NEW YORK – A new movement is taking center stage on and off Broadway – and just in time for Pride Month.
Stage productions with black and gay narratives are no longer stand-ins for the New York theater scene.
These include the Tony-nominated hit musical “A Strange Loop” and the baseball-themed play “Take Me Out,” the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner “Fat Ham,” the insightful Off-Broadway dramas “soft and “what the end will”. be”, as well as the Theater Row adaptation of “B-Boy Blues”.
‘A Strange Loop’ is nominated for 11 awards, including Best Musical, Original Score, Book of a Musical and Orchestrations, while ‘Take Me Out’ garnered four nominations, including the best revival of a piece.
Cultural critic Emil Wilbekin, founder of Native Son, a New York-based nonprofit created to inspire and empower gay and queer black men, calls the series of shows a “new revolution.”
“What’s so powerful about this black queer movement on Broadway and off Broadway is that the stories are diverse, thoughtful and authentic,” he told the Daily News. “These plays tell the stories of black men struggling to live at the intersection of their blackness and their homosexuality. The characters are introspective and wrestle with the complexities of their multi-faceted identity – shame, stigma and lack of acceptance from society.
“The beauty of this queer black theater revolution is that it’s creating a representation of black gay and queer men as human beings with full lives, emotional depth, and stories that touch your soul,” Wilbekin said. “These characters are no longer misfits, sidekicks, or jokes. They lead men with transformational experiences.
The drastic change caught the attention of non-governmental media watchdog GLAAD.
“The outstanding success of Broadway shows like ‘A Strange Loop’ demonstrates that audiences are responding emphatically to storytelling centered on the Black queer experience, and that Black LGBTQ theater makers deserve space and agency on Broadway, off Broadway and beyond,” Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s vice president of communications and talent, told The News.
“Now that the trend of championing Black LGBTQ excellence is taking off, all that’s left to do is keep it going so it becomes a staple.”
“Take Me Away”, Helen Hayes Theater
The pandemic-delayed revival of Richard Greenberg’s baseball-themed drama already had plenty of upside with the announcement that three popular TV actors — ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ idol Jesse Williams, ‘Suits’ star Patrick J. Adams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” — would star. Add to that scenes of full frontal nudity, and the show became a hit. The sobering story deals with the fallout after a superstar biracial sport came out as gay Until June 11
“Fat Ham”, the public theater
The 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama is a loud and irreverent take on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy ‘Hamlet’, co-produced by the National Black Theatre. Marcel Spears of CBS’s “The Neighborhood” stars as Juicy, a queer plus-size University of Phoenix alumnus who is conflicted to avenge the death of his late father in this novel written by James Ijames, also starring Billy Eugene Jones, Adrianna Mitchell, Nikki Crawford, Benja Kay Thomas, Calvin Leon Smith and Chris Herbie Holland. Until July 3
“sweet”, MCC Theater
Donja R. Love’s latest play explores the passion and pain of a newly hired teacher in an all-male disciplinary boarding school program for at-risk inner-city youth. In the stunner directed by Whitney White, Biko Eisen-Martin battles his own demons after the unexpected death of one of his most promising students by suicide. Newcomers Essence Lotus, Shakur Tolliver, Dharon Jones, Travis Raeburn, Dario Vazquez and Ed Ventura are the stars. During the limited run of the show, the theater hosted nights for black and queer theater fans. Until June 26
“…what will be the end”, Laura Pels Theater roundabout
In Mansa Ra’s touching new comedy, the family dynamic of three generations of gay black men comes to a head when the teenager (Gerald Caesar) dates his closeted father (Emerson Brooks) and recently widowed grandfather (Keith Randolph Smith) – stricken with stage 4 bone cancer – moves in with them and decides to take his mortality into his own hands. Until July 10
“B-Boy Blues”, Theater Row
Best-selling author James Earl Hardy’s 1990s story of a 27-year-old music journalist and the banjee boy bicycle messenger he falls in love with takes on new life for a new generation to embrace. The threadbare production is directed by Christopher Burris and stars Ashton Harris, Bry’Nt, Damone Williams, Jermaine Montell, Kenè Chelo Ortiz, Reginald L. Barnes, Stephfon Guidry and Tieisha Thomas. Until June 25
“A Strange Loop”, Lyceum Theater
Marketed as a “great black, queer-ass American musical,” Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical focuses on a black gay writer who works as a theater usher on Broadway while going through the ups and downs meetings and work in New York. With L Morgan Lee, the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a Tony Award for her supporting performance, and newcomer Jaquel Spivey, who received a Tony nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Role lead in a musical, “A Strange Loop” is the most nominated show this season with 11 Tony nominations. Also stars Antwayn Hopper, John-Michael Lyles, James Jackson, Jr., John-Andrew Morrison and Jason Veasey. Currently playing.