featuring songs from Bye Bye Birdie, Girl Crazy, She Loves Me, Dear World, Falsettos, Once Upon a Mattress, Merrily We Roll Along, City of Angels, Les Misérables, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Victor/Victoria, Mame, Dreamgirls, Follies, Company, The Robber Bridegroom, Phantom of the Opera, La Cage aux Folles, Passion, Into the Woods, The Secret Garden, The Rothschilds, South Pacific, Assassins, and other shows
Conceived by Scott Miller
March 1-9, 1996
Additional Performances August 16-24, 1996
St. Marcus Theatre, St. Louis
Chris Brenner, Tracy Collins, Quenten Schumacher II, Keith Thompson, Eddie Webb
THE ARTISTIC STAFF
Director – Scott Miller
Additional Staging – J.T. Ricroft
Lighting Designer – Linda Lawson
Graphic Design – Tracy Collins
Pianist – Scott Miller
“A sweetly rewarding and happy surprise. . . Not since Tom Clear and Joan Lipkin’s Some of My Best Friends Are held court has a musical evening so expertly fused the intimacy, politics, and spirit of the St. Marcus. . . United in song and spirit, the cast and audience celebrate the fusion of a Broadway past into the home for a community’s political future.” – Mike Isaacson, The Riverfront Times
“Entertaining and thought-provoking, Out on Broadway, the new revue from New Line Theatre, offers musical theatre with a decidedly different twist. . . It’s what theater, at its best, is for.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A most thought-provoking, touching, and entertaining production.” – News-Telegraph
“Some of the evening’s best moments owe their power to flawless harmonizing.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times
Gay men and lesbians have been playing straight characters since time began. They've had to sing about a kind of love they never felt, never able (until recently) to sing about the feelings they actually have. Stars like Danny Kaye, Larry Kert, George Rose, Jack Cassidy and many others never had a chance to explore in their work the issues they faced in their daily lives.
Gay or bisexual writers, including Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Jerry Herman, Leonard Bernstein, Noel Coward, Lorenz Hart, Arthur Laurents, Howard Ashman, and so many others have had to “transpose” their feelings in order to write for the characters in their shows.
Only a few gay musicals have ever played on Broadway. And though TV and movies are finally accepting gay characters as something more than a punch line, the Broadway musical is much slower to do the same. However, in regional theatres gay issues are being explored in many new musicals by writers like Mark Savage, Linda Eisenstein, Chris Jackson, myself, and others. Two songs from Mark Savage's new musical, The Ballad of Little Mikey will be performed tonight. This spring, an album of songs from gay musicals will be released by AEI Records, including songs from The Ballad of Little Mikey and the gay vampire musical In the Blood, which New Line premiered last season.
So tonight we present the history of Broadway musicals the way it should have been.
Every song you'll hear tonight was chosen for a reason. “You Have to Be Carefully Taught” was written about racism, but its message against intolerance is as relevant today as ever, as religious extremists demonize gays and lesbians. “In My Own Lifetime” and “Do You Hear the People Sing” are particularly potent, reminding us of the all the work we have to do. “Children Will Listen” is a warning to those political and religious leaders who would promote prejudice and fear instead of understanding. And in this explosive election year, “Our Time” and “Everybody's Got the Right” are no longer just show tunes – they are battle cries.
“Everything Possible” is the song we all wish someone had sung to us when we were little, a song that we hope will be sung to children from now on.
Very few of these songs were written in the context in which you find them tonight, but I think you'll be surprised at how easily they work this way. The experiences we're exploring tonight are universal. A love song written for a straight couple fits a gay couple no less perfectly: One lyric sums it all up: “They're writing songs of love, but not for me . . .” Well, tonight these songs are for us all.
Well, here we are, back “Out” at the St. Marcus.
This is the first time New Line has ever done a show a second time. It's the first time we thought a piece was important enough. We decided that if we can reach people this time that we didn't reach the first time, then it's worth doing again.
We didn't realize this show was as special as it is until we put it in front of an audience last March. It's the only gay revue I'm aware of that doesn't make fun of gays and also doesn't ask for pity for gays. It's a very proud, brave, and occasionally political look at being gay in America. This is a show that sees gays as regular people, with the same kind of joy and heartache as everyone else, despite their often unique societal obstacles. And I think that's a big part of what made it so incredibly popular the first time around.
Gay men and lesbians have been playing straight characters since theatre began. We've had to sing about a kind of love we never felt, never able (until recently) to sing about the feelings we actually have. Stars like Danny Kaye, Larry Kert, George Rose, Jack Cassidy, and many others never had a chance to explore in their work the issues they faced in their daily lives.
Gay or bisexual writers, including Cole Porter, Jerry Herman, Leonard Bernstein, Noel Coward, Lorenz Hart, Arthur Laurents, Howard Ashman, and so many others never had a chance to explore their lives in their writing.
Only a few gay musicals have ever played on Broadway. And though TV and movies are finally accepting gay characters as something more than a punch line, the Broadway musical is much slower to do the same. However, in regional theatres gay issues are being explored in many new musicals by writers like Mark Savage, Linda Eisenstein, Cindy O'Connor & Larry.Johnson, Chris Jackson, myself, and others. Two songs from Mark Savage's new musical, The Ballad of Little Mikey (which New Line will produce in June 1997) will be performed tonight.
We've made some small changes since the last time we were here – a few songs cut, a few added, a few moved. We hope you like the show even better. Very few of these songs were written in the context in which you find them tonight, but I think you'll be surprised at how easily they work this way.
Many of the experiences we're exploring are indeed universal. As Congress passes new (possibly un-Constitutional) laws to exclude gays and lesbians from legal marriage, as Bob Dole and his friends work to prevent us from enjoying other equal rights, as national religious leaders misuse and misquote the Bible to demonize us, this is an important lesson for his all to take with us.
REMEMBERING OUT ON BROADWAY
What wonderful voices and great people to work with, and more talent that intimidated me. There was so much time and effort put into each song, which I think helped us to make the show our own. I could not believe the audiences we got; they loved us. That was a major high. But I wish I could go back and rerecord the CD. Having the knowledge I have now with several vocal master classes under my belt (trust me, my pants still fit snug), I would sing everything very different. How great we are – the only New Line show that made a CD, but we are not the only ones that should have made one.
– Chris Brenner, cast member
I remember how I felt being involved in such a unique production and how the concept of the show excited me. Using songs traditionally meant for women, but putting a new twist to them by using the male voice and form. As a choreographer, it created challenges that were fun to work out, especially with a cast that was so eager to try anything. We were all limitless, since this had not been done before and we had no expectations or past “female” interpretations to consider. During rehearsals, we had so much fun creating pictures that would allow the audience to experience each song in a new way. It was amazing to watch as each song took on a new meaning, due to the conscious choices each performer made along the way. I cried, I laughed, I smiled, and I traveled the journey with anticipation... it was better than Cats! I was grateful that the St. Louis audiences embraced this production. My fear was that it would be received as “a bunch of men singing songs about other men.” The sense of community and love, regardless of the sex or sexual disposition, was felt and experienced by all who attended and shared in the production. Whew! They got it. I was honored to be a part of it all.
– John Ricroft, choreographer