Open Space Arts, the company formed in 2022 dedicated to combating homophobia and antisemitism through film presentations and live performances, has announced two hyper-intimate, “micro-theater” dramatic productions to be staged in September and October 2023. The full-length plays will be performed in the company’s storefront space, seating only 20 patrons, at 1411 W. Wilson Avenue, just east of Clark Street In Uptown.
The first offering will be MASSAGE THERAPY, a newly revised version of the two-character play by Joe Godfrey that premiered at the Key West Theater Festival in 2003 and was runner-up in the Eric Bentley New Play Competition. In MASSAGE THERAPY, a gay massage therapist and his female client grow to form an unusually strong bond over one year. MASSAGE THERAPY will play nine performances, from September 16 through October 1. David Zak will direct Mary Anne Bowman and Raymond Nicholas in the roles of the client and the massage therapist. The SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL called the play the “Best new play in the Key West Festival. Plays gingerly on the heart.”
The second play in the fall series will be the first production of David Meyers’ ROSENBERG, a four-character drama about the attorney who prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for treason in 1951. The conviction he won sent them to the electric chair but led the attorney and his wife to question their new-found success and notoriety and reassess their values. ROSENBERG will play October 21 - November 5, 2023. Michael D. Graham will direct a cast to be announced.
Tickets for both plays are $25 ($20 for seniors and students) and are on sale now at https://www.goelevent.com/OpenSpaceArts/e/Search. Open Space Arts memberships, offering substantial discounts to stage productions, discounted or free access to film screenings, and free admission to staged readings of plays and screenplays, are also available for $10.00 per month. More information is available at https://openspacearts.com/.
Open Space Arts was founded in 2022 by David Zak and Elayne LeTraunik with the mission of producing stage works as well as the Pride Film Festival presentations of LGBTQ films online and occasionally in-person. The company’s inaugural production was THE KRAMER PROJECT, directed and adapted by David Zak from Larry Kramer’s watershed speech “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays.” Pride Film Festival screenings of LGBTQ short, medium-length and feature films from around the world, were presented continuously from December 2022 until early July 2023; and will resume in November.
David Zak and Elayne LeTraunik
By Joe Godfrey
Directed by David Zak
featuring Mary Anne Bowman and Raymond Nicholas
Performance Dates: September 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 27, 29, 30, October 1
All curtain times 7:30 pm
Open Space Arts
1411 W. Wilson Ave.,
Tickets $25.00 ($20 for seniors and students), available at https://www.goelevent.com/OpenSpaceArts/e/Search
Over the course of a year, a gay massage therapist and his female client grow to form an unusually strong bond. At first skeptical of each other, the two develop trust, and come to treasure their time together. When the client needs extraordinary support from the therapist, their bond is put to a huge test. This serious drama also provides surprises, and lots of humor.
By David Meyers
Directed by Michael D. Graham
Performance Dates: October 21, 22, 25, 28, 29, November 1, 3, 4, 5
All curtain times 7:30 pm
Open Space Arts
1411 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago
Tickets:$25.00, available at https://www.goelevent.com/OpenSpaceArts/e/Search
Sam Goodstein prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for treason in the trial of the century. Their conviction led Sam and his wife Judith to success, notoriety, and a world that had been previously closed to them. When troubling questions arise about the case, both Sam and Judith must decide how much they're willing to sacrifice for that success and how much they can compromise and still stay who they are. ROSENBERG examines power, gender, and political courage in Washington, DC -- and what has changed -- or hasn't changed -- since 1953.
Joe Godfrey (Playwright, MASSAGE THERAPY) Joe Godfrey is a New York City and Connecticut-based writer. His full-length plays that have been produced around the United Staes include CLAPTRAPP, IN GOOD FAITH (which starred Tony-winner George Grizzard), MASSAGE THERAPY (named runner-up in the Eric Bentley New Play Competition), BED & BREAKFAST, the holiday play A QUEER CAROL COMMUNICATIONS, THE CALL BACK, CHILD SUPPORT, and FLIGHT. His one-acts, SWAN SONG, TAKE TWO, BEEP, RABBIT EARS, and WILD SPOTS, among others, have been featured in festivals around the country.
David Zak (Director, MASSAGE THERAPY) 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 DAME 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 GREATNESS, and UNDER THE RAINBOW FLAG. He was inducted into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013.
David Meyers (Playwright, ROSENBERG). David’s plays have been read, performed, and developed off-Broadway by The Platform Group, The Barrow Group, and the Abingdon Theatre Company, at the Lark Play Development Center, Naked Angels, Nylon Fusion Collective, The Drawing Board, and at professional theatres across the country. His work has been published by Applause, Smith and Kraus, and Indie Theater Now, and he has been a resident playwright at the Abingdon Theatre Company and Project Y. He previously worked for three years in the West Wing of the White House, and later as a speechwriter in the U.S. Senate.
Michael D. Graham (Director, ROSENBERG) directed Promethean Theatre Ensemble’s Jeff award-nominated MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION. For PrideArts, he directed CASA VALENTINA; HOLDING THE MAN; TEN DOLLAR HOUSE; and BARNEY THE ELF. Other favorite directing credits include: THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP; THE MISANTHROPE; SMASH! (adapted from Shaw's THE UNSOCIAL SOCIALIST); PARALLEL LIVES; and THE MEMORY OF WATER for Piccolo Theatre; SPREADING THE NEWS (Halcyon Theatre); EXPATRIATES (the side project); METROPOLITAN OPERAS (ActOne Studios); THE YEARS (Appetite Theatre); and BUTLEY (Hubris Productions). In addition to directing, Michael has worked in the Chicago area as an actor, producer, playwright, dramaturg, dialect coach, sound designer, props designer, and stage manager.
About Open Space Arts
OPEN SPACE ARTS, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to combating homophobia and antisemitism through the transformative power of creativity and cultural expression. Our mission is to foster inclusivity, promote understanding, and empower marginalized communities by utilizing various artistic mediums to challenge discriminatory beliefs and attitudes.
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. www.openspacearts.com