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Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Breaking News: There Are Gays (Lots Of Them) Performing On Broadway

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 02:  Actor Gavin Creel att...Getty Images

Apparently, this is news. I mean sure, when a superstar like Queen Latifah or Tom Cruise eventually comes out, I guess it matters. Straight people get upset by stealth gays -- they upset their heterosexist sense of the way the world works, and like other cataclysmic world events (typhoons, wars, Kardashians) it can loosely, very loosely, be termed "newsworthy."

But a musical theatre actor on Broadway? A talented, mildly effeminate one at that? (We're not talking John Wayne here.) This warrants front page news? I just don't see how anyone could have imagined Mr. Creel otherwise...and that's a compliment to him, not an insult. News Flash: Broadway is, at its core, a pretty freakin' gay endeavor. That's not to say straight guys aren't welcome, of course they are. They're just outnumbered. Significantly.

Just look around. I mean, in the latest revival of West Side Story, it takes a HUGE suspension of disbelief to think those guys doing the arabesques and twirls and four-part harmonies are street-hardened gang thugs. From my seat in Row J, it seemed quite obvious that the Sharks and the Jets were seriously into one another. (At the rumble, I kept waiting for someone to break out the poppers and KY.) And don't get me started on the miners in Billy Elliot. Or the seamen (heh) in South Pacific. (And this is pure speculation on my part, but having seen it, I'll bet my house and my entire 401K that Gavin isn't the only 'mo in Hair. I'm guessing at least six, not counting lesbians.)

And for the record...I really loved Hair. It is easily, EASILY the best musical revival of the season, and should take the Tony in a walk if there's a God. Great stuff. (Gavin is also doing the best work of his career, I think.) And it's great that Gavin -- whose sexuality may be an "issue" now vis-a-vis the Advocate interview, but who has been open in the industry for most of his career -- is serving as a role model for LGBT youth. Everyone should come out. Period.

But this isn't about one actor. This idea of sexuality-as-news just doesn't make sense to me when you're talking about musical theater, which is right up there with the floral industry and the Catholic Church in terms of its homo history. Broadway basically screams Emerald City to me, and I can't believe, honestly, that this is shocking to people.

The only reason I can possibly imagine this is a news story is to warn homophobes that (EEEK!) there are godless sinners roaming up and down 42nd Street. But if the gajillion people who have seen Gavin in La Cage aux Folles, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hair, Godspell and other shows were under the impression that he was a rapid beaver hound, and now feel cheated and want their money back, I say, give it to 'em. There's a bus leaving for Branson, Missouri tonight with your name on it, people. We'll keep Broadway, you get Pat Boone. Enjoy.
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Blogger Vance said...

I read that Advocate article too and didn't realize he WASN'T out. Then again, I was just assuming so it kinda made me giddy that it was out and now I KNOW he could be my future husband. (hehe).

OH MAN. I so want to see Hair again...

4/1/09, 2:44 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

I simply can't imagine sitting through Hair at this late date. I saw it the first time on Broadway when I was a kid, and wished even then that I'd seen it when it was a small little show put on by Joe Papp (the soundtrack of which I still have on vinyl, featuring Martha Plimpton's MOM) instead of an extravaganza. Doesn't it seem a bit, well, silly and dated by now?

4/1/09, 5:25 AM  
Blogger Barry Rowell said...

A "rapid beaver hound"? That sounds like a girl's worst nightmare!

4/2/09, 11:44 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

This is the most shocking news since Nathan Lane shocked us all by coming out in the Advocate. Shocking!

4/3/09, 5:51 AM  
Blogger Jeve said...

Nice post! Agree with you on Hair...best musical revival of the season. Gavin Creel was fantastic.

4/10/09, 6:33 PM  

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