Before My Eyes*
Jan 29Feb 28, 1998
By Joel Drake Johnson


Sandy Shinner


Joel Drake Johnson


Tim Hendrickson (John)
Rob Riley (Ross)
Annabel Armour (Ann)
Marc Silvia (Miss Cartwright/Rev. Boatman/Ruth/Barbra)
Jeff Parker (Monte/Phillip/Rich/AJ)


Chicago playwright Joel Drake Johnson writes what he’s lived, and so honestly that Before My Eyes seems both common knowledge and profound revelation. The play follows a downstate family–John, a gay man, and his parents–from 1962 to 1988. John’s coming out is poignantly particular, with heft and humor, overcoming the familiar with the fresh. Yes, John is somewhat stereotypical–a picked-on bookworm-sissy who likes to do Mom’s hair, pick her wardrobe, fantasize over muscle magazines, and dance to Streisand. But he’s also a peacemaker in his parents’ quarrels, and when he goes to college, he lives out their abandoned ambitions. His father wants what’s best for John but is wise enough not to define it, while the mother is John’s secret sharer, surrogate sister, and finally his literary disciple. (Source credited:

Production Team

Sandy Shinner: Director
Holly Eyman: Assistant Set and Costume Designer
Phillip Frank: Assistant Lighting Designer
Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman: Sound Designers
Daniel Cunningham: Props Master
Nick Bartels: Technical Director
Louis Jeroslow: Master Electrician
Andres Puigbo and Jack Magaw: Sound Engineer
Shane Spaulding: Stage Manager
Darcy Hughes: Assistant Director