CHICAGO – PrideArts today announced casting for its special holiday cabaret called CHRISTMAS KAROL: A HOLIDAY INTERVENTION CABARET, as well as two additional special events for the holidays: a December 13 meet-and-greet, panel discussion and screening with the subjects of The Pathfinders Project film profiling 11 older adult queer Chicagoans; and a one-week stream of B. Danielle Watkins’s film THE HIGHER SPIRIT from December 20-27.
CHRISTMAS KAROL: A HOLIDAY INTERVENTION CABARET will play over two weekends: Thursday, December 9 through Sunday, December 12; and Thursday, December 16 through Sunday, December 19 at the Broadway Theatre, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Each weekend will feature a different cast of musical theatre performers from the Chicago area. Cast A – performing December 9 – 12 – will include Heather Bohan, Michelle Ortiz, Maria Alexandra, Alex Iacobucci, and Jay Espano. Cast B – performing December 16 – 19 – will include Joe Lewis, Sara Torre, Eric Briggs, and Scott Gryder. Justin Fowlkes will appear both weekends as his drag alter ego Jenna Sayqua.
Worried about the supply-chain crises and rising cost of Christmas trees, Karol decides to cancel her famous holiday party. It’s up to her friends and family – and a few carolers – to save the tradition. Armed with their favorite songs of the season, the friends gradually win over the reluctant hostess. Artistic Director Jay Españo and Christa Retka have conceived and will co-direct this alternately funny, warm, and heartfelt cabaret, which will include such popular holiday songs as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Christmas Song (‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….’), and novelty numbers like “Never Fall in Love with an Elf.”
The production team for CHRISTMAS KAROL also includes Adam Halliwell (Props Designer), Piper Kirchhofer (Lighting Design), and Bryan McCaffrey (Music Director). Tickets are $30.00 and are sale now at www.pridearts.org. Flex Passes of six tickets that can be used for any PrideArts live production are available for $144.00. Tickets can be used any way you like. Use one, bring a friend, or use all six at once.
On Monday, December 13, PrideArts will host a screening and discussion of its film THE PATHFINDERS PROJECT, by Magdiel Carmona, Mattie Switzer and Dayton Nelson. The film is a compilation of a series of video interviews with 11 older queer Chicagoans that explores their personal stories in both a historical and a contemporary context. The series streamed in October and November in shorter segments, over a period of four weeks and included interviews with Chicagoans Gloria Allen, Donald Bell, Jamie Black, Tom Chiola, Stefanie Clark, Bob Cohn, Pat Cummings, Kim Hunt, Eva Skye, Rob Stein, and Hector Suarez. The evening will begin with a meet and greet with the Pathfinders from 6 – 7 pm, continue with a discussion with them from 7 -8 pm, and conclude with a screening of the entire film at 8 pm. Admission is free, but reservations are required and may be made at https://www.goelevent.com/pridearts/e/AnEveningWiththePathfinders.
Later in December, PrideArts will present THE HIGHER SPIRIT, a new film centered on an LGBTQ family struggling to find the spirit of Christmas. The film, which will stream from December 20 -27, is set in Las Vegas and is filled with laughs, love and pain as it chronicles holiday season of a long-married couple with five adopted daughters. The film was written by B. Danielle Watkins and directed by Watkins with Onyx Keesha and Gino Payne. In it, we watch tough decisions and growing pains of queer black characters who share a sense of belonging, stability, and purpose in a world still averse to their existence. The characters – both main and supporting – navigate coming out as lesbian and transgender and rough patches that every loving couple endures from time to time.
Not so often are queer black stories within religion brought to the forefront as Watkins does with The Higher Spirit, fully cognizant and confident in its portrayal of flawed, nuanced characters with varying levels of faith in a higher power. Access to THE HIGHER SPIRIT is $12.00, which allows unlimited viewing throughout the eight-day period from December 20 -27. Tickets may be purchased at https://www.goelevent.com/pridearts/e/TheHigherSpirit.
PrideArts tells queer stories on a variety of platforms, including both live and virtual performances. Since its founding in 2010, PrideArts has had several chapters, including operating as an itinerant theater for their first six seasons, and as the developer and primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center from 2016-21.
The company produces full seasons of plays and musicals, as well as events including cabaret, film, and more. PrideArts has earned 39 Jeff Awards and nominations, and six nominations in the most recent (2019) ALTA Awards from the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago. Programming has reflected the diversity of queer communities by including work made by and illuminating the experiences of women, gay men, transgender people, and BIPOC.
PrideArts 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, 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.
PrideArts is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. PrideArts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northalsted Business Association, Lakeview East, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatre.
For more information and to donate, visit www.pridearts.org or call 1.773 857 0222.