Chicago – Full casting has been announced for Pride Films and Plays’ production of SOUTHERN COMFORT. The musical will open to the press on March 4, 2019 in the Broadway theater of the Pride Arts Center and play through March 31.
In SOUTHERN COMFORT, Robert, a transgender man living in rural Georgia among his chosen family of mostly transgender friends, has one final wish after receiving life-altering news. He wishes to make it to the annual Southern Comfort Transgender Conference he has attended with his friends for years, so he can dance at the ball with his newly-discovered love, Lola. While Robert attempts to live his life as fully as possible surrounded by those he loves, his friends struggle to process what will inevitably come. This heartwarming musical with a lush folk/bluegrass score is based on the award-winning 2001 Sundance Film Festival documentary of the same title.
SOUTHERN COMFORT has book and lyrics by Dan Collins and music by Julianne Wick Davis, the writing team responsible for TREVOR: THE MUSICAL, which was warmly received in its world premiere production at Writers Theatre in summer 2017. In reviewing SOUTHERN COMFORT’s premiere at The Public Theater in New York City in February of 2016, THE NEW YORK TIMES praised it as “a sweetheart of a musical, . . . (with) a spirited, tuneful country score and colorful characters that draw us close to the emotional ups and downs of Robert’s family.”
The musical will be directed by JD Caudill, whose previous directorial credits in Chicago include MERCHILD for 16th Street Theater at the Hoover-Leppen Theater in the Center on Halsted, FACE THE DAY for The New Colony, and TUESDAY for Broken Nose Theatre. Jeff Award-winner Robert Ollis, a Pride Films and Plays Artistic Associate, will be music director.
All five transgender members of the “family” of friends will be played by trans actors: North Rory Homeward (Robert), Kyra Leigh (Lola), Ricki Pettinato (Carly), Benji Flores (Sam), and Lizzy Sulkowski (Jackson). Sinclair Willman will play the cisgender family member Melanie. Playing supporting roles as the “Storytellers” and providing onstage accompaniment with guitars, violin, cello, banjo, mandolin and percussion are actor/musicians Mario Aivazian, Kimberly Lawson, Justin Harner, Candice Kight and Taylor Dalton, Kaleb Tank will be assistant director and Paul Cook production manager. The design team will be announced later.
Prior to its premiere at The Public Theater in New York City in February of 2016, SOUTHERN COMFORT had productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. Bookwriter/lyricist Dan Collins and composer Julianne Wick Davis received the Jonathan Larson Award of the American Theatre Wing and the GLAAD Media Award for their work on SOUTHERN COMFORT,
Book & Lyrics by Dan Collins, Music by Julianne Wick Davis
Based on the Film by Kate Davis
Directed by JD Caudill
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
February 28 – March 31, 2019
Previews: February 28, March 1, 2 at 7:30pm and March 3 at 3:30pm. All preview seats $15
Press Opening: March 4 at 7:30pm
Regular Run: March 7 – 31 with Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30m and Sundays at 3:30pm.
Pride Arts Center – The Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 (not valid Saturdays)
Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online at www.pridefilmsandplays.com
In this heartwarming musical with a lush folk/bluegrass score, Robert, a transgender man living in rural Georgia among his chosen family of mostly transgender friends, has one final wish after receiving life-altering news: to make it to the annual Southern Comfort Transgender Conference he has attended with his friends for years, so he can dance at the ball with his newly-discovered love, Lola. While Robert attempts to live his life as fully as possible surrounded by those he loves, his friends struggle to process what will inevitably come.
JD Caudill (Director) is a Chicago-based director and music director. They have directed for Broken Nose Theatre (BECHDEL FEST 4-6), Haven Theatre (JANE DOE 232 in Director’s Haven 2015), Stage Left (CERCLE HERMAPHRODITOS), The New Colony (FACE THE DAY), The Runaways Lab Theatre (DDADIS 2015-2017), Hobo Junction, 20% Theatre, Paragon Theatre, Otherworld Theatre, Arc Theatre, and Red Theatre. Additionally, they are a music director, having music directed FLIES! at Pride Films and Plays, STANLEY IN THE NAME OF LOVE at The New Colony, and six fabulous shows with Hell in a Handbag Productions. They are the literary manager of Broken Nose Theatre, an ensemble member of Hell in a Handbag Productions, and was recently marketing director for Haven Theatre from 2017-2018. JD graduated from Bowling Green State University, where they studied directing, musical theatre performance, and research psychology.
Robert Ollis (Music Director) is an Artistic Associate of Pride Films & Plays and served as Music Director for PFP’s productions of YANK!: A WW II LOVE STORY, THE NANCE, PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE BOY FROM OZ, SONGS FROM AN UNMADE BED, A HISTORY OF SUMMER and THE BOOK OF MERMAN, plus the premiere of Leo Schwartz’s award-winning UNDER A RAINBOW FLAG. He recently served as Music Director for Underscore Theatre’s recent musical HAYMARKET: A NEW FOLK MUSICAL. Robert received a Jeff Award for musical direction of KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, plus nominations for four other shows. Robert is the music director and co-creator of JUDY AND LIZA: THE LONDON PALLADIUM CONCERT — A TRIBUTE and accompanies other notable cabaret performers in New York City and Chicago venues.
Dan Collins (bookwriter/lyricist). Other projects include WOOD (starring Tony Award Winner Cady Huffman) and with Julianne Wick Davis, WHEN WE MET (The Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference; CAP 21 Theatre Company). Dan was selected along with Wick Davis as a Dramatist Guild Fellow as well as for TheatreWorks Palo Alto’s Writer’s Retreat. He received his M.F.A in Musical Theater Writing at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and his B.F.A. in Playwriting at The Theater School at DePaul University.
Julianne Wick Davis (composer). Julianne wrote music and lyrics for WHEN WE MET with Dan Collins (book), which was developed at the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, the York NEO Development Series and had a developmental production at CAP21 in 2014. Her musical TREVOR: THE MUSICAL, written with Dan Collins, enjoyed a successful world premiere at Writers Theatre in Glencoe in summer 2017. She is a York Theatre’s NEO 9 emerging writer, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, and a 2015 Sundance Fellow at UCross. Julianne has an M.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
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 its famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center.
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, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.
ABOUT PRIDE ARTS CENTER
Pride Arts Center (PAC) 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 Arts Center has become an important part of the arts environment in the Buena Park neighborhood and beyond by hosting events including After Orlando, Bechdel Fest, LezFest and the 525,600 Minutes Cabaret.