The Temperamentals | Theater Wit | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Temperamentals Recommended The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Feb. 18 2017

Jon Marans's fascinating 2009 off-Broadway hit—receiving its overdue Chicago premiere in a beautifully acted production from About Face Theatre—recounts a little-known episode in American history: the 1950 founding of Los Angeles's Mattachine Society, a pioneering organization designed to "educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican, and Jewish peoples" and to "assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression." Mattachine was literally a labor of love, led by Harry Hay, an American communist activist, and his partner Rudi Gernreich, a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Austria who later became one of the most influential figures in the 1960s fashion world with his avant-garde designs (including unisex clothing and the thong bathing suit). Though Mattachine eventually splintered along lines of ideology (radical versus moderate) and purpose (activist versus social), it fostered a loose-knit regional network of "homophile" groups that paved the way for the Gay Liberation movement of the 1970s and today's LGBTQ rights movement. Director Andrew Volkoff's superb cast includes Kyle Hatley as the sometimes abrasive Hay, Lane Anthony Flores as the sly and elegant Gernreich, and Paul Fagen, Rob Lindley, and Alex Weisman in multiple supporting roles. —Albert Williams

Price: $20-$40

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