Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company is replacing its previously announced production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out! with the world premiere of Ms. Blakk For President, co-written by Moonlight Oscar winner McCraney and SpongeBob director Tina Landau (who was set to direct Wig Out!). The new play is inspired by the true story of America's first black drag queen presidential candidate.
McCraney, who had been previously scheduled to return to the Chicago stage in Wig Out!, will now star as the lead in Ms. Blakk For President, to be helmed by Landau. Performances will begin May 23, 2019, ahead of a June 3 opening. McCraney and Landau are both ensemble members at Steppenwolf.
Described by Steppenwolf as part campaign rally, part nightclub performance, part confessional, and "all PARTY!," Ms. Blakk For President takes us into the heart and mind of one of Chicago’s most radical and influential citizens: Ms. Joan Jett Blakk. Set in 1992 with the AIDS crisis at its height, Joan and the newly formed Queer Nation Chicago are determined to drag queer politics out of the closet.
“The Drag House culture that Wig Out! embodies is at its core mutable; the play even says so in the beginning, 'By the time the play is produced, assuming it would be produced, all of the language and song may be antiquated,'” says McCraney in a statement. “This has become real true. AND THANK GOD FOR IT. I still hope to revisit and revise Wig Out! , but for now Tina and I want to focus on something that is current and bold and allows me to use some tools that I haven't exercised in a while; my acting. We couldn’t be more excited to bring Ms. Blakk For President, to Chicago.”
Ms. Blakk For President runs in the same time slot as the previously announced show.
As previously reported, McCraney will make his Broadway debut this year with his play Choir Boy. The Manhattan Theatre Club production will begin performances December 27 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre ahead of a January 22, 2019, opening night.