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‘All That He Was’ 25th Anniversary Benefit Concert and cast announced for March 11

Top row L-R: Frankie Leo Bennett, Patrick Byrnes, Jayla Williams-Craig
Middle row L-R: Veronica Garza, Ashlee Hardgrave, John Marshall Jr.
Bottom row: Christea Parent, Allison Petrillo and George Toles.
(Photo from Pride Arts Center)

CHICAGO — This one-night-only event will support Pride Films and Plays and Chicago-area AIDS services charities including AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and the Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN).

For one night only, Pride Arts Center will host a benefit concert presentation of the 1993 AIDS-themed Musical ALL THAT HE WAS. With music by Cindy O’Connor and book and lyrics by Larry Todd (Johnson) Cousineau, this winner of the National Playwright’s Award and the ACTF Musical Theatre Award is a moving and surprisingly funny account of one man’s struggle with AIDS and the reverberations of his death. The deceased functions as host and narrator, invisible among the friends and family assembled to pay him final respects. Hoping for a day when the shattered pieces of his life can come together, he leads them on a journey of shared reminiscences.

The performance will feature a talented cast of Chicago-based actors including Frankie Leo Bennett, Patrick Byrnes, Jayla Williams-Craig, Veronica Garza, Ashlee Hardgrave, John Marshall Jr., Christea Parent, Allison Petrillo and George Toles. Cousineau will direct and produce the event, and O’Connor will be the Musical Director.

ALL THAT HE WAS toured nationally in the 90’s, was featured at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and represented the US at the Festival Vox Humana in Barcelona, Spain, before settling in to a critically-acclaimed run in Los Angeles, where it received a Robby award for Best New Musical. The Los Angeles Times said it “Arches from dysfunctionalism, jealousies and misunderstandings to unsteady truces and well-earned unities …It carries on a bright, serious, witty and inclusive dialogue with anyone who may sit down in front of it.” The hit song from ALL THAT HE WAS, “Our First Christmas,” is featured on the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles’ 2018 CD, JOYFUL AND TRIUMPHANT, now available on iTunes.

Press release from Pride Arts Center

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