Madonna, Good Housekeeping Cover Girl (March 15, 2000)
A Gay Son's Struggle Depicted In TV Movie "Doing Time on Maple Drive" (March 16, 1992)

Remembering My First Broadway Show (March 16, 1979)




Every card-carrying homosexual remembers his first Broadway show.  Mine was On the 20th Century, which I saw on March 16, 1979, a few days before it closed (the show was winner of the Tony for Best Musical in 1978.)  I saw the show with my older brother, and our orchestra seats were $17.50 apiece.  Since I'm not a native New Yorker, it wasn't until I was 21 that I saw my first show.  However, once I moved to New York, I went to the theater on a regular basis.  And while I don't consider myself a "theater queen", I manage to see about four or five shows every year (and I have the Playbills and ticket stubs as proof).  My peak year was 2002 when I saw thirteen.  And of the 150+ shows I've seen, On the Town was the only one I walked out of.


My most favorite shows: Evita; Anything Goes; Damn Yankees (a great shower scene); The Music Man; and 42nd St.  Off-Broadway productions I've really enjoyed include Oil City Symphony; Take Me Out (an even hotter shower scene than Damn Yankees); Eurycides; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Oil City Symphony; and Musical of Musicals: The Musical (which I saw three times). 


Evita_playbill Musicalofmusicals



Some memories that stick with me:

  • During a July 1995 performance of Hamlet a rainstorm during the second half was so torrential that water steadily dripped onto the stage. 
  • The haunting scene in the very short-lived Coram Boy (which closed after just 30 performances in May 2007) where dead babies were exhumed from little graves scattered around the stage under trap doors. 
  • Sideshow's awkward scenes in which the Siamese twin sisters discussed how to coordinate sex with their fiances.
  • The night I saw How to Succeed in Business (the '95 revival with Matthew Broderick) was Sign Language Night and I became distracted by the signer who I could see from the corner of my eye.
  • I was seated in the front row at a performance of Xanadu and at one point in the show Cheyenne Jackson's character (pictured, below) came down from the stage and did a little dance in front of me.    



  • Not until I sat down and opened my Playbill did I discover that Amadeus wasn't a musical! 
  • The heartbreakingly beautiful last story of Metamorphoses in which the elderly couple became two intertwined trees.
  • The audience's excited anticipation before the curtain went up at a preview performance of The Producers a week before it opened.


Most of us have experienced the heartache of discovering the little white slip in their Playbill announcing a featured actor isn't appearing in that day's performance.  My disappointments have included: no Jennifer Holliday in Dreamgirls; no Sutton Foster in The Drowsy Chaperone; no Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked (at least Idina Menzel performed) and no Douglas Hodge in La Cage.


I'm not a big fan, but I've seen Nathan Lane in six shows: The Lisbon Traviata; Guys & Dolls; Love, Valour, Compassion!; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; The Producers; and Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus . Patti LuPone has starred in five: Evita; Anything Goes; Pal Joey; Gypsy; and War Paint.  And although I've seen nine Steven Sondheim musicals, I never saw Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods or A Little Night Music.





Finally, "huzzah!" to gay-themed shows I've greatly enjoyed: Angels in America: Millennium Approaches; Love, Valour, Compassion!; Take Me Out; Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (in 1995 and 2020); Whoop-De-Doo!; End of the World Party; March of the Falsettos; Naked Boys Singing; Torch Song Trilogy; and The Temperamentals. 











Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)