Grand Marshal announced for Chicago's 48th annual Pride Parade

Wed. May 24, 2017 7:35 AM by News Staff

lea delaria

Chicago, IL - PRIDEChicago, the organizers of Chicago's annual gay pride parade, announced Wednesday that "Orange is the New Blackstar Lea DeLaria will be the Grand Marshal for the 48th annual Chicago Pride Parade.

The 58-year-old performer is best-know for her SAG Award-winning role "Big Boo' Black in the Netflix hit series; however, her multifaceted career as a comedian, actress and jazz musician has spanned decades.

An Illinois native, DeLaria has been a long-time LGBT activist. Two years ago, She received the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for her work as a cutting-edge performer, who has used her talent to entertain and enlighten millions of Americans.

On receiving the award at the 2015 Equality Illinois Gala in Chicago, DeLaria said, "As an out performer for over 33 years who made it her life's work to change peoples perception of butch, queer and LGBT, it is an honor for me to receive such recognition from my home state. I feel like I'm doing Belleville proud. Go Maroons!"

DeLaria holds the distinction of being the first openly gay comic on television in America, which led to countless television and film roles portraying police lieutenants, PE teachers, and the lesbian who inappropriately hits on straight women. Her television credits include "Awkward", "Clarence", "Californication", "The Oblongs", "One Life to Live", "Law and Order SVU", "Will and Grace", "Friends" and "Matlock". Her film credits include "First Wives Club", "Dear Dumb Diary" and "Edge of Seventeen."

She's received Obie and Theater World Awards and a Drama Desk nomination for her portrayal of Hildy in the Public Theatre's revival of "On the Town", an Ovation nomination for "The Boys From Syracuse" and has played both Eddie and Dr. Scott in the gender-bending Broadway musical "The Rocky Horror Show".

DeLaria was the featured vocalist at the 50th anniversary Newport Jazz Festival, and she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Chicago's Symphony Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

DeLaria has five records on the Warner Jazz and Classics label, and her book "Lea's Book of Rules for the World" is in it's third printing at Bantam Doubleday and Dell.

Her sixth record, "House of David; delaria+bowie=jazz", was released in summer 2015 to critical acclaim.

DeLaria will be riding in a convertible near the front of the parade procession on Sunday, June 25.

Later that evening, She will be performing an evening of comedy of music at Ravinia's historic Martin Theatre. This show is 18+. Tickets and show information are available at

48th annual Chicago Pride Parade

The 2017 Chicago Pride Parade will remain in the Lakeview and Uptown neighborhoods again this year. The parade will step off at noon on Sunday, June 25 at Broadway and Montrose, then the 150 festive and colorful entries will march the 21-block parade route before ending on Diversey in Lincoln Park.

The Chicago Pride Parade is one of 31 parades in the City of Chicago, and all are supposed to be 2 hours, 15 minutes. The parade is considered to be the second-largest in Chicago with an estimated crowd of one million people attending last year.

"The parade went very well (last year) with cross representation of a lot of community groups, businesses, elected officials and others," parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer told

The 2016 parade included a moving tribute at the start to the 49 killed weeks earlier at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. "That was a commemoration and tribute, and the right thing to do," Pfeiffer said.

There are about 90 Pride Parades annually in the U.S., and about 13 are held on the last Sunday in June.

Related: 2017 Chicago Pride Month Calendar 

Related: Chicago Pride Fest 2017 entertainment line-up announced