Pride Film & Plays Brings ‘Richmond Jim’ To Naked July Fest At National Pastime Theater

Pride Films and Plays will present Cal Yeomans’s award-winning but long-lost play Richmond Jim to celebrate Pride Month. Richmond Jim will be featured in the Naked July Fest at National Pastime Theater and run June 29 to August 10.

As the play opens, a young man newly arrived in New York finds himself in the arms of Mike, an older man well-versed in the various pleasures of the body, and an erotic metamorphosis begins. The powerful slice-of-life drama offers “interesting statements about youth and innocence and how quickly both can disappear,” according to the San Francisco Crusader. Robert Chesley, who later went on to write the gay classic Jerker, called it “the first genuine gay play.”

Richmond Jim stars PFP Ensemble Members Kris Hyland (as Jim) and Jamie Smith (as Biddy) with Chris Kossen as Mike. David Zak directs, with costumes by John Nasca.

Richmond Jim plays on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight on June 29 and 30, July 6 and 7, and August 3 and 4. Performances at 8 pm are slated for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, July 10 – 12, Thursday, July 19, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 24 and 25, Wednesday and Thursday, August 7 and 8. There are also 6 pm performances on Sunday, July 15 and 22. The final performance is August 8. All tickets are $20.

All performances will be presented as part of the fourth annual Naked July Fest at Chicago’s National Pastime Theater, 941 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Phone: 773-327-7077, Website: www.npt2.com. For tickets to Richmond Jim, visit www.brownpapertickets.com or call 1 800 838 3006.

“As we explore our mission to develop ‘what’s new and who’s next’ in LGBT plays and screenplays,” says PFP’s Executive Director David Zak, “we have also had the chance to explore important writing that has come before. When I first read Richmond Jim, I felt strongly that this play – which is a wonderful reflection of gay life before AIDS – would touch those who lived through this period, and teach those who have been born since.”

Richmond Jim was originally produced by Theatre Rhinoceros, was named as Best Gay Play of the Year, was chosen to play at the First National Gay Arts Festival in NYC in 1980, and won San Francisco’s 1980 Cable Car Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. It has not been produced since 1983.

Playwright Cal Yeomans was one of the founders of gay theatre. His plays were not only manifestations of the sexual liberation of the times, but were also attempts to overcome what he had been raised to despise, written at the pivotal moment of gay history between the Stonewall riots and the AIDS epidemic. In addition to Richmond Jim, his works include At the End of the Road, In the Shadow of a Rainbow, The Line Forms to the Rear, and many others. Yeomans died in 2001 at age 63.