Broadway Feed

Celebrating the Pink Super Bowl - 2012 Tony Awards

Book_of_mormon_2012Although the opening number from The Book of Mormon was delightful, host Neil Patrick Harris' opener What if Life Were Like Theater was weak compared to last year's cheeky Broadway - It's Not for Gays Anymore!  And I thought the entire show was rather lackluster compared to last year's gay-gay-GAY telecast.  (The commercial for Les Miz packed more of an emotional punch than most of the show.)


I was delighted by Judith Light's win for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Other Desert Cities.  She's been a tireless champion of gay causes.


There were very few gay references.  And just one person during his acceptance speech, Newsie's lyricist Jack Feldman, thanked his same-sex partner.


Both times Harvey Firestein was shown in the audience he was chewing gum a la Britney Spears.


Corbin_bleuRickymartin_tony_awardsJeremy_jordan_2012tonyawardsMany of the women presenters looked a bit haggard, especially Amanda Seyfried, Candice Bergen and Ellen Barkin.  On the other hand how dashing were Nick Jonas, James Marsden, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Jordan (from Newsies, pictured near right), Corbin Bleu (from Godspell, pictured far right), Ricky Martin, Norm Lewis (Porgy & Bess) and Steve Kazee from Once?  


Danny_burstein_tony_awardsPorgy_2012tonysDanny Burstein's number from Follies was rather tepid (despite his colorful outfit).  Perhaps it was due to the fact that the show closed some time ago.  (I thought it awkward that Bernadette Peters, looking distracted, was chosen to introduce the number since she was the only leading actor in the show who didn't get a nomination.)  For me the show's most rousing numbers were those from Newsies and the montage of Gershwin classics from Porgy & Bess


Has there ever been a Tonys ceremony where two award winners lost parents so recently?  Judy Kaye (Nice Work If You Can Get It) lost her father last week while Steve Kazee's mother died on Easter Sunday.  Both gave touching tributes. 


Hugh_jackman_with_wifeCongrats to Hugh Jackman for his "See, I Have a Wife and I'll Kiss Her on Stage To Prove I'm Straight and Don't Have a Boyfriend on the Side" award.



Matthew_broderick_tonyawardsIt was painful watching puffy and lead-footed Matthew Broderick performing his number from Nice Work, especially for those who remember the lithe Tommy Tune performing the very same number nearly 30 years ago in the musical My One and Only.  And where was Broderick's wife, Sarah Jessica Parker?  Perhaps on location filming another one of her critically panned movies.  


After gushing about how thrilled she was to have written the score for the upcoming musical version of Diner presenter Sheryl Crow then proceeded to race through the nominees for best score in record time. 


This year's "Who Invited Her?" award (which went to Christie Brinkley in 2011) was given to Tyler Perry.   


That had to be the thinnest Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray history.  


Frau_farbissinaElena_rogerViewers could be forgiven if they thought the musical was called Che rather than Evita since in the number that was performed Elena Rogers, the actress who plays Eva Peron, had one line.  And I was struck by her close resemblance to the character Frau Farbissina from the Austin Powers movies.


Matt_stone_trey_parkerPatti_and_mandiThe coupling of Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin as presenters was touching and their patter was sweet, but the best presenters of all were the last, Book of Mormon co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone (without the third co-creator, Robert Lopez), who presented this year's award for Best Musical.          





AIDS Drama "Angels in America" Opens on Broadway (May 4, 1993)

Angelsinamerica On May 4, 1993 Angels in America: Millennium Approaches opened on Broadway to wide acclaim.  A sweeping tale about the AIDS crisis, the drama had an array of compelling characters who were eccentric, despicable and tragic (it also had a couple of frightening angels), all who came together to create a thought-provoking, emotionally wrenching and thrilling theater experience.   A month after opening it won the Tony for Best Play.  It also won a Pulitzer Prize for playwright Tony Kushner.  The following year Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika opened and it also won the Tony for Best Play.  Then in 2003 a much lauded TV production (encompassing Parts 1 and 2) aired on HBO starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson.  



Roycohn An especially interesting character in the play wasn't fictional - New York attorney Roy Cohn.  He was notorious for participating in the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s when he helped weed out alleged Communist sympathizers and homosexuals from the federal government.  Yet Cohn himself was a closeted gay man.  After being diagnosed with AIDS, he vehemently denied having it.  But eight years after his death, Kushner gave him a prominent role so all could see what a contemptible, self-loathing individual he was. 



Angelsinamerica2 Although Angels in America was set in the mid-80s when nothing but hopelessness came with an AIDS diagnosis, by 1993 hope had arrived with the arrival of a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors.  They largely turned AIDS/HIV into a manageable condition for many.  (And 20 years later the drug Truvada was approved as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (more popularly known as PrEP) for those who are negative.  





Madonna Makes Her Broadway Acting Debut in David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow" (May 3, 1988)

Speedtheplow_madonna Always one to push the envelope, Madonna was able to cross off "perform on Broadway" from her bucket list on May 3, 1988 when she co-starred with Joe Mantegna and Ron Silver (who won a Tony for Best Actor) in David Mamet's play, Speed-the-Plow.  It was an early example of a show hiring a popular non-actor to draw an audience.  Plow ran thru New Year's Eve.   Madonna played the role of Karen, a temp in a Hollywood studio who turned out to be a smooth operator.  At the time of this acting stint she was in between albums, 1986's True Blue and 1989's Like a Prayer.  I saw the play six weeks after it opened, on June 14, with a fellow I dated briefly.  We had great seats, sixth row center, and were surrounded by other excited teen girls and gay men waiting to see their idol.  Madge's performance was uninspiring, and in my journal I wrote: "It was a wooden performance, her delivery seemed unnatural and it seemed as if she was reading for an audition".  Still, it was fun to see her close up.  And props to Madonna for going beyond her comfort zone of music videos.




20 years later the play was revived with Jeremy Piven, Raul Esparza and Elizabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men).  The revival made headlines a few months after it opened when Piven dropped out after claiming he was suffering from mercury poisoning caused by eating nothing but sushi for years.  He turned out to be more high-maintenance than Madonna!



Sondheim's "Company" Opens on Broadway (April 26, 1970)

Playbill_for_companyStephen Sondheim's musical Company had its Broadway opening on April 26, 1970.  The story revolves around Bobby, a swinging bachelor in his mid-30s, and the three married couples who are his close friends.  The wives are concerned about him still playing the field while the husbands are somewhat envious of his freedom.  I often wondered if "Bobby Baby" might be gay.  In fact, there is a scene in which one of the husbands lightly propositions him - but Bobby demurs.  (In 2013 there were reports that Sondheim was involved in a major rewrite of the show in which Bobby was gay.)  At the time the show was considered groundbreaking because it was the first to explore "modern" themes.  It ran a little more than a-year-and-a-half and closed on New Year's Day 1972.


Scene_from_companyNowadays if a show opens in late April it qualifies for that year's Tony's in June, but 40+ years ago the Tony Awards were held in March or April.  In fact, the ceremony in 1970 was the week before Company opened (how peculiar for a show to open a week after the Tony's!)  Therefore, Company wasn't in the running for a Tony until the following but, happily, it was hardly forgotten as it received 14 nominations - and won six awards for Best Musical; Direction; Book; Lyrics; Score (the first of Sondheim's six Best Score Tonys); and Scenic Design.  However, Michael Bennett didn't win for Choreography nor did the six actors who were nominated.   


Company_cast_abumAlthough I didn't see this original production I've seen three others.  The first was a benefit performance for an actors fund held at a theater in Times Square in the autumn of 1991.  Then in October 2003 I saw an NYU student production at the university's newly opened Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.  And last summer I saw a filmed concert version that had been staged at Lincoln Center a few months earlier.  Additionally, I rented the excellent documentary about the recording of the original cast LP (most memorable perhaps for the scenes of the late Elaine Stritch's excruciating multiple attempts at The Ladies Who Lunch).


During the rare occasion when a boyfriend became annoyed by something I did I'd bring up the song Being Alive and point out its message that only when one is inconvenienced by the compromises a relationship requires do you truly experience living.  This didn't necessarily win them over, but I was pleased with my cleverness.    



First Tony Awards Handed Out (April 6, 1947)

T_artifacts_0530_pic15724 Eighteen years after the film industry handed out its first Oscars the Broadway theater community held its first Tony Awards (short for the "Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre").  The ceremony was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the evening of April 6, 1947, which was Easter Sunday.  (The Tonys took place every April until 1964 when it moved to late May for one year and then to June every year thereafter.) 


For this first gathering there were two Best Actor and Best Actress awards given for Plays - but none for musicals (however, an award for Featured Actor was given).  Besides winning Tonys the four winning actors were also Oscar winners: 


  • Jose_ferrer_cyranodebergerac Jose Ferrer won for his role in Cyrano de Bergerac.  Three years later the play was made into a movie and he won an Oscar for the role. 
  • Fredric March won the other Best Actor Tony for Years Ago.  He'd win another Tony 10 years later for Long Day's Journey Into Night.    
  • Helen Hayes won the Tony for Happy Birthday.  She'd collect another Tony and two Oscars, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Grammy during her career.
  • Ingrid_bergman_joanoflorraine Known mostly as a movie actress (she won three Oscars), Ingrid Bergman won the Tony for her role in Joan of Lorraine.  The play was the basis for the 1948 movie Joan of Arc, which Bergman also starred in.  Nominated for an Oscar, she lost to Jane Wyman who won for Johnny Belinda.


David Wayne won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for playing the role of the leprechaun Og in Finian's Rainbow.  Elia Kazan won Best Director for All My Sons.  Interestingly, in this first year there was no award for Best Play or Best Musical.


115_Tony_Awards_1st_Ceremony-1947_04-06 Beginning in 1956 the show was broadcast on TV in the New York market; it wasn't picked up by a TV network until 1967 when ABC aired it.  The audience for the Tonys is only about one-fifth the size of the audience that watches the Academy Awards

Barbra Streisand Makes Her Broadway Debut (March 22, 1962)

Wholesale_streisand Barbra Streisand, one month shy of her 20th birthday, made her Broadway debut in a supporting role in the musical I Can Get It for You Wholesale, which opened on March 22, 1962.  Originally the part of Miss Marmelstein was a minimal one, but after her audition the producers beefed it up.  The show starred Elliot Gould, who would become her first husband (who she had her only child with, gay son Jason). 



Streisand_time_magazine_coverAt the show's premiere Leonard Bernstein gave Streisand a standing ovation after her number Miss Marmelstein.  The following month she was the subject of a TIME Magazine cover story.  And although the show received mixed reviews Streisand was nominated for a Tony for Supporting or Featured Musical Actress - the show's only nomination (she lost to Phyllis Newman for the show Subways Are for Sleeping).




Interestingly, Babs would appear on Broadway just one more time, in Funny Girl which premiered almost two years to the date after Wholesale.    

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. 










Broadway Legend Tommy Tune Born (February 28, 1939)

Tommytune Today in 1939 tap dancer/choreographer/director Tommy Tune was born in the north-central Texas town of Wichita Falls.  Of twenty-four persons of note born there (according to Wikipedia) Tune is probably the most famous (followed by TV actress Phylllis Coates who played the original Lois Lane on the Adventures of Superman).  Perhaps Tune's destiny as a Broadway legend was determined by his name (yes, that's his actual last name).  Besides the name, what's also given him distinction is his height - 6'6-1/2".



Tommy_tune When I was in high school I remember watching Tommy give his acceptance speech for his first Tony Award in 1974 for Seesaw (he's won nine in total).  It was memorable because he made a cutting remark about the folks from his hometown and said it was doubtful anyone there was likely to be watching anyway.  It was probably a relatable moment for many gay men and lesbians who also felt out of place while growing up.  (Tune's 1997 memoir Footnotes is available on Amazon.)  


Dayinhollywood_nightintheukraine Myoneandonly I saw a number of shows that TT won Tony's for - A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (which I saw on New Year's Eve 1980) and Grand Hotel.  I always wanted to see him and Twiggy in My One & Only but never got around to it - the cast album is great.  And I didn't see Will Rogers Follies either.   




He built a beachfront home out at Fire Island Pines in the 1970's, and although he no longer owns it residents there still refer to it as the Tommy Tune house (the way property owned by Calvin Klein still bears his name).


Tune shares his birthday with two other show business legends - movie director (and Liza's dad) Vincente Minnelli (1903-1986) and Broadway favorite Bernadette Peters (born in 1948).   

Likes & Dislikes of Gay Life: One Gay Man's Perspective




When I started writing this post my plan was for it to be only about those aspects of gay life that bother me.  But as I worked on it I decided I didn't want to come across as a jaded queen, especially because there is plenty I enjoy about the gay milieu.  Therefore, I chose to give both sides equal time. Originally penned in the winter of 2012, I've updated it somewhat during the spring of 2014.



  • The insipid music of Katy Perry
  • Bravo's Andy Cohen for inflicting the Housewives of ... series on us, a sorry celebration of misogyny and anti-social behavior if ever there was one.




  • Porn stars who think they're going to have a second career as professional singers. 
  • The complete lack of sexual chemistry between Modern Family's Cameron and Mitchell




  • Photos of Chaz Bono bare chested
  • Out Magazine's "Nipple Count" feature.  And speaking of Out, why don't they just combine it and the Advocate; after all, they're delivered together in the same polybag.
  • Completely shaved armpits




  • Little kids on the ferry to the Pines
  • Fawning over Anderson Cooper
  • Boys who sashay
  • Groups of loud, straight women at gay bars.  No, you are not Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda.
  • The occupation known as a "nightlife promoter"
  • Gay Republicans




  • Tourists who insist on holding hands and clog Times Square are very annoying, and I feel the same about gay couples who do it in crowded bars, with one pulling the other behind him through the throng.
  • Michael Lucas and his laughably silly Donald Trump pout 
  • An air-brushed Ellen DeGeneres, who looks increasingly like a pre-pubescent Ricky Schroeder
  • Glee
  • The sad decline of Christopher St. and 8th Ave. in Chelsea
  • The closing of Splash Bar after 23 years





  • Tim Gunn, Carson Kressley, Michael Musto, John Waters, Joan Rivers (RIP), Kathy Griffin - and a very honorable mention to Hugh Jackman!







  • Classic Disco night at the Monster
  • Lady Gaga, Madonna and Cher
  • A tattoo on the nape of the neck, base of the tailbone or on one pec  - and nowhere else (in other words, tasteful understatement).




  • Fire Island beach walks; summer afternoons lazing about Christopher St. pier
  • New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni (below), who replaced the highly regarded, and gay friendly, Frank Rich (who now writes for New York Magazine)




  • Low tea at the Blue Whale
  • "Broadway Bares" and "Broadway Backwards"
  • Openly gay athletes, such as diver Tom Daley, gymnast Danell Leyva, basketball player Jason Collins and football player Michael Sam


Tom Daley


Danell Leyva


  • The homo websites Towleroad, Subway Crush, JustJared, TheBackLot and MenTwoGether
  • Same-sex marriage in New York state and throughout the Northeast
  • Nathan Lane as Pepper Saltzman on Modern Family




  • Gay men and lesbians who acknowledge their spouses/partners at awards shows
  • The Tony Awards, especially when Neil Patrick Harris is the host




  • Beyonce's song Love on Top (for its title alone!)
  • Gay gents who follow sports (whether at Gym Bar or not)
  • Next and MetroSource
  • The glamour of the Supremes




  • Gotham Volleyball, and other gay sports leagues (including Front Runners)
  • The fact that Kylie Minogue and the Pet Shop Boys have never been embraced by the US mainstream makes them even more special.
  • An appreciation of "camp"  
  • HBO's gay drama Looking.
  • Sunday Beer Blast at the Eagle in the summer (but for how much longer?)




So it turns out the pluses edged out the minuses, 24 to 19.  And if I failed to mention something or someone it suggests indifference, which may be the worst sentiment of all.

A Glance Back at 2011 - From a Gay Perspective

Cuomo_at_gaypride_paradePolitics - The two biggest stories of 2011 were New York state's legalization of same-sex marriage(coinciding with Gay Pride weekend) and the ending of the U.S. military's shameful "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.  But we could still count on continued intolerance by Republicans as they booed a gay soldier during one of the Republican debates.



Bill_cunningham_nytimesFashion - Critically acclaimed documentaires were released about New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham (left) and designer Yves St. Laurent; an exhibit of late fashion designer Alexander McQueen's work was a huge draw at the Met; John Galliano, head designer at Christian Dior was fired after making drunken anti-Semitic remarks to patrons at a restaurant in Paris.


Gay-themed Movies of Note - Weekend; Heartbeats; Beginners; and the documetary Making the Boys.


Aaron_schock_menshealthThorBodies Beautiful - Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love; Chris Hemsworth in Thor (near right); Taylor Lautner in the latest Twilight sequel; and supposedly straight, rightwing Illinois congressman Aaron Schock on the cover of Men's Health.  Finally, after performances of his acclaimed one-man show Hugh Jackman occasionally auctioned off his sweat soaked t-shirt.


NYC Nightlife - The cowboy bar Flaming Saddles opened in Hell's Kitchen; Boxers joined Gym Bar as Chelsea's second sports bar; Splash celebrated its 20th anniversary; Viceroy and Vinyl restaurants in Chelsea closed.  Meanwhile, Next Magazine's page size continued to shrink.  


Ladygaga_billboardmagazine_bornthiswayMusic - Erasure's Then I Go Twisting and Kelly Rowland's What a Feeling; in February Lady Gaga's single Born This Way became the 1,000th song to hit #1 in the history of Billboard's Hot 100 chart.   



RIP - Pioneering gay civil rights activist Frank Kameny; AIDS angel Elizabeth Taylor; John Geddes Lawrence, plaintiff in landmark Lawrence v Texas anti-sodomy Supreme Court case; disco diva Loleatta Hollaway.


Chazbono_dancingwiththestarsChaz Bono - A documentary and book about Chaz's female-to-male transition received considerable attention as did his appearance as a male contestant on Dancing with the Stars.  (Carson Kressley also competed).




Milestones - Crisco turned 100 and Ricky Martin hit the big 4-0.


Fire_island_pines_fire_advocateA fire in November in the harbor of Fire Island Pines destroyed the Pavilion dance club and Sip-n Twirl bar (and a number of other businesses).



Actor Zachary Quinto came out (not to be confused with actor Jeremy Sisto).  Still not out: Olympic gold medal figure skaters Evan Lysacek and Brian Boitano; singer/actress/Cover Girl spokesperson Queen Latifah; Emmy Award winning actor Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory).


Nate_berkusTalk Show Roulet - Without Oprah's presence housewives apparently weren't interested in an entire hour of Nate Berkus (left) as his home design show was cancelled after just one season.  The same fate may await Anderson Cooper's snoozer of an afternoon talk show which debuted in the fall (housewives may not be as enamored with him as gay men at the David Barton Gym are).  And Rosie O'Donnell tried for a comeback with a talk show on Oprah's OWN cable network.  


NeilPatrickHarrisTonyAwardsShow2011_article_story_mainNeil Patrick Harris continued to dazzle as host of the Tony Awards.  The theme for this year's teleast was: "It's not for gays anymore!"  Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play, out actor John Benjamin Hickey won for Best Featured Actor and Ellen Barkin for Best Featured Actress.


SubwaycrushA fun new website was launched in June named "Subway Crush"which gives riders an opportunity to share pics of cute guys they've admired riding the subway.


Gay_guy_happyendingsSofia_vergaraThe new ABC sitcom, Happy Endings, (following Modern Family) features a slovenly gay character, Max, who has few stereotypical gay traits.  And speaking of Modern Family, who do you love more, Sofia Vergara or gay daddies Cam and Mitchell?


On Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry David coined the term "pre-gay" to describe his girlfriend's delightfully precocious young son who showed all the obvious traits of being gay (he was a big fan of Project Runway).  The little boy is the spitting image of Kurt from Glee




Threeway_snlSaturday Night Live aired a music video titled "It's OK If It's In a Threeway", featuring Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and Adam Samberg.  The show also had a hysterical skit about a game show called "Who's on Top?" in which non-gay male celebrities were paired up and constestants had to choose which one would be the "top" if the celebs were engaged in gay sex. 


Still MIA: Rupert Everett


SheridansquareFinally, as the year came to a close a sexy billboard for Manhunt Mobile went up, overlooking Sheridan Square, bringing back fond memories of the gay West Village of the '70s and '80s.