Our Chicago Gay Men's Chorus show opens tonight -- and it closes tomorrow night after a grand total of three performances, so you have a very small window of opportunity to see us.
We had our final dress rehearsal last night, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the whole thing.
It's not all about us, either; we usually invite a guest chorus to join us for our Pride show. And this year we've even thrown in a BONUS chorus -- giving you THREE choruses of singing homosexuals for the price of ONE!
The first group on our stage is our sister ensemble, the Windy City Gay Chorus. It's gotten smaller over the years, but it still packs a musical wallop. My favorite piece from the Windy City set is its closer, a rousing arrangement of "What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor?" Very fun.
The second group is visiting us all the way from Hamburg, Germany, Chicago's sister city. (Do you see a "sisters" theme here? While it would be fun to honor this coincidence by singing "Sisters" from White Christmas, we've opted simply to call our show Sisters: Hands Across the Water.)
Anyway, back to the second chorus: Schola Cantorosa. They're German. They're all vaguely attractive daddy-bear types. And their set is positively Lynchian ... if David Lynch directed a high-school pirate musical featuring a chorus of aging, hairy German guys. Parts of their performance are funny. Parts are really quite beautiful. And parts are positively bizarre. Let's just say you haven't experienced quality theater until you've seen a bunch of hairy German homos in pirate outfits singing "MacArthur Park." Barefoot. In French.
And then we get to our part of the show. The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus has long been known for silly, irreverent, energetic, clever performances. And lately, we've been working hard to add adjectives like musical, lyrical, cerebral and challenging to that list. And we're succeeding quite nicely.
We open with Aaron Copland's austere "Zion's Walls" and segue into a beautiful piece our endlessly talented musical director wrote to a sexually charged passage from Song of Songs. Two of my other favorite numbers are a demonically powerful, wickedly syncopated piece in Latin called "Daemon Irrepit Callidus" and a haunting arrangement of "Tenting Tonight" that offers a poignant commentary on our country's state of war. And we close our set with a hoppin' little dance segment (with gen-you-ine Appalachian clogging!) that I choreographed.
Then all three choruses join forces to close the show with a group number that's a little slice of hell for anyone on stage who considers himself any kind of musician. The Germans picked it out, and it's a freakishly stupid song with freakishly stupid lyrics ("Love iiiiiiiiiiiiis the answeeeeeeeer!") that a great many of us have already performed. IN JUNIOR-HIGH SWING CHOIR.
Embarrassing ensemble closer notwithstanding, this concert promises to be pretty amazing. So go! Get your tickets! Enjoy our musicianship! Applaud us! Loudly!
Here's all the info you need:
Friday, July 9, 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 10, 5:00 pm
Saturday, July 10, 8:30 pm
The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago (at Lincoln and Wellington)
Tickets are available at:
The Athenaeum Theater Box Office: 773-935-6860
Ticketmaster: 312-902-1500 or ticketmaster.com