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Open Space Arts presents
THE KRAMER PROJECT
A new staged adaptation of Larry Kramer's speech
The Tragedy of Today's Gays
 
Adapted and Directed by David G. Zak
 
Projection Design by Magdiel Carmona
Lighting Design by Garrett Imhoff
Music Design by Elijah Newman
Production Manager Elayne LeTraunik
Production Stage Manager Amber Mandley
Assistant Stage Manager Rowan Collins
Poster Graphic Larry Hart
Production Intern Michael Miller
 
 
Featuring
 
Keith Butler, Tom Chiola, Roberto del Rio, Hailey Hance,
 Alexandria Moorman, Elijah Newman, Ryan Quade
 
Understudies
Lynda Cortez, Christopher Sylvie, Michael-Ellen Walden
 
Produced by Special Arrangement with David Webster.
Special Thanks Will  Schwalbe, Tico Valle
 
The production is performed without intermission.
 

The entire text is adapted from Larry Kramer's speech The Tragedy of Today's Gays, which he delivered on November 21, 2004, shortly after the reelection of George W. Bush. I read it again after the election of 2016 and found much of it so moving and relevant. I shared the adaptation with Mr. Kramer before he passed two years ago. I thank that cast for their creativity and passion for this material. The decision for the actors to use folders for their scripts was mine.

 David G. Zak

 
   
 
 
 
 

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The Mission of Open Space Arts

Open Space Arts illuminates contemporary and historical issues through film and live performances. OSA will perform where the arts can have the most impact.

With the freedom to perform anywhere, from libraries, theaters, empty storefronts, and online, OSA can respond quickly to bring important issues to life.

Center on Halsted

Center on Halsted is the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago's Lakeview Neighborhood.
 

 

 

Cast

Keith Butler
Ensemble
Tom Chiola
Ensemble
Hailey Hance
Ensemble
Roberto Del Rio
Ensemble
Alexandria Moorman
Ensemble
Elijah Newman
Ensemble/Original Music
Ryan Quade
Ensemble
Lynda Cortez
Understudy
Christopher Sylvie
Understudy
Michael-Ellen Walden
Understudy

Creative Team

Larry Kramer

Author

David Zak

Director/Adaptor

Magdiel Carmona

Projection Design

Larry Hart

Graphics

Elayne LeTraunik

Production Manager

Amber Mandley

Stage Manager

Garrett Imhoff

Lighting Designer

Rowan Collins

Assistant Stage Manager

Michael Miller

Intern

Meet the Company

Keith Butler

Ensemble
Keith is happy to be involved in a David Zak production. Keith is known from stage performances with A Real Read and Barry B. Productions. He played the title role of Kevin in Kevin’s Room, a 3 part TV series produced by Chicago Department of Public Health. He can now add to his resume Author. His debut book Little Black Gay Boy released in December of 2021 and is being well recognized. He thanks God, The Dreamgurls and his fiance Ron for all the continued love and support.

Tom Chiola

Ensemble
Tom (he/him) was the first openly gay candidate elected to office in Illinois when he won a seat as Circuit Court Judge in 1994. He served as the first President of the Alliance of Illinois Judges formed by the gay and lesbian Judges in Cook County to serve as a resource to fellow Judges throughout Illinois and as mentors to LGBT attorneys and law students. In 1998 Tom was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. He was also instrumental in assisting the development of the Legacy Walk and Education Project, resurrecting the history of LGBTQ individuals that has been lost, denied or willfully neglected. As the AIDS crisis was rearing its ugly head in the 1980’s, Tom started the first pro bono legal project for people with AIDS through the Howard Brown Health Center. Tom also volunteered for Open Hand meals-on-wheels and grocery center, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and as a board member of the Federation for Human Rights (the precursor of Equality Illinois) and the Gay Athletic Association (which became the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association). He organized and ran some of the first gay softball, bowling and volleyball leagues and tournaments in Chicago, and he was Race Director for the Proud to Run 5K/10K race in the early 1990’s.

Hailey Hance

Ensemble
Hailey (she/they) is very excited to be making their Chicago debut here at Open Space Arts! Hailey is a BS Theatre Studies graduate of Missouri State University where they were in a number of productions including Everybody (Everybody/Somebodies), Argonautika (Aphrodite and others), and Parliament Square (Mum), just to name a few. Since graduation, they have spent their time in local Springfield productions such as The Spongebob Musical (Bubble Girl), Steel Magnolias (Annelle), and Mamma Mia (Ensemble). Hailey also enjoys music and songwriting and sharpening their makeup skills in their free time. Hailey would like to thank all the beautiful people in their life for their unending love and support!

Roberto Del Rio

Ensemble
Roberto was born and raised in Chicago and is a writer and performer from the north side.

Alexandria Moorman

Ensemble
Alexandria's (she/her) selected Chicago credits: cullud wattah (Victory Gardens), What to Send Up When it Goes Down (Congo Square Theatre), The Before Haiti Project (HAMOC), Wolves (Exit 63), Mother of the Dark Water (IMPAACT), Tubman: Road to Freedom, Christmas Carol (GreatWorks Touring Co). Short films: How to Re-caulk your Tub dir. Sean Pierce (Best INTL Short, Calgary Underground FF), Mid 30s Martyr dir. Eliaz Rodriguez (Best Actress Short, Austin Revolution FF & others). She’s written and produced several sketch and improv shows at The Second City, iO, The Annoyance, CiC, Newport Theater, among others. She attended Emerson College, graduated w/ a BFA in Acting and teaches with VG, CPS, Mudlark Theatre & GreatWorks. Her advocacy work is focused on diversity and accessibility within Chicago theatre, learn more @chicagoartistguide.org. She’s returning this fall in Congo Square’s critically acclaimed, Jeff-recommended play, What to Send Up When It Goes Down at Lookingglass.

Elijah Newman

Ensemble/Original Music
Elijah (he/him) is thrilled to make his Open Space debut. Elijah most recently appeared as Konstantin in The Seagull with Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Select theatre credits include: As You Like It (Forest Park Theatre), Twelfth Night (The Frontier), PickleRickicles (Otherworld Theatre), Peter and the Starcatcher (Big Noise Theatre), and The Darkling (Theater Wit). Elijah also produces and co-hosts his podcast, "Dawescast" (Spotify, Apple Music, etc). He received his BFA from University of Illinois at Chicago, and has also studied at Vagabond School of the Arts, Eolia Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and L'École de Philippe Gaulier. Gallons of gratitude for this courageous cast, friends, family, Madelyn, and Larry Kramer.

Ryan Quade

Ensemble
Ryan(they/he) is excited to be a part of bringing the Kramer Project to life. They earned a BA in Acting from Columbia College Chicago, and while there performed in multiple new works by queer playwrights. They look forward to breaking into the theatre scene here in Chicago and exploring what it has to offer.

Lynda Cortez

Understudy
Lynda (they/them) is an actor, singer, and writer from New Orleans. Some theatrical credits include History of Second Line (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival), Tomás and the Library Lady (Repertory Theatre St. Louis' Imaginary Theatre Company), and Quiz-Out (Ignite! New Play Festival). They earned their BFA in Acting from Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in 2020 where they found their love for Larry Kramer's work through a scene study from The Normal Heart freshman year. Lynda is honored to help embody Larry Kramer’s message with Open Space Arts.

Christopher Sylvie

Understudy
Christopher is an actor and model based in Chicago with a BS in Theatre Performance and Directing from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Previous credits include King of Shadows (Janus Theatre Company), The Last Day of the Commune (Prop Thtr), Back in the Day (Urban Theatre Company), As You Like It (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre), and Barney the Elf (Pride Films and Plays). Prior to the pandemic he appeared in Sonia Luther’s Multicultural Fashion Show modeling Wajahat Mirza’s designs. Christopher Sylvie is represented by Lily’s Talent and is an Equity Membership Candidate. www.christophersylvie.com

Michael-Ellen Walden

Understudy
Michael-Ellen Walden is an actor, writer, and musician who hails from Paducah, Kentucky and has since made Chicago home. They're passionate about work that is new, queer, imaginative, and/or weird. Acting credits include Gabe in Next To Normal, Arugula in Space Girl, and Margery in Vinegar Tom. He co-wrote the musicals A Bridge To The Moon (IG @abridgetothemoon), The Secret of Camp Elliot, and State of the Art while attending Northwestern University.

Larry Kramer

Author
Larry Kramer (1935-2020) founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1981 with five friends; the organization remains one of the world’s largest providers of services to those with AIDS. In 1987, he founded ACT UP, the AIDS advocacy and protest organization, which has been responsible for the development and release of almost every life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS. Kramer was the author of The Normal Heart, which was selected as one of the 100 Greatest Plays of the Twentieth Century by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and is the longest running play in the history of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater. He was also the author of The Destiny of Me, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won an Obie and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play. Both The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me are published by the Samuel French imprint of Concord Theatricals. Mr. Kramer’s screenplay adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, a film he also produced, was nominated for an Academy Award. His writing about AIDS is published in Reports from the Holocaust: The Story of an AIDS Activist and The Tragedy of Today’s Gays. His novel Faggots is one of the bestselling of all gay novels. He was a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and he was the first openly gay person and the first creative artist to be honored by an award from Common Cause. The American People, Kramer 's reimagining of American history, was begun 1975 and published in 2015. Kramer was the winner of a 2013 PEN Literary Award, receiving the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for a Master American Dramatist. A graduate of Yale, Kramer lived in New York and Connecticut with his lover, architect/designer David Webster.

David Zak

Director/Adaptor
David G. Zak (he/him) has won seven Jeff Awards in Chicago, including four for Directing (ANIMAL FARM, DR. SEX, PARADE, POPE JOAN), two for writing (THE HIROSHIMA PROJECT, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO) and a special Jeff for “Fostering Diversity in Chicago Theater.” In his 27-year stint as Artistic Director of Bailiwick Repertory, he directed the world premiere production of THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER, the US premieres of Sir Peter Hall’s ANIMAL FARM and JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA, and many original works including the political dramas THE HIROSHIMA PROJECT and SIN: A CARDINAL DEPOSED. He has directed in London (THE IRISH CURSE), Seoul (DOLLHOUSE, FANTA STICK, THE GHOST’S COOKBOOK), Dublin (OH, HOLY ALLEN GINSBERG, AT THE FLASH), Boston (SIN: A CARDINAL DEPOSED), Los Angeles (DR. SEX, AT THE FLASH) and New York (MARLOWE and POSEIDON: AN UPSIDE-DOWN MUSICAL). His productions of the American Premieres of JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA, Sir Peter Hall’s ANIMAL FARM, PARADE, POPE JOAN, and Dennis DeYoung’s HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAM all won the Jeff Award for BEST MUSICAL. His most recent Chicago productions have included: THE BOY FROM OZ, Terrence McNally’s SOME MEN, AFTERGLOW, PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE BOOK OF MERMAN, HIS GREATN$ESS, and UNDER THE RAINBOW FLAG. He was inducted into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013.

Magdiel Carmona

Projection Design
Magdiel (Projection Design) is a Chicago performer, creator, and producer. Most recently he was seen in A Red Orchid's production of Last Hermanos and pre-pandemic with Steep Theatre's The Leopard Play. Currently he is leading and producing the 2nd season of The Pathfinders Project (Collaboration with PrideArts Plays and Films). When not involved in creative endeavours he can be found up North in Rogers Park at Semilla's Latin Kitchen and Wine Bar, serving, managing, and even cooking at times. He sends his gratitude to the creative team of The Kramer Project, his family, and wonderful friends. "It's by having these hard conversations that we can begin to dream of a better future."

Larry Hart

Graphics
Larry Hart (Poster Graphics): Collaborating with Directors and Designers in many Chicago Theaters including: Steppenwolf, Body Politic, Pegasus, Lifeline, Bailiwick, and Prop Thtr. Resident Sound Designer: Pary Productions, Touchstone / Organic and Next Theater. Joseph Jefferson award: Sound Design “Hot House” for Steppenwolf. Joseph Jefferson citation Sound Design: “Execution of Justice” for Bailiwick. Actor/Director /Producer: Graduate of Goodman Theater, working with Tennessee Williams, James Earl Jones, Howard DaSilva, Morris Carnovisky, Len Cariou, and Eugenie Leontovich. A founding member of Kingston Mines Theater and instrumental in developing the off-loop theater movement in the 60s and 70s. Directing and producing for Pary Productions, acting with Adain Quinn and cast by Edward Albee in a production of “Tiny Alice”. Joseph Jefferson nomination for Actor/ Phil Hogan in “Moon for the Misbegotten” at Touchstone Theater. Acting Resume: http://actor.takeittohart.com/

Michael Miller

Intern
Michael is working towards a BA in Theatre at Chapman University, and is very excited to be helping with this production as an intern.

Rowan Collins

Assistant Stage Manager
Rowan Collins (they/them) is delighted to join Open Space Arts for their first production. A current student of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, Rowan is working towards a BA in Theatre, and in their time there have stage-managed Not Like That, as well as assistant stage-managed Machinal and We Are Pussy Riot. Rowan's past playwriting credits include Minute Hand to God (Knox College New Plays Festival IV) and Summer School Musical (with Sean Collins, Summer on Broadway).

Garrett Imhoff

Lighting Designer
Garrett is the light designer and tech for this year’s CRU profile ruin. He is also a theater enthusiast, sound tech, actor, singer, dancer, emcee, and comedian with going on four decades of experience working in and with the arts. His love for all things stage and production began in church and survived his cataclysmic fall into blasphemy and depravity. Today, in addition to his tech work with CRU, Garrett fundraisers as a member of the leather and fetish community and teaches country dancing, DJs, and emcees for the Second City Country Dance Association.

Amber Mandley

Stage Manager
Amber Mandley is thrilled to be working with Open Space Arts and doing live theatre again. Amber acted and directed in several Zoom productions during the pandemic including The Bee People. Other directing credits include Pope Joan II of Destin, Lesbian Shorts at Pride Arts Center and The Law & Order One. Acting credits include Scattershot 6, The Last Laugh and Dedication to name a few. Much love to Cheri and Casey!

Elayne LeTraunik

Production Manager
Elayne LeTraunik is a native Chicagoan and has been involved in the Chicago Theatre scene since the 1970s. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, she received a B.A. Degree with honors in History and Theatre. She continued her acting studies at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art (now part of the Central School of Drama) in London, England. Elayne has worked extensively both as an actress and a producer/director and starred in the Chicago premieres of “Nuts” and “Extremities.” She also appeared in “Beyond Therapy” which featured Skipp Sudduth and Carmen Roman. As a producer, she oversaw a number of award winning and critically acclaimed productions including the Chicago premiere of “A Dybbuk” directed by Curt Columbus and a revival of “Class Enemy” directed by Steve Scott. She has produced and/or directed such productions as “Today I am a Fountain Pen,” “The Stroop Report,” “From Generation to Generation,” and “Tunnel Rat.” The Genesis production of “The Last Cyclist” received 4 stars from Chicago Theatre Beat. Elayne directed “On Holy Ground” in 2014 and in 2015, directed “Creation’s Birthday,” “Jihad,” “Zelda at the Oasis,” and “Hope Throws Her Heart Away.” In 2016, Elayne directed “Muse of Fire,” “Satie et Cocteau,” “Einstein’s Gift,” and “Sister Africa.” While in Chicago,Elayne was represented exclusively by Gray Talent Group and worked in film, industrial film, print and TV work. Elayne is a member of Actors’ Equity, The International Centre for Women Playwrights and the League of Professional Theatre Women. In September of 2018, Elayne relocated to Beaumont, Texas where she continued to seek out new and important theatrical works and act as a grant writer for a number of not for profit organizations. Elayne will return to Chicago in August/September of 2022.

Multimedia


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The cast on the terrace at Center on Halsted

Donors

Thanks to the donors who made THE KRAMER PROJECT happen.

 

Lori Cannon

Tom Chiola

David Zak and Christopher Kirbabas

 

Jay Deratany and Curt Smith

Mary Beilder Gearen

John Myers

Don Cortelyou

Jim Gearen

Brenda Didier

Gregory Franklin

Kersten Broockmann

Mike Mangan

Elizabeth Ward

Benjamin Marshall

Amber Mandley and Cheri Tatar

Madeline Franklin

Mary Starn

Chris Glenn

Patrizia Acerra

Ailika Iris Taylor

Charles Barnett

 

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