The alternative cabaret, which emphasizes self-ownership for women and LGBTQ performers, celebrates a decade running in Chicago.
Published Sept. 4, 2019, at 9:56 a.m.
Text by Brittany Sowacke
“It’s not just a tit show, it’s a show-us-some-vulnerable-shit show,” bellows Mary Williamson. She’s echoed by her co-hosts, Molly Brennan and Sydney Charles, until their chant fills the Den Theatre in Wicker Park. The 21 numbers that make up the Fly Honey Show, an alternative cabaret now in its tenth year, range from seductive to hilarious to downright naughty, breaking and healing hearts in the packed black-box theater.
If the Fly Honeys were a church, their chief tenet would be to worship at the altar of acceptance. The project was formed after a one-off performance at the Inconvenience in 2009, and has since ballooned to more than 300 performers. Its goal? “To elevate women + trans + nonbinary + LGBTQIA individuals and allies through a raucous reimagination of the classic cabaret,” according to its site. Performers, for example, choose their own costumes, one of several ways the group emphasizes ownership of the self.
Each week, new guest performers from across the city join the cast for a five-week run; the lineup comprises everybody from classically trained dancers to teachers to first-time performers.
The show, created by Erin Kilmurray, runs for one more weekend at the Den (September 5 through 7). And though tickets are sold out online, standing-room passes are available at the door day-of. Just act quickly: The line begins forming as early as three hours before show time.