The Nance | Pride Arts Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Patrick Rybarcyzk, Royen Kent, and Vince Kracht

Patrick Rybarcyzk, Royen Kent, and Vince Kracht

Paul Goyette

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 13 2017
Price: $10-$40
Douglas Carter Beane's 2013 play is a tribute to burlesque, an exploration of gay life in 1930s New York, and a portrait of a man living at the intersection of both of the above. In this Pride Films & Plays production directed by John Nasca, the tribute is fun and the exploration informative, but the portrait is nowhere near as compelling as it might be. Chauncey Miles is the "nance"—a comic whose onstage specialty is prancing caricatures of effeminate men. The script goes to considerable lengths to suggest that everything Chauncey does—including his acts of heroism—is animated by profound self-loathing. There's potential for something powerful in that (reminiscent of what Bill Murray achieved as Tommy Crickshaw, the ventriloquist in the 1999 movie Cradle Will Rock). Though Vince Kracht ingratiates himself as Chauncey, he never lays the character bare. The result is stretches of tepid drama relieved now and then by cool vintage shtick. —Tony Adler



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