Welcome to my salute to Gay Musicals, covering musicals where the central characters and plots were gay, and limited to those whose cast recordings were commercially released. This month's show covers 1985 through 1995, and please see my August show, Part One, which covered 1973 to 1984.
Revue" - before stonewall (1987)
And, I've set
up a special reference section of my site, to consolidate information
on all the recorded Gay Musicals I could find, please visit those pages
for a chronological display of the album covers and bonus pages of pics
from many of them.
On this page for most of the musicals I've set up additional pages with larger pics
and much more info, so I'll direct you to "Click for More" where that's available.
"Ten Percent Revue"
Search of the Hammer"
"In Search of the Hammer" and its sequel, "The Return of the Hammer," were two lesbian musicals staged by Front Room Theatre, Seattle, in 1983 and 1985, respectively. The casts were reunited in 1988 to record the shows, which were released on a cassette. I've never seen the tape, but the photo at left shows the three stars, the Three Must-Be-Queers: Butchina (Cappy Kotz, who wrote the script; Thunder (Ann Rector), and Toughie (Carla Johnson). Phrin Prickett wrote the music; with direction by Patricia Van Kirk and Yolande Adams.
Dreams of a
"Dirty Dreams of a Clean-Cut Kid" was presented in 1990 by Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco and was perhaps their biggest hit. This AIDS musical was written by Henry Mach, composed by Paul Katz, and directed by John Karr and F. Allen Sawyer. It is a nostalgic look back at the pre-AIDS gay life in San Francisco via musical reflections from five men anxiously awaiting HIV test results. Theatre Rhinoceros, founded in 1977, is the longest running GLBT theatre company.
Tonight's show features an interview with John Karr, who was the co-director of the show. I thought the interview was excellent, but there was more that just wouldn't fit on the show, so you can Click Here to hear the whole interview, plus another song from the show.
"Get Used To It!"
"Get Used To It!"
Tom Wilson einberg was back in 1993 with another revue of his political
songs. This show was produced by John Glines at the Courtyard Playhouse
Above is a photo I took of Tom (right) and his lover John White at a 1979 concert in Norfolk, Virginia. I also interviewed Tom about his musical career for my April 2001 show, which you can visit by clicking here.
For a change, a musical Not about AIDS or activism, this fruit cocktail version of Loveboat was originally produced at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto, Canada. Its large cast of "weird, wacky and wonderful passengers" deal with their festivities being interrupted by a close encounter with disaster. But they persevere, pull together, and sing the finale. 1995.
"Most Men Are"
"Most Men Are" was an AIDS musical by Stephen Dolginoff, and was first produced in February 1995 at the Theatre Off Park in Greenwich Village, NYC. This recording is not a cast album, but instead a collection of highlights performed by David Gurland, Roger Seyer and Michael Patrick Walker.
"All That He Was"
Another AIDS musical was "All That He Was" from 1993. With music by Cindy O'Connor and book and lyrics by Larry Johnson, and production by Jay Floyd, this show originated at the Tamirind Theatre in Hollywood, and this recording was by The Way Off-Broadway And To The Left Theatre Company.
"The Ballad of Little Mikey"
below, the recording
"Only Heaven Knows"
musicals are famous for their outrageous costumes, which compliment
his humorous lyrics. "Whoop-Dee-Doo" started in workshop performances,
and with the help of a grant from The Glines, made it to Off-Broadway,
where it's "eight-week" engagement lasted eight months, garnering
two 1995 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical Revue and Outstanding
Costume Design. It's been performed in a number of cities, by theatre
companies brave enough to attempt the costumes. Crabtree had even more
Above, CD reissue, and
to the right
"In Search of the Hammer" cast
"An Unfinished Song"
From 1991, "An Unfinished Song" was an AIDS musical written by James J. Mellon that ran at the Little Red Schoolhouse, and the Provincetown Playhouse in New York, and also travelled to The Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles.
"The Ballad of Mikey" from 1994 is one of our better musicals. It is subtitled "The Birth of an Activist," and is set in the 80's, following the title character's journey, as one reviewer put it, "out of the closet, through the tearoom, and into gay activism and romance." Written by Mark Savage, it was first presented at Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. In the liner notes, the writer comments that in taking the "write what you know" advice, he wrote a production number set in a men's room. And it's a gem.
Mark Smith plays "Mikey"...
Above, Jay Forman, Andy
Eric Lane Barnes wrote the music and lyrics for his revue, which opened at the Bailiwick Art Center in Chicago in January of 1995. Performed in a number of cities, the songs are excellent and vary from humor to poignancy. Barnes is now Assistant Artistic Director of the Seattle Mens Chorus, and his new works somehow find their way into their performances.
"Only Heaven Knows."
Click to go to Part 1 of my tribute to Gay Musicals