Ms. Blakk for President will be the fifth Steppenwolf premiere for Tarell Alvin McCraney, who joined the ensemble in 2010.
“I just want to make sure that this story lives on,” says playwright and Academy Award-winning Moonlight screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney of his new play, Ms. Blakk for President, co-written with Tina Landau. The—wildly true—story is this: In 1992, while President George H.W. Bush was running for reelection and the AIDS crisis raged, an outspoken Chicago drag queen by the name of Joan Jett Blakk announced her candidacy for president. McCraney, who also stars as Blakk, knows you probably haven’t heard about this—he himself had no clue until eight months ago. “I’m excited for people getting to know a real moment in history that took place down the street,” he says. The show, which opens June 3 at Steppenwolf Theatre, promises to put the truth, and plenty of fun, right in your face with brand-new “party zone” seating. “We didn’t want the audience to drift to a faraway land,” McCraney says. “We’re in the middle of a political season. It’s not really a question of ‘Why right now?’ but rather ‘Why did it take us so long to hear this story?’” Through July 14, tickets $20-$94, 1650 N. Halsted St., steppenwolf.org