A young white woman in a blue sleeveless dress sits while a young white man holding a microphone stands behind her. Two martini glasses are on the table before them, and a neon sign reading "cocktails" is on the wall.
Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man at Greenhouse Theater Center Credit: Liz Lauren

The Chicago production of off-Broadway’s longest running comedy is a fun, interactive night out with some surprisingly touching, and even useful, takeaways. The 75-minute show is based on a 1997 book of the same title (by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman), which the program reminds us was ahead of its time—before Will & Grace, Sex and the City, and Queer Eye started to normalize conversations about sex and amplify LGBTQ+ visibility. (Note: These are all very white examples—as was the show. It misses an opportunity to address intersectionality with race.) Set as a supposed book event at a local university, the show features bookish moderator Robyn (Emma Jo Boyden) in conversation with charismatic Sex Tips author Anderson (Adam Fane). Their tech support is hunky, ambiguously accented Stefan (Andrew Cawley the night I attended), who gamely reveals the most of himself throughout the performance, literally.

Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man
Open run: Thu-Sat 8 PM; Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336, greenhousetheater.org, $49.95.-$79.95.

The show, directed by Tim Drucker, deftly balances wise and thoughtful takes on sex with the humorous and ridiculous. As they say, knowledge equals confidence, which equals fun, which equals people being happy and moist. The cast takes the audience through a variety of audience participation activities, from shouting out colloquial names for men’s members to a variety of exercises in manual dexterity that I’ll leave to the imagination (one involves your rolled program, I’ll leave it there). Fane is hilarious, welcoming and poignant in his improv, antics, and sermonizing. For both gay men and straight women, our pursuit of pleasure is seen as wrong, he shares, and the best way to fight a repressive society is open dialogue, practical knowledge, and a healthy dose of adult humor.