
What to say about Afterglow, the Chicago premiere of the Off-Broadway hit that is now playing at the Buena Pride Arts Center in a production by Pride Films and Plays and has already been extended by a month to June 2? Suffice it to say that its appeal was lost on me. A gay couple, played by Jacob Barnes and the much better Richard Holton, have an open relationship and bring in a third, played by Jesse James Montoya, for spice and fun. Things get complicated when one half of the couple falls in mutual love with the third, spoiling their plans for a baby already well into its surrogate's pregnancy.
L-R: Jacob Barnes, Jesse Montoya. Photos by Heather Mall.
L-R: Jacob Barnes, Jesse Montoya, Rich Holton.
Does this surprise anyone? Of course, there's full frontal male nudity and a credit for an "intimacy choreographer," so if you, like 99% of the audience at the performance I attended, are a gay guy looking for naked hotties doing soft porn in the flesh, then you too can contribute to its sold out houses and extended run. But if you, like me, think it's stupid people making stupid decisions and suffering the stupid consequences, I'd save your money for the hard stuff you can find online.
Chicago premiere of AFTERGLOW now extended four weeks
New closing date for this gay-themed drama is June 2
The Chicago Premiere of AFTERGLOW, an off-Broadway hit from 2017 exploring the emotional, intellectual, and physical connections between three men and the broader implications within their relationships, will be extended for an additional four weeks to meet demand. The drama, directed by Pride Films and Plays Executive Director David Zak, which opened on March 27, was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, May 5 but will now play until Sunday, June 2 in the Buena Theatre of the Pride Arts Center.
Colin Douglas of CHICAGO THEATRE REVIEW, said ‘It’s an exciting production that’s sure to be talked about for a long time.” Lawrence Bommer, writing for STAGE AND CINEMA, said “AFTERGLOW shines.” WINDY CITY TIMES reviewer Jerry Nunn said AFTERGLOW is a “concise piece that digs into heavy topics such as love, loyalty, sex, trust and parenthood.”
Josh and Alex are a gay male married couple in an open relationship. The two invite another man, Darius, to share their bed one night. When a new intimate connection begins to form, all three men must come to terms with their individual definitions of love, loyalty, and trust as futures are questioned, relationships are shaken, and commitments are challenged.
Zak’s production team for AFTERGLOW includes Kailee Tomasic (Scenic and Props Design), Dan Lewis (Lighting Design), Shawn Quinlan (Costume Design), Jared Sutton (Sound Design & Original Music), Reed Bentley (Intimacy Choreographer), Kyle Mayes (Assistant Intimacy Director), Daniel Washelesky (Assistant Director), and Michael Starcher (Stage Manager).
AFTERGLOW played fourteen months, from June 2017 through August 2018, at the off-Broadway Davenport Theatre in New York City. The nationally distributed, LGBT-focused magazine THE ADVOCATE, said it "Penetrates the psyche in a way that many gay men will find relatable. A gritty tale of commitment on the cusp of questioning its boundaries, the incredible acting and intense writing propels the audience’s minds and hearts into their emotional plights."
Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 (not valid Saturdays). Flex Passes available for $144 are good for six reserved seats with priority seating for the patron’s choice of shows.
AFTERGLOW is performed in the 44-seat Buena Theatre of the Pride Arts Center. Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online at www.pridefilmsandplays.com
Make it a Double:
**NOTE: BUYER & CELLAR Performance Schedule Update
Sunday matinees moved up to a 2:00 pm curtain time to enable a PFP “Double Feature” with AFTERGLOW
All Sunday matinees for Pride Films and Plays’ production of Jonathan Tolins’s BUYER & CELLAR have been rescheduled to a 2 pm curtain, an hour-and-one half earlier than previously announced. The change was made to make it possible for patrons to attend on a single afternoon both plays that will be playing at the two-stage Pride Arts Center in April and May. BUYER & CELLAR, which will start performances on April 11 in the 85-seat Broadway Theatre at 4139 N. Broadway, will begin its Sunday matinees at 2 pm and let out shortly after 3:30 pm. This will allow a 25-30-minute break before the 4 pm Sunday matinees of AFTERGLOW, performed in the 44-seat Buena Theatre at 4147 N. Broadway. AFTERGLOW, which opened on March 27, has a running time of approximately 80 minutes with no intermission, and lets out at approximately 5:20 pm. Separate tickets are required for the two plays.
Gryder’s Chicago stage credits include JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Lyric Opera) and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Drury Lane Water Tower), THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES (Hell in a Handbag), AMOUR (Black Button Eyes), and SOUTH PACIFIC (Light Opera Works). He has performed in cabarets at such venues as Davenport's, Victory Gardens Theater, and Auditorium Theatre's Katten-Landau Studio. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University. MeTV’s GREEN SCREEN ADVENTURES earned him three National Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup.
BUYER & CELLAR was a 2013 off-Broadway hit, running for 13 months at the Barrow Street Theatre immediately after its sold-out world premiere at the Rattlestick Theatre. A national tour starring Michael Urie played Chicago for six weeks in 2014. It has been performed in many countries around the world since then. This will be the play’s first Chicago production since the tour’s engagement here.
Tolins, whose other playwriting credits include the gay-themed comedies LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE and THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS, was inspired to write BUYER & CELLAR after reading about Streisand’s real-life faux mall in her book, MY PASSION FOR DESIGN. Tolins’s comedy begins with the truth of the mall – a showcase for her collectibles like dolls and antique clothing – and imagines what it might be like to be the custodian of such a place for such a celebrity. BUYER & CELLAR is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs.
BUYER & CELLAR will be performed in the 85-seat Broadway Theatre of the Pride Arts Center. It will open to the press on Monday, April 15 following previews from Thursday, April 11; and will play through Sunday, May 19, 2019. BUYER & CELLAR joins the schedule of shows previously announced for spring at Pride Arts Center, including the musical SOUTHERN COMFORT, opening to the press on March 4; the drama AFTERGLOW, opening on March 27; and the world premiere of DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE on June 3.
Scott Gryder (Alex More) has been seen throughout Chicagoland, with appearances including JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Lyric Opera Chicago), THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Drury Lane Theatre at Water Tower Place), and SOUTH PACIFIC (Light Opera Works). He has performed in cabarets at such venues as Davenport's, Victory Gardens Theater, and Auditorium Theatre's Katten-Landau Studio. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University. MeTV’s GREEN SCREEN ADVENTURES earned him three National Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. For more info, visit www.thescottgryder.com
Donterrio Johnson (Director) is excited to be back at home with Pride Films and Plays - this time behind the table directing this new exciting production of BUYER AND CELLAR by Jonathan Tolins. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for intricate storytelling that is thought-provoking and modernistic, Donterrio Johnson has created some incredible art as both actor and director over the past 15 years. He was a Jeff Award-winner for his Judas Iscariot in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR with Theo Ubique and has earned raves for his Dan in NEXT TO NORMAL and his Caldwell B. Cladwell in URINETOWN, both with BoHo Theatre. He has also appeared in the Chicago cast of SPAMILTON and as Leading Player in PIPPIN at Mercury Theater and recently returned from a year-long stint in the National Tour of WAITRESS. Johnson’s notable directing credits include: THE COLORED MUSEUM, 101 DALMATIANS , EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES WILLY WONKA, LAST FIVE YEARS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS AND THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Donterrio has worked with companies such as Pulse Theatre Company, Prisco Center, and The REPA Center.
Previews Thursday, April 11 through Saturday April 13 at 7:30 pm, Sunday April 14 at 3:30 pm,
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm through May 19
Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 (not valid Saturdays)
ABOUT PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS
Pride Films and Plays is working to produce year-round theater and film projects that change lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that are essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a five-play season of full productions, shoots one short film each year, and continues our famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center.
Pride Arts Center produces events complementing the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions or feature national treasures like Charles Busch. PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.
Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.
PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.