CHICAGO – Pride Films and Plays will mount a fully staged production this summer of GRINDR THE OPERA (An Unauthorized Parody) – the satirical musical about the gay hookup app that changed the landscape of gay relationships. The musical was produced in the UK last year, in an extended, sold-out production at London’s Above the Stag Theatre (the UK’s only full-time professional LGBT+ theater), and won the 2019 Off West End Award (or OFFIE) for “Best New Musical” this past February. GRINDR THE OPERA, by New York-based composer-lyricist-playwright Erik Ransom, was an entry in the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival following staged readings in New York in 2015 and 2017 and a full production in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in fall 2017. The Pride Films and Plays production will be directed by John Cardone with choreography, costume design, and co-direction by Shawn Quinlan. Tommy Ross will be Music Director. It will be performed in the 44-seat Buena stage of the Pride Arts Center from June 23 through July 28, where it will alternate with S. Asher Gelman’s AFTERGLOW, which opened on March 27 and will be extended for a second time, running through July 28.
GRINDR THE OPERA puts the most notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. With musical styles ranging from baroque to contemporary pop, GRINDR The Opera is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, and the greatest catalyst for the shift: GRINDR.
In the musical, we meet Grindr, a mythical siren from remote antiquity who has been awoken from her millennial slumber by technology. Her power, which is derived from human lust, is exhibited as she manipulates her gay devotees in a soaring soprano.
Next we meet the boys: Devon is a romantic, Tom is a cynic, Jack is a twink and Don is a daddy. These four gay men of different “Tribes” meet via the medium of the Grindr app, each seeking a different type of connection. Grindr guides them to intersect to hilarious and calamitous results, culminating in a grand finale wherein all the dirty laundry tumbles out. Though the opera lives in the world of parody, it touches on some very serious, hot-button issues that exist in the gay community as it transitions into a time of wider acceptance and easy access to opportunities of both romance and lust to be sated.
In addition to his directing duties, Cardone will reprise the role of Don he played in the performance at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. His cast will also include Bruno Rivera as Grindr, Ben Broughton as Tom, Justin Cavazos as Devon, Evan Wilhelm as Jack; and Andrew Flynn and Brandon Krisko as the Grindrettes – Dilectus and Occulto, respectively. Understudies will be Andrew Flynn (Tom), Brandon Krisko (Jack), Evan Wilhelm (Grindr), and Shawn Quinlan (Grindrette, Devon).
Tickets will be on sale soon at www.pridefilmsandplays.com
GRINDR THE OPERA (An Unauthorized Parody)
Book, Music and Lyrics by Erik Ransom
Directed by John Cardone
Choreographed and Co-Directed by Shawn Quinlan
Music Direction by Tommy Ross
June 23 – July 28, 2019
The Buena, Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway
Previews Sunday June 23 at 8:00 pm and Monday, June 24 at 8:00 pm. All preview seats $20
Press Opening Tuesday June 25 at 8 pm
Regular performance schedule Thursdays and Sundays at 8 pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm. No performances Sunday, June 30 or Thursday, July 4.
Ticket prices $40 (premium reserved), $30 (reserved), $20 (student, senior, military – not valid on Saturdays)
Tickets available at www.pridefilmsandplays.com or by phone at 866-811-4111.
GRINDR The Opera puts the most notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. With musical styles ranging from baroque to contemporary pop, GRINDR The Opera is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, and the greatest catalyst for the shift: GRINDR.
Erik Ransom (composer, lyricist, bookwriter) is a writer is a composer, playwright, librettist and lyricist with a diverse body of work. COMING: A ROCK MUSICAL OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS was Erik’s first foray as a writer and, within a year of starting the first draft, he was fortunate enough to see it fully produced at The Prince Music Theatre in February 2011. In Philadelphia and later at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival, COMING played to packed houses and glowingly positive reviews, including raves from The Huffington Post, BroadwayWorld, Edge Magazine and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Erik penned the lyrics for the recent Off-Broadway musical spectacular: THE ANTHEM, which ran at The Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theatre. Erik recently signed on to the writing team for season two of the 2014 Emmy-nominated web-series, TAINTED DREAMS.
On the musical front, his smutty opus, GRINDR THE OPERA premiered in concert in Spring of 2014 and had a high-profile staged reading in April 2015 which was covered by The Daily Beast, The Guardian, Salon.com and the National Public Radio of the Republic of Ireland.. He is currently developing THE SEVERED HAND OF NEVERLAND, a dark, raunchy retelling of Peter Pan which was co-conceived by Erik and his frequent collaborator, director Rachel Klein. Erik’s musical, MORE THAN ALL THE WORLD, adapted from Marlowe’s EDWARD II has been read at the Musical Theatre Factory and is slated to be part of the York Theatre’s reading series in Spring 2016. His other produced works include, SAGA THE RAGNAROK OPERA and TRAGIC EVENTS and he is a two-time champion of the York Theatre’s Tune-in-Time improvised musical theatre writing competition.
John Cardone (director) has performance credits including THE FULL MONTY (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, GRAND HOTEL (Kokandy Productions), PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (Pride Films and Plays), A KISS FROM ALEXANDER, NAKED BOYS SINGING (Bailiwick); PETER PAN, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, and GUYS AND DOLLS, (Music Theater Works); BEWILDERED, SEXY BABY, (Hell In A Handbag). He received a Jeff nomination for A KISS FROM ALEXANDER in 2006 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical. Some film & television credits include: HEARTBEAT (NBC), BEVERLY HILLS 90210 (Fox), and BLOODFIST 3 (Roger Corman). His directing credits include BARENAKED LADS DO PROVINCETOWN in Provincetown, Massachusetts; and BARENAKED LADS TAKE OFF BROADWAY, a Bailiwick Repertory production that traveled to the International Dublin Gay Theater Festival in 2007.
ABOUT PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS
Pride Films and Plays produces a year-round festival of work centered on LGBTQ characters or themes that are essential viewing for all. Since opening Pride Arts Center in 2016, with our two intimate spaces, Pride Films and Plays is in many ways the center of queer programming in the Midwest thanks to our award-winning full productions, cabarets, film fests, new play development and special events. Founded in 2010, Pride Films and Plays has earned 36 Jeff Recommendations and Awards.
We are most grateful for foundation support from Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency, City Arts Grant, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Heath Fund, the Pauls Foundation, The Service Club of Chicago, Arts and Business Council, Taproot Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, AmazonSmile Foundation, among others.
Pride Arts is grateful to support of Braintree, which sponsors our Pride Parade float, the Australian Consulate-General Chicago and Qantas Airlines, and the Consulate General of Canada, Chicago. Pride Arts is a member of the League of Chicago Theaters, Northalsted Business Association, Buena Park Neighbors, Uptown United, and Lakeview East Business Association.