Broadway, The Gay American Songbook

By TheatreRat

Gay men and showtunes go together like peanut butter and jelly, French fries and ketchup, drag queens and a Pride parade.  They’re simply made for each other. 

Everyone has their favorite Broadway melody, and some gay men can sing entire scores by heart… Rogers & Hart.  Something about musical theatre has always been welcoming, comfortable, and safe to men who grew up on the outside, were always picked last, and/or felt alone.  Yet in that darkened theater they knew, “there’s a place for us.”

A few songs have taken on a life of their own well beyond Broadway becoming symbolic anthems of Gay culture.  They speak to our lives, struggles, hopes and joys in deeply profound ways, somehow knowing what we’re feeling better than we know ourselves. 

Here are three songs from different eras that have made a lasting impression in the pantheon of Broadway showtunes.

First, Brian Justin Crum and Kyle Dean Massey’s performance of “Who will love Me as I am?” from Sideshow. (Recorded during a benefit at Joe’s Pub for “Broadway IMPACT” whose work supports marriage equality)


Next, the song that voiced the AIDS crisis, a Community reeling in grief, yet managed to celebrate the lives of those who were lost, “Seasons of Love” from RENT, recorded Live on Broadway.


And finally, from La Cage aux Folles, a stunning rendition of “I am, What I am” performed by John Partridge in a way like you’ve never seen it before.


TheatreRat is a contributor to theOUTfront and can be followed on


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