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13 productions to get you in the spirit of Pride Month
Sure, parades and parties are fun. But as avid theatregoers, my husband and I spend a lot of our Pride Month seeing shows with LGBTQ appeal. This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, there's a veritable rainbow of options, including plays about the pioneers who came before us and a new generation of boundary-pushing queer artists looking toward our future. Below are 13 options for different types of audiences, so whether you're in the mood for camp, musical comedy, naked bodies or a history lesson, there's a production that's right for you. Bonus: At press time, many of these shows were offering discounts to TDF members. It's best to check our offers daily as ticket availability changes frequently.
FOR MUSICAL COMEDY LOVERS: THE PROM
Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue
Closing August 18. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for The Prom. Tickets are also frequently available at the TKTS Ticket Booths.
While there are always lots of musicals on Broadway, it's rare to find a musical comedy these days. That's what makes The Prom so wonderful: it's heartfelt and hilarious. When a handful of Broadway also-rans (including Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas and Christopher Sieber) discover a small Indiana town is blocking a lesbian teen from bringing a girl to prom, they decide to crash the protest as a PR stunt. Hope and narcissism have never sounded so good… or so funny.
FOR MUSICAL TRAGEDY LOVERS: BARE
TBG Mainstage Theater, 312 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues
Runs June 20-29. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for Bare.
Troubled teens bare their souls in this cult popera, which is getting a rare revival. Set at a Catholic boarding school in the '90s, the show centers on Peter and Jason, roommates and clandestine lovers, who live in fear of being outed. Their complicated romance is handled with honesty and compassion against a backdrop of adolescent angst, as their classmates face their own challenges. Note, this production uses the original script and songs, not the much-maligned 2012 revisal. And for the record, the title isn't about the guys' bodies -- it's about their naked emotions.
FOR GLAMOUR JUNKIES: THE CHER SHOW
Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue
Closing August 18. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for The Cher Show.
In an era of one-name icons -- Gaga, Madonna, Beyoncé -- Cher is, for many of us, the undisputed queen. Her life story is a lesson in self-empowerment and overcoming adversity. But what makes this Broadway bio-musical absolutely "agayzing" is that she's embodied by three different divas (Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond) sporting an array of jaw-dropping, body-hugging, sequin-encrusted costumes by the legendary Bob Mackie.
FOR THOSE WHO NEED A GOOD CRY: QUILT, A MUSICAL CELEBRATION
Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South between Thompson and Sullivan Streets
Runs June 21-23.
Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, this emotional tribute to those who died and the loved ones left behind pairs performers from community arts organizations with professional actors (including former American Idol star Diana DeGarmo and Broadway veteran Andrew Leeds) to tell these stories in scenes and songs. Proceeds benefit the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Frontline AIDS.
FOR THOSE UP FOR ANYTHING: QUEERLY FESTIVAL
Kraine Theatre, 85 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue
Runs June 18-July 3. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for many Queerly Festival offerings. Log in and search "Queerly" to see the full list.
Put on your lavender-colored glasses for this fifth annual fest, a grab bag of solo shows, stand-up, improv, even short films. A broad spectrum of queer artists, including Liza impersonator Rick Skye, four-time Moth champion Jamie Brickhouse and comedian Maggie Lalley, are part of this "super-gay, nonconformist" celebration of all things LGBTQIAP+.
FOR PUNCH LINE LOVERS: THE GOLDEN GIRLS MUSICAL PARODY: PRIDE EDITION
HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue at Dominick Street
Runs June 19-July 6. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for The Golden Girls Musical Parody: Pride Edition.
Picture this: Soho, summer, 2019. Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia are back to crack wise, just in time for Pride. In this musical parody, the ever-quarrelsome quartet is getting ready for the annual Shady Pines Retirement Home Gay Pride Talent Show when a past-his-prime Ricky Martin moves in next door and distracts them. Riotous bitchiness ensues.
FOR DRAMA FANS: IN THE CLOSET
Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues
Runs through June 16. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for In the Closet.
While many of us are "out, loud and proud" every day, some in our community aren't comfortable letting their freak flags fly. Siegmund Fuchs' affecting new play centers on four gay men from different generations, each with his own reasons for feeling trapped in the proverbial closet. What will it take for them to come out and shut that door for good?
FOR CAMP FANS: GALAS
Theatre at St. John's, 81 Christopher Street between Seventh Avenue South and Bleecker Street
Runs June 13-28.
The late, great Charles Ludlam and his beloved Ridiculous Theatrical Company helped forge NYC's gay theatre scene back in the '60s. To celebrate Pride, Everett Quinton -- Ludlam's longtime partner both on stage and off -- is mounting the first-ever revival of their 1983 romp Galas, about a demanding and deeply troubled opera diva, Maria Magdalena Galas. Quinton directs and stars in this over-the-top satire, a high-camp take on highbrow culture.
FOR PLAY LOVERS: PRIDE PLAYS
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place between Perry and West 11th Streets
Runs June 20-24.
Michael Urie is coproducing this festival of diverse LGBTQ play readings, from classic gay texts to works by emerging trans and queer-identifying artists. Scripts by the likes of Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, Tony winner Terrence McNally, Jonathan Tolins and Jane Chambers will be performed by Tony winner John Glover, Tony nominee Robin De Jesús, comedian Judy Gold, MJ Kaufman, Urie and many other actors who are either out or allies. Tickets to many programs are FREE but must be reserved in advance.
FOR SOLO SHOW FANS: WE'RE ONLY ALIVE FOR A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place
Runs June 13-July 14. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time.
One of our finest theatrical memoirists, David Cale, recounts his struggles growing up gay in a dysfunctional household, and how he found solace in singing in his bedroom and tending to wounded birds. This vivid musical solo show, directed by the great Robert Falls, promises to be a very moving experience.
FOR THOSE SEEKING TITILLATION: CAMP MORNING WOOD: A VERY NAKED MUSICAL
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues
Runs through July 7.
There's no question that naked guys on stage puts clothed butts in the seats. In this new musical, an engaged gay couple's weekend getaway takes an unexpected turn when their car breaks down and they come face-to-face with a group of bears and otters and twinks (oh my!) at a nearby nudist retreat.
FOR MORE TITILLATION: NAKED BOYS SINGING!
Theatre Row – Theatre Two, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues
Open run. At press time, TDF member tickets were available for Naked Boys Singing!.
Although this long-running favorite now attracts blushing bachelorettes and sheltered suburbanites, it's still an arousing option for Pride, whether you're seeing it for the first or 14th time. This cheeky musical revue certainly lives up to its title, with a sextet of sexy, unclothed hunks sharing their thoughts about everything from the pain of romantic longing to the joys of housecleaning.
FOR POETRY FANS: CONTRADICT THIS! A BIRTHDAY FUNERAL FOR HEROES
La MaMa, 66 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue
Runs June 20-29.
The 50th anniversary of Stonewall isn't the only important milestone in June: This month also marks the 200th birthday of iconic gay poet Walt Whitman. Join the Philadelphia-based Bearded Ladies as they deconstruct the legacy of this controversial figure in this unusual musical featuring multiple generations of queer performers.
Brian Scott Lipton has been covering theatre and the performing arts for 30 years. Follow him on Twitter at @bsl1436. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Camp Morning Wood: A Very Naked Musical. Photo by Michael Wiltbank.
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