Chicago – The waning days of burlesque in New York City are the setting for Douglas Carter Beane’s Tony Award-nominated The Nance, which will begin performances at the Pride Arts Center on June 29th.
Apart from some nostalgic revivals, the entertainment form of burlesque – featuring broad/bawdy comedy and female nudity – has largely disappeared from the US, so the style and spirit of that genre was largely foreign to the production’s cast. To get his actors into the spirit of the piece, The Nance’s director John Nasca (who is also designing the costumes) thought it would be helpful for the actors to dress up in costumes of the era and genre, even before final designs for the production would be excuted. He scoured the vaults of The Broadway for items left behind by the theater’s previous occupants as well as other sources to find some wardrobe that would be representative of his eventual designs, which will include gowns for the strippers, oversize suits for the comedians and offstage fashions of New York City in the 1930s.
Beane’s play tells the backstage story of a gay performer, Chauncey Miles, whose role in the burlesque show was to brazenly exploit gay stereotypes of the time in a most suggestive manner. Chauncey’s uproarious antics on the stage at a time when it was easy to play gay on stage stand in marked contrast to his offstage life, where the “gay lifestyle” had to be lived clandestinely. 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 as Chauncey Miles and was nominated for five Tony Awards, winning two.
The Nance will be directed for Pride Films and Plays by Artistic Associate John Nasca, with musical direction by Robert Ollis. Nasca’s cast will be led by Vince Kracht, an actor/improvisor who has returned to Chicago after 3-years playing Wilbur in Hairspray opposite Jim J. Bullock, on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (a production that was featured live on the 66th Annual Tony Awards). Vincent was also a performer in “Throw Me a Line” – the ship’s signature improv comedy show. Before getting his sea legs, Vincent performed throughout the Chicagoland area. He portrayed Yvan in “Art” for Open Door and with Boho Theatre Ensemble. Vincent was also an ensemble member with Gayco; and an improviser with The Comedy Shrine in Naperville and Aurora, and with ImprovAcadia in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was a founding ensemble member of The Free Associates.
Playing Ned, the young man Chauncey meets and becomes involved with personally and professionally, will be Royen Kent, whose credits include Henrik in A Little Night Music at Writers Theatre, Harold Bride in Griffin’s Titanic and Teddy Slaughter in Kokandy’s The Full Monty. Also in the cast are PFP Artistic Associate Patrick Rybarczyk as Efram, Britt-Marie Sivertson as Joan, Melissa Young as Sylvie and Steph Vondell as Carmen.
Nasca’s design team will also include Jeremy Hollis (set design), G. Max Maxin IV (lighting design), company member Kallie Rolison (sound design), and Brian Estep (hair and makeup design). Joaquin Gomez will be stage manager, and Matt Dominguez and Nathan Mittleman will be assistant directors. Mittleman will also serve as movement coach.
CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
Douglas Carter Beane (playwright) has written the screenplays for To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Advice From a Caterpillar (Best Film, Aspen Comedy Festival, Best Feature, Toyota Comedy Festival) and Skinner’s Eddy. His plays include As Bees In Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Playwriting Award, Drama Desk Best Play Nomination); The Country Club (LA Times Critics’ Choice & Dramalogue Awards); Music From A Sparkling Planet; Advice From A Caterpillar (Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination); White Lies; Devil May Care and Old Money. His new musical, The Big Time (with music and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen) was just produced by Drama Dept. The Little Dog Laughed which transferred from Second Stage Theatre was his Broadway debut. Beane wrote the book for Xanadu, a stage musical adaptation of the 1980 film of the same name, adding new plot twists and humor parodying the original movie. Beane won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. In 2011, Beane was hired to ‘doctor’ the book for the musical Sister Act alongside Bill and Cheri Steinkellner for which he was nominated for a Tony. Beane wrote the book of the Broadway Musical Lysistrata Jones and rewrote the book for a new adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Beane has also revised the libretto for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of the operetta Die Fledermaus which will be performed in 2013- 2014. Beane is currently the artistic director of the Drama Dept. Theater Company in New York.
John Nasca is an Artistic Associate of PFP and co-founder and Artistic Director of Glitterati Productions. His directing credits include Gypsy, Mr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood, Beautiful Thing, The Ritz, The Glass Protege, Heavenly Evening and Moon Over Buffalo. He has been nominated 6 times for a Jeff Award and recently won for his costume work for PFP’s Design for Living. He is also the proud recipient of an After Dark Award and three Broadway World Awards. His costume work includes Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Boy From Oz,Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Anyone Can Whistle, Noises Off, Metropolis, Phantom, Die! Mommie, Die!, Poseidon: An Upside-Down Musical, Follies, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Me and My Gal, The Little Foxes, Rigaletto, The Great White Hope, Tintypes, The Women, On the Waterfront and Something’s Afoot.
By Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by John Nasca
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
June 29 – July 30, 2017
PRESS OPENING – Thursday, July 6 2017, 7:30 PM
Pride Arts Center – The Broadway
4139 N. Broadway
Previews Thursday, June 29, Friday, June 30, Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, July 2 at 5:00 pm. Preview tickets are $25.
Regular run performances Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 5:00 PM and Wednesdays, July 19 and 26 at 7:30 pm. Ticket prices are $40 for reserved seats, $30 general admission
PFP’s $10 Access Tickets for students, seniors or others who cannot afford full price are available for each performance on an honor system.
Tickets available soon at www.pridefilmsandplays.com or 1 800 737 0984
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.
ABOUT PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS
Pride Films and Plays changes lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. We accomplish this mission through fully-staged productions, writing contests and staged readings, film screenings, and special events. We foster long term relationships with artists to create programming that is as diverse, unique, and complex as the community we represent. In 2015, Huffington Post called PFP “A powerful and empowering entity.” The company acquired its two performance spaces at 4139 and 4147 N. Broadway in July 2016, renaming the spaces the 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 AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation 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 and The League of Chicago Theatres.
For more information, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com or call 1.800.737.0984.
ABOUT PRIDE ARTS CENTER
Pride Arts Center (PAC) opened in 2016 and consists of two performance spaces: The Buena at 4147 N. Broadway which has 50 seats and The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway which has 85 seats, and it is run by Pride Films and Plays. PAC has become an important part of the arts environment in the Buena Park neighborhood and beyond by hosting events including After Orlando, Bechdel Fest, SheFest and the 525,600 Minutes Cabaret. Additional tenants in 2017 include Walkabout Theater, New American Folk Theater, Cor Productions, Underscore Music Theater, 20% Productions, About Face Youth Theater, Another Door Productions, and of course Pride Films and Plays. For The Love Of (Or The Roller Derby Play) is currently being performed in The Buena.
For more information about space at Pride Arts Center, visit www.prideartscenter.com, or www.pridefilmsandplays.com.