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June is Pride Month, in which we celebrate the members of the LGBTQIA+ community through gatherings, commemorations, parades, ceremonies, performances, and so much more.
The theatre realm has long been known as a safe haven for those in the community to be their most authentic selves. To honor that and the LGBTQIA+ community at large, we’ve put together a list of ways you can celebrate Pride Month through theatre.
Many shows running in 2022 utilize characters within the LGBTQIA+ community, and discuss themes surrounding it, including homophobia, self-acceptance, friendships, and romance. Here are a few starter musicals to get you into the theme.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (1998)
Primarily known as a rock musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch follows Hedwig Robinson, a genderqueer singer from Germany. The child of a U.S. Army major general, Hedwig struggles with her queer identity throughout the show, which sonically leans heavily into 1970s glam rock.
La Cage Aux Folles (1983)
The first hit Broadway musical showcasing a homosexual relationship, La Cage Aux Folles tells the story of couple Georges and Albin. When Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, brings his fiance’s ultra-conservative parents to meet the couple, friction ensues.
Avenue Q (2003)
A show about the ups and downs of regular life, Avenue Q features puppets and human actors alike in an homage to the beloved children’s show Sesame Street. All of the characters, both puppet and human, face a variety of real-world issues they must navigate as the show progresses.
A Strange Loop (2019)
The newest show on the list, A Strange Loop follows the protagonist Usher, a black, queer writer writing a musical about a black, queer writer … who is writing a musical about a black, queer writer … and so on. Addressing identity, race, and sexuality, the musical won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2020.
If you haven’t seen Rent by now, find the nearest production of it, or stream it online STAT. Following a group of “starving artists” in New York’s East Village, Rent explores the ravages of the HIV/AIDs epidemic, as well as interpersonal relationships, drug addiction, and homophobia. There’s a reason it’s one of the longest running shows on Broadway!
Not sure where to look? Here’s a list of a few great plays with LGBTQIA+ themes or characters to start you on your journey.
Angels in America (1992)
A two part play, Angels in America is described as a “complex, often metaphorical, and at times symbolic examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America in the 1980s.”
Stop Kiss (1998)
Told out of chronological order, Stop Kiss follows Sara and Callie, who share a first kiss outside in New York’s West Village. Sara then falls victim to a hate crime and is viciously attacked by a bystander.
God of Vengeance (2003)
God of Vengeance tells the story of Yankl Tshaptshovitsh and his wife, Soreh, who run a brothel in the basement of their home in Poland. They hope to find a pious suitor for their daughter, Rivkele, who instead finds love with a female sex worker her father employs.
The Pride (2008)
Switching between two storylines in 1958 and 2008, The Pride examines changing attitudes to sexuality, with themes that include love, lust, and betrayal.
“When the men of a small Prohibition-era town decide to put on a play dressed in ‘fancy-type, women-type clothes,’ the whole community is affected: gender lines blur, eyebrows raise, identities explode, and life and art are forever entangled. A thoughtful and exuberant Midwestern fable about the woman in every man, the man in every woman and the power of theatre to uncover both.” – Playscripts, Inc.
It’s no secret that although we’ve become a more progressive society, many within the LGBTQIA+ community still struggle with self-acceptance due to bullying, harassment, and hate crimes. Pride Month is the perfect time to look into resources within your community, as well as nationally and internationally. A few projects and nonprofits to look into include:
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) young people.
The Trans Lifeline
Trans Lifeline provides trans peer support for the community, run by and for trans people.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline for LGBTQ+
The LGBTQ+ community is diverse and made up of different experiences, identities, and challenges. However, members of the community are disproportionately at-risk for suicide and other mental health struggles. This portion of the NSPH has information and resources for those who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
It Gets Better Project
The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.
National Alliance on Mental Illness LGBTQ Page
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex (LGBTQI*) community represents a diverse range of identities and expressions of gender and sexual orientation. The NAMI offers a variety of resources for those within it.
Whether you’re a member of the community or just an enthusiastic ally, remember to keep things inclusive, fun and theatrical this Pride Month!