Chicago stages never lack for gay-friendly theater and comedy, but June's Pride festivities bring a wealth of performances geared to gay themes. Some of our recommendations:
Alexi Kaye Campbell's 2008 drama flips between the ’50s and the aughties as it traces the evolution of British gay life via a pair of parallel love triangles. Bonnie Metzgar stages the Chicago premiere as her final act as About Face Theatre's outgoing artistic director. Patrick Andrews, John Francisco, Jessie Fisher and Benjamin Sprunger star. About Face Theatre at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. June 6–July 13. $30, students $15 (aboutfacetheatre.com).
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Bohemian Theatre Ensemble mounts the 1995 musical with a score by Kander and Ebb and book by Terrence McNally, based on Manuel Puig's novel about two cellmates in a Latin American prison, one of whom is jailed for his homosexualiry and has elaborate fantasies about an old-time movie star. Bohemian Theatre Ensemble at Theater Wit. May 31–June 30. $25–$27 (bohotheatre.com).
New York theater gadfly Ben Rimalower's well-received solo show details his lifelong identification with Broadway diva Patti LuPone alongside his fraught experience of his father's coming out. He brings it to Mary's Attic for a one-night stand. Mary's Attic. June 13. $20 (pattiissues.com).
The Bear Suit of Happiness
The premise sounds too funny to be a drama: a WWII soldier charged with writing a show to entertain his fellow soldiers with the orders "Needs music. And they like drag." But the New Colony has more to explore than mere camp in Evan Linder's new play, one of the eight recent productions chosen for Theater on the Lake's season of encore runs. Theater on the Lake. June 12–16. $20 (thenewcolony.org).
And the Winner Wasn't III
This third annual cabaret night, a fundraiser for Pride Films & Plays, features selections from musicals that were nominated for Tony Awards but didn't win. Performers include Bethany Thomas, Lili-Anne Brown, Paul Oakley Stovall, cabaret duo Amy & Freddy and more. Ticket price includes one drink and one entry into a door prize drawing. Sidetrack. June 4. $20 (pridefilmsandplays.com).
The Laugh Factory slates a new weekly night of queer and queer-friendly local comics, produced and hosted by Scott Duff. Proceeds benefit a range of LGBT-related charities such as the Lesbian Community Care Project and TPAN. The Laugh Factory. Mondays through June 24. $17 (laughfactory.com).
Queer Queens of Qomedy
Poppy Champlin, Gwen LaRoka and Dawn Austin take the stage for this showcase of lesbian stand-up comics. Mayne Stage. June 14. $25–$35 (maynestage.com).
Same Sex, Different Gays: Musical Tales of Relationships
This musical-sketch nod to queer relationships aims to leave your heart (and other body parts) throbbing. pH Comedy Theater. Saturdays through August 17. $15, students $10 (whatisph.com).
30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes
The Neo-Futurists celebrate Pride month with this showcase of LGBTQ-themed highlights from the past year of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Neo-Futurarium. June 28–30. $TBA (neofuturists.org).