‘Grindr The Opera (An Unauthorized Parody)’ at Pride Arts Center June 23 – July 28


CHICAGO – Pride Films and Plays will mount a fully staged production this summer of “Grindr The Opera (An Unauthorized Parody)” – the satirical musical about the gay hookup app that changed the landscape of gay relationships.

The musical was produced in the UK last year, in an extended, sold-out production at London’s Above the Stag Theatre (the UK’s only full-time professional LGBT+ theater), and won the 2019 Off West End Award (or OFFIE) for “Best New Musical” this past February. “Grindr The Opera,” by New York-based composer-lyricist-playwright Erik Ransom, was an entry in the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival following staged readings in New York in 2015 and 2017 and a full production in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in fall 2017. The Pride Films and Plays production will be directed by John Cardone with choreography, costume design, and co-direction by Shawn Quinlan. Tommy Ross will be Music Director. It will be performed in the 44-seat Buena stage of the Pride Arts Center from June 23 through July 28, where it will alternate with S. Asher Gelman’s “Afterglow,” which opened on March 27 and will be extended for a second time, running through July 28. Press opening for “Grindr The Opera” will be Tuesday, June 25 at 8:00 pm.

“Grindr The Opera” puts the most notorious gay hook-up app into the exaggerated world of opera. With musical styles ranging from baroque to contemporary pop, “Grindr The Opera” is a daring, humorous look at the changing landscape of gay relationships, and the greatest catalyst for the shift: Grindr.

In the musical, we meet Grindr, a mythical siren from remote antiquity who has been awoken from her millennial slumber by technology. Her power, which is derived from human lust, is exhibited as she manipulates her gay devotees in a soaring soprano.

Next we meet the boys: Devon is a romantic, Tom is a cynic, Jack is a twink and Don is a daddy. These four gay men of different “Tribes” meet via the medium of the Grindr app, each seeking a different type of connection. Grindr guides them to intersect to hilarious and calamitous results, culminating in a grand finale wherein all the dirty laundry tumbles out. Though the opera lives in the world of parody, it touches on some very serious, hot-button issues that exist in the gay community as it transitions into a time of wider acceptance and easy access to opportunities of both romance and lust to be sated.

In addition to his directing duties, Cardone will reprise the role of Don he played in the performance at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. His cast will also include Bruno Rivera as Grindr, Ben Broughton as Tom, Justin Cavazos as Devon, Evan Wilhelm as Jack, and Andrew Flynn and Brandon Krisko as the Grindrettes – Dilectus and Occulto, respectively. Understudies will be Andrew Flynn (Tom), Brandon Krisko (Jack), Evan Wilhelm (Grindr), and Shawn Quinlan (Grindrette, Devon).

Press release from Pride Films and Plays