The Pink Files - Come Out, Come Out (2002)
Out of Australia came the 2002 musical "The Pink Files," and its anthemic opening track was called "Come Out, Come Out." This is JD Doyle and this month on Queer Music Heritage I'm bringing you another show on Gay Musicals. It's been a couple years since the last one, and there's always lots to share with you.
I'm starting off with a track from the musical by Steve Schlachlin and Jim Brochu, from their autobiographical show "The Big Voice: God or Merman." Here's "The Closet."
The Big Voice: God or Merman - The Closet (2002)
A show opened in San Diego in 2012, and it was called "Harmony, Kansas," written by Bill Nelson and Anna K. Jacobs. It deals with Heath, a farm boy who meets a lover on vacation in New York City. The lover, Julian, moves to Kansas and there are doubts about the relationship, due to their different backgrounds. The plot moves forward as Julian persuades Heath to join a gay chorus.
Harmony, Kansas - It Can't Last / Singing With the Boys (2012)
And we go next to a little-known show called "108 Waverly." Come meet the gentlemen of 108 Waverly Place, Greenwich Village. Robby and Chris are a modern-day gay couple trying to find common ground. Matthew and Brian are in love, but the year is 1928 and they lead hidden lives. Both couples have issues and a lot more in common. They share the same apartment...70 years apart. The stories rotate back and forth, and we'll start with the 1928 couple.
Waverly - Spend the Night / Absolutely Fabulous (2004)
Here's some rare history I've been saving for you. There was no official release of this one but a few years ago the writer, Michael Bottari, sent me a demo copy of it on a cassette tape. The show opened in 1975 and is one of the earliest gay musicals, running for months at the Glines Theatre in New York City. From it are the title song "Fascination," "Boys Boys Boys" and "Faces."
- Fascination / Boys Boys Boys / Faces (1975)
Obviously that track was from a different show. The song is called "It's Hard To Tell," and it's from the London show "Soho Cinders," from 2012. It's been described as Cinderella re-imagined, so there are lots of plot twists.
I love this next show, and it was a one-man one. Performed expertly by Michael Winther, with lyrics by Mark Campbell. It's a very modern story, called "Songs From An Unmade Bed."
From An Unmade Bed - The Man in the Starched White Shirt (2005)
This next one is fun, and I hope you saw the wonderful 1993 movie version. It became a musical in 2003 and is called "The Wedding Banquet." Let me remind you of the plot leading up to the song "The Perfect Woman." Our hero, Wai-Tung is happy with his male partner in Manhattan, but he's in his late 20's so his parents in Taiwan, who do not know he is gay, are pressuring him to get married. They have hired a dating service to find his bride, and he has given them impossible demands to meet, discussed here by Wai-Tung and his boyfriend, Simon.
The Wedding Banquet - The Perfect Woman (2003)
"Boy Meets Boy" was one of our early musicals. Written by Bill Solly and David Ward, it was originally produced 1975, and recorded in 1978. It's set in London and Paris in 1936-1937, amid the controversy of King Edward's abdication so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The show is notable in that nowhere in it is mentioned homosexuality; the relationships are simply taken for granted. This is the "Finale," which brings back the songs "It's a Boy's Life," Does Anybody Love Me" and "Boy Meets Boy."
Boy Meets Boy - Finale (1978)
Okay, this is JD Doyle for Queer Music Heritage, and first, thank you for tuning in. Closing this first segment is another early song, and it's not specifically gay, but many people in those days thought it was indeed about gay men. In 1959 there was a musical called "The Nervous Set," which had a short Broadway run. One of the female characters, played by Tani Seitz, sings this song while sitting in a bar. It's the somber "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men," which became a cabaret standard, with noted cover versions by Anita O'Day, Roberta Flack, and Shirley Bassey. Incidentally, the musical was not the song's first recording, as Rod McKuen included it on an album the previous year. Here's "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men."
Nervous Set - The Ballad of the Sad Young Men (1959)
A bit of innuendo there, don't you think? Called "Our Opening," that was the opening song from the 2013 show "Boys Will Be Boys." And this is JD Doyle bringing you another hour of my latest Gay Musicals show, and I've got two more songs from that show any fan of this genre will appreciate, starting with one called "Some Gay Boys."
Will Be Boys - Some Gay Boys (2013)
That one was called "Someplace Obscene," and here comes an obscure musical that came out of San Diego in 2007, called "Breakup Notebook." I picked the song "Ghost of My Ex-Girlfriend."
Notebook - The Ghost of My Ex-Girlfriend (2007)
In that second song Peggy Hewitt sang "Bisexual Tango" in the 1997 show "Gay 90s Musical."
You've probably heard of the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who gave us the long-running comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For." She also wrote an autobiographical novel called "Fun Home," and it's quite a complicated show, going back and forth in time. I picked the track "Changing My Major," and in it our hero has just come out of the closet and meets her first crush.
Fun Home - Changing My Major (2014)
Now, here's a show about secrets with a closet theme. From 2002 is the musical "Convenience," written by Greg Coffin. It's a sung-through musical and these snippets deal with Vince's boyfriend urging him to go back home and come out to his mother. And at the same time his mother's fiancée is urging her to tell him she's remarrying. And both are afraid to tell the other.
Convenience - Tell Him Tell Her / On the Bus (2002)
Next, a show in production out of Houston, with the goal of being a film. Produced and written by Aaron Alon, who I got to interview last year. The show is called "Bully" and it's a very somber show, about a bullied boy who committed suicide. In this song the father, done by Brad Goetz, sings "Did He Think."
- Did He Think (2014)
"Mark's All-Male Thanksgiving" is from the show "Elegies," which has been recorded a number of times.
Not Me - In Heaven They Sing Nothing But Showtunes (2003)
I'm going to slip in one more quickie. Many of you may know about Michael Feinstein's preservation work on the American Songbook, and that he once worked for Ira Gershwin. In the 1998 Australian show "Abroad With Two Men," that show does a parody called "Michael Feinstein."
Abroad With Two Men - Michael Feinstein (1998)
At the top of the show I began with the musical "Boys Will Be Boys." There's one track that rises far above that show, and they were lucky to get Cheyenne Jackson to sing the demo of it. I think it's just wonderfully done. It's called "Giant."
Cheyenne Jackson - Giant (2013)
This is JD Doyle and I'm closing with a long section from I think a wonderful CD. It's by Anthony Rapp and is called "Without You." In it he tells the story of his being in the original cast of "Rent," through talking and song, and there are many sections that move me to tears. It's always hard to pull out parts of a show like this and still get across the impact but I chose a section that starts with him finding out that the creator of "Rent," Jonathan Larsen had suddenly died.
Anthony Rapp - Tune Up #1 / One Song Glory / Seasons of Love (2012)