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Columbia College Chicago
Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South
Recipient of Black Theatre Alliance Awards:
Best Solo Performance (E. Patrick Johnson)
Best Lighting Design (Kathy Perkins)

National Tour Launches in DC
September 13 - October 9
Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206


Sweet Tea is "a remarkable personal journey"
          - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
"Hugely entertaining"
          - Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago
"Sweet Tea does what theater is meant to"
          - Centerstage
"A vibrant performance"
          - Chicago Theater Blog
"This SWEET TEA is a tall, refreshing drink of Southern hospitality!"
          - ChicagoNow

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Travels to D.C. September 2011: Launch of National Tour at Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA! The Institute is proud to announce that Signature Theatre (2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award winner) will launch the national tour of the theatrical production, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, written and performed by Institute Fellow and Black Theatre Alliance Award recipient for Best Solo Performance, E. Patrick Johnson, directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj. Sweet Tea at Signature Theatre is produced through special arrangement with Jane M. Saks. In the play, dynamic performer, author and educator, E. Patrick Johnson seamlessly portrays interviewees from his publication on black, gay southern life. The acclaimed book of the same name is an oral history of Southern black gay men ranging in age from 19 to 93 that explores the relationship between blackness, sexuality and southern culture. The world premiere in Chicago in May 2010 of Sweet Tea was Co-produced by the Institute, Jane M. Saks and About Face Theatre. Friends of the Institute receive a 15% discount on tickets! Visit www.signature-theatre.org to purchase tickets and enter code INST, or call 703-820-9771. For more information about the original production and the national tour: www.colum.edu/institutewomengender.

Click here for a taste of Sweet Tea produced by Stephen J. Lewis

Click here to see a rehearsal video produced by Stephen J. Lewis.

Click here to read Gaper Block's Sweet Tea Interview with E. Patrick Johnson, Daniel Alexander Jones and Jane M. Saks

Click here to watch a video by Stephen J. Lewis about the production of Sweet Tea

Read E. Patrick Johnson's interview with North Carolina press on the making of Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South the book

Quotes from the Chicago Creative Team
"E. Patrick becomes, himself, a beautiful prism through whom we can see refracted the infinite possibilities of each life he chronicles and the power of the choices made and circumstances transformed by every man in Sweet Tea," says director Daniel Alexander Jones.
"It is a privilege and an honor to have worked with E. Patrick Johnson over several years to introduce into the theatrical canon the lives and stories of individuals who have often been invisible," says Jane M. Saks, Co-Producer and Executive Director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute. "What E. Patrick does is bring oxygen and audiences to stories we really cannot live without knowing. The men in Sweet Tea as well as E. Patrick himself bring depth, poignancy and poetry to their individual stories, as well as great power and impact to the narrative landscape of gay black men of the South."
"The journey E. Patrick Johnson takes as a star academic, anthropologist and gay man returning to his roots is truly inspiring," says About Face Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar. "Through him Chicago audiences will see how black gay men over several generations have wrestled with what's important to them: everything from the church and family to their mothers' recipe for sweet tea."

Major Funding provided by:


Additional Support provided by:

Leadership Donors of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender
in the Arts and Media

Lead Supporters of About Face Theatre