UPDATE: June 12, 2023
The 2023 Tony Award were filled with LGBTQ history and pride on full display. The Randy Report did this terrific recap of all the evening’s festivities.
By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
For the LGBTQ Community, Broadway has long been a place of love, acceptance, and support. From the artists and performers to the writers, composers, and lyricists telling our stories to the audiences coming to see their lives reflected in the performance, the theatre has felt like a safe home. The ultimate expression of that for many is a musical, where emotions soar with every great song. Many of those Broadway showtunes have taken on profound meaning in our Community and others have become pop culture anthems of Pride and empowerment.
In celebration of Pride 2023 and the 76th Annual Tony Awards, theOUTfront has curated some of our favorite Broadway songs and performances that we hope will inspire you to be Proud Out Loud!
We start off with Jerry Herman’s classic, “I Am What I Am” from the 1983 Tony Award winning Best Musical, La Cage aux Folles. A show stopping number on stage, the song instantly became a hit pop record as well. Now it’s been reimagined five decades later. Courtesy of The Randy Report,
“Broadway legend Jerry Herman delivered unto us his glorious theme song of self-love in his 1983 Broadway blockbuster, La Cage aux Folles. And while there have been many disco-tastic takes on the upbeat theme bop, this takes Pride joy over the top!
Harrison Ghee (who just won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical for “Some Like It Hot”) leads a talented group of artists serving up some seriously beatsbeatsbeats along with some subtle (but recognizable) shades of characters from Broadway musicals and plays.”
Read the full post: “Pride Music: J. Harrison Ghee & Company ‘I Am What I Am’”
Related Post by Randy Slovacek: “Sounds of Pride: Across the Footlights of Broadway”
The late great Stephen Sondheim gave us this inspirational anthem from one of his most beloved shows, Merrily We Roll Along. “Our Time” reminds us the future, our future, is in our hands and up to us.
At the height of the AIDS crisis in 1992, Falsettos showed the world that love can tell a millions stories as well as the strength of our Community in the face of a plague. “Here is [Michael Rupert] with Stephen Bogardus, Heather Mac Rae & Carolee Carmello performing “Unlikely Lovers” from the Los Angeles production of FALSETTOS by William Finn & James Lapine.”
The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning RENT gave us the iconic anthem “Seasons of Love” which went on to be recorded as a pop single by none other than the incomparable Stevie Wonder.
Often the deeper resonance of a great Broadway song is heard by us in profound ways which inspires new ways of interpreting them. In this rendition, Brian Justin Crum and Kyle Dean Massey’s perform “Who Will Love Me As I Am?” from Sideshow, originally sung in the show by conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton.
2013’s Tony Award winning Best Musical Kinky Boots became a smash hit on Broadway and around the world for its message of loving yourself for who and what you are and learning to accept others as they are. It’s finale here performed by Tony winner and LGBTQ icon Billy Porter is a jubilant affirmation anthem.
When the AIDS epidemic began ravaging the theatre industry in the 1980s, there were few resources or support systems available to those afflicted with the fatal disease. In an effort to take care of their own, the Broadway Community rallied together and created Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. At this year’s Broadway Backwards, an annual event which reimagines classic showtunes through an LGBTQ lens, the call to arms anthem “One Day More” from Les Miz was updated to the present and set amongst queer activists and allies fighting back.
Donate to BC/EFA HERE
Read our previous Pride Month 2023 posts: