Curtain Up: LGBT Theatre in New York

Maxwell Granitz, Contributing Writer
August 10, 2018

The performing arts and the rights of LGBT persons merge in the City of New York, where the plight of one issue or group often ties into the plight of the other. Creativity is as much an expectation when discussing New York as the perpetual construction and reconstruction occurring daily in Manhattan. The city sustains itself on the arts, with an abundance of museums, theatres, galleries, film centers, etc., both the prime (i.e. Lincoln Center) and the innovative (i.e. Hamilton) alive and well, creating important works. Experiences in the arts exist for a wide range of the populace. New York has, for much of its history, been a haven for groups and peoples without an opportunity to be welcomed elsewhere… including the LGBT community.

For LGBT travelers, the city is a destination where anyone can seek out an experience they feel connected to. Between now and December, a number of theatrical productions are being mounted that, either due to the storyline itself or the cultural significance of the source material, provide opportunities to see LGBT topics brought up on stage. Here are three that must be witnessed.

Head Over Heels, currently playing an open run at the Hudson Theatre on 44th Street, serves as a contemporary take on Shakespearean themes, set to the music of The Go-Go’s. In the kingdom of Arcadia, a rather striking oracle (played by Agnes Moore, better known as Miss Peppermint and the first transgender woman to originate a principle role on Broadway), warns an old-fashioned ruler that he must bring his realm out of the dark ages or face catastrophe. Bringing up themes such as gender identity, sexual awakening, and self-liberation, combined with vogue-esque choreography by openly gay dancer Spencer Liff, the show is a decidedly energetic and queer romp for anyone who has ever moved to their own beat. Tickets are provided by the Hudson Theatre directly at http://www.thehudsonbroadway.com/whatson/head-over-heels/. Rush seats, sold at $35 and available every day at 10 AM, are sold by the TodayTix app, available on Apple and Android devices.

Once a Year on Blackpool Sands, performing only between September 4th and 9th at the Loft at the Davenport Theatre (interestingly where Afterglow, another gay-themed production, played for over a year), brings to light the lives of two closeted gay men and the people around them in 1953 England. It asks the question, what were the ways LGBT people connected before the advent of the movement for their rights, generally designated as the Stonewall Riots in 1969? It comes to New York after a successful run in the UK. Patrons must be at least 14 years old to attend. Tickets are available at https://m.bpt.me/event/3192809.

The Cher Show comes to New York’s Neil Simon Theatre (recently home to the starry, pulsating revival of Angels In America) after an out-of-town tryout in Chicago, with previews beginning November 1st, and an official opening of December 3rd. Based on the life of Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman, or, simply, Cher, one of the most prominent gay icons of the 20th century, the musical serves as a retrospective, featuring many of her hits. The role is shared by three actresses playing the diva at various points in time, including Stephanie J. Block (‘Trina’ in the 2016 Broadway production of Falsettos). Tickets are on-sale now at Ticketmaster, both on the web and connected mobile app.


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