When Zsa Zsa sang the first few pensive notes and words, “I… am… what I am…” on stage in 1983 in Jerry Herman’s landmark musical, La Cage aux Folles, audiences had no idea of the emotional torrent to follow. That same year, Gloria Gaynor recorded the song turning into a dance hit second only to her mega hit “I Will Survive.”
Herman could not imagine when he first penned the Tony Award winning “I am What I am,” just four years after the Stonewall Rebellion, that it would change Broadway; become a global anthem to self-expression, acceptance, and love; bursting from stage to dancefloor to Pride Marches for decades to come.
To quote Noel Coward, “Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”
Here is the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2 paying tribute to La Cage book writer Harvey Fierstein.
Previous posts from theOUTfront series “Sounds of Pride –The Music of Community, Love, and Equality”