There are many great things about the state of New York, the latest of which is the right for same-sex couples to get married! New York City, however, will always be known for its theatre – musical theatre in particular. And now, gay couples can enjoy the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts when they sit down to watch a good show.
And we’re celebrating that!
It’s easy to get lost in a good stage play. The story is being told right there in front of us and it’s easy to believe. In ballet and opera, we’re immersed in the world of music that drives the story without interruption. Even in cinema we’re willing to suspend our disbelief as we watch aliens invade us from another planet. Somehow it just makes sense.
But why are we willing to believe that characters in the middle of telling a story would suddenly burst into song, complete with choreography (apparently unrehearsed, yet everyone seems to know it) and sing directly to the audience? This is a question I used to ask my musical theatre students at the beginning of every semester.
A discussion would inevitably follow with varying observations: it’s exciting, it’s a caricature of life, it’s a balance between a stage play and an opera. Or simply, “I have no idea, but I love it.”
Eventually we agreed upon what I believe to be the answer: We wish life could be that way. Sometimes we’re so happy we feel like dancing, other times we feel the need for a gut-wrenching ballad to express a desire or a loss, and when we find ourselves telling a funny story, well, why not sing it if we could? The idea that music might intertwine with every day life seldom occurs to us in the moment, particularly for people who don’t consider themselves singers, but when we see this happen on stage, we identify with it.
And honey, give the gays something to identify with and we’re off and running.
Yet, as Neil Patrick Harris and the cast of the opening number of this year’s Tony Awards put it, “Broadway has never been broader, and it’s not just for gays anymore.” Apparently the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus isn’t, either. According to an audience survey at our last concert, the majority of first-time ticket buyers identified as heterosexual. Yay!
So is there anything particularly “gay” about this concert? Beyond our opening number (a tongue-in-cheek, behind the scenes look at how our concerts are created), not much. We’re simply a group of men (not all of whom identify as gay) singing some of theatre’s best music of the past three decades; and while there is no story or commentary, there is a thru-line that will leave you feeling as if you’ve just seen a full-fledged musical. (Check out the program in the right column.)
You’ll also want to be there as Atlanta’s own Shawn Megorden joins the chorus once again. This is my first time to work with her and I will say that she is a singular sensation – one who’s not to be missed. A multi-faceted singer and performer, Shawn is the perfect guest star for this material.
So regardless of how you identify, join us as we present “Thirty Years of Broadway,” celebrating thirty years of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus.
“We’re asking every hetero to get to know us better, oh we’re not just for gays anymore!”