Queer Music News: Melissa Etheridge does Broadway; Elton John shows off new baby

Billboard reports that Melissa Etheridge will step into Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s role in the Broadway rock musical American Idiot. The show is based on the band’s landmark album. Armstrong agreed to do the show himself for a run of 50 dates in spurts, but is now taking a small break:

Etheridge, best known for her song “Come to My Window,” will play drug dealer “St. Jimmy” from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6. Armstrong, the composer and co-author of the musical, returns Feb. 10.

The high-octane show follows three working-class characters as they wrestle with modern life. One joins the Army, one becomes a father and one descends into a drug-fueled life – thanks to St. Jimmy.

Says director Michael Mayer: “This character is seductive, thrilling and dangerous. Melissa Etheridge is all that and so much more.”

Elton John and David Furnish grace the cover of Us Weekly showing off their new family pictures. Ain’t that cute?

On the cover of the new issue out Wednesday (Jan. 19), John and Furnish are photographed with their new bundle of joy, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.

“I’ve never felt anything like it in my life,” says John of holding his son for the first time. “You’re so awestruck. What can you say? You take it in. The feeling, the joy, the warmth of his body, his breathing … I will never forget that experience ever.”

—  Rich Lopez

Broadway Friday

– Spider-Man lead Natalie Mendoza is permanently leaving the accident-plagued show, citing continuing dizziness from a concussion suffered during the first preview. In other incidents, one actor broke both his wrists, another broke both his ankles. Mendoza’s replacement has not been announced. The show continues in previews towards a February 7th official opening.

– Tony nominee John Leguizamo’s new solo show, Ghetto Klown, begins previews at the Lyceum on February 21st for a 12-week limited run.

– Andrew Lloyd Weber will launch a U.S. reality show search for the lead in his stateside production of The Wizard Of Oz. His West End production opens in February with added numbers by Weber and his longtime collaborator Tim Rice.

Women On The Verge will close three weeks early this Sunday.

-Well-known Manhattan cabaret performer David Gurland died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Wednesday. Gurland, a frequent performer at The Duplex and Don’t Tell Mama, is survived by his partner Rob Maitner.

– Billy Crudup and Raul Esparza will star in the revival of Tom Stoppard’s stage comedy, Arcadia, which begins a limited run on February 25th.

– The creators of South Park come to Broadway on March 24th with their musical look at the founding of the Mormon Church, The Book Of Mormon.

– Sunday’s blizzard did a number on Broadway attendance, with even tickets for the eternally sold out Wicked coming available at the last minute. Still, a number of houses did record-breaking business for the holiday week.

– Ann Harada (Avenue Q, Les Miz) will star with the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus at their gala fundraiser on February 28th.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Broadway Actress Daphne Rubin-Vega Offers First Spanish Voice to New Yorkers for Marriage Equality

Broadway actress Daphne Rubin-Vega is the latest New Yorker to join the Human Rights Campaign’s “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” campaign.  Rubin-Vega lent her voice to the campaign with two videos, one in English, and the first Spanish language video of the series. Both new videos, and the entire campaign, can be viewed online at www.hrc.org/NY4marriage.

“There is nothing more important to me than the love and commitment that a family brings,” said Rubin-Vega. “That’s why I support equal marriage rights for all.”



With the eight and ninth installments of the series; Rubin-Vega joins Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Mayor Bloomberg, Moby, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, actress Fran Drescher, Julianne Moore and designer Kenneth Cole to support marriage equality in the state. In the coming weeks and months HRC will continue the series of prominent New Yorkers speaking out in support for marriage equality to include: Whoopi Goldberg, David Chang, Tom Colicchio, Ethan and Ryan Hawke, Christopher Meloni and Joan Rivers.

A marriage equality bill failed last year by eight votes in the New York state Senate despite having the support of the Governor and being passed in the Assembly. HRC’s Campaign for New York Marriage has worked tirelessly this election and had big wins throughout the state. Check out our election results page to find out more about our victories in New York.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

‘It Gets Better’ — the Broadway Stars version

Hat tip, Karen Ocamb, who says this song is “inspirational, uplifting – and catchy, too.” I really love the way the LGBT community and our allies have taken on this cause — led by Dan Savage, of course.


—  John Wright

Watch: Broadway Stars Sing ‘It Gets Better’

A host of young Broadway stars came together to record a song in the hopes of calling further attention to the problem of suicide among LGBT youth. The song, written by composer and lyricists Jay Kuo and Blair Shepard, embraces the theme of "It Gets Better" and will be available for download via iTunes on October 19th. Proceeds will benefit a terrific cause – The Trevor Project. What's just as good is that is the fact that the song is actually catchy.

Watch and listen yourself, AFTER THE JUMP.

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Broadway Friday

– Openly gay Broadway star Marty Thomas (Wicked, Xanadu) is suing Twitter to force them to disclose the identity of a user who claimed that Thomas was given crabs by a cast member of Avenue Q. Thomas said in court papers: “I do not suffer from, nor have I ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease.” Twitter has never been forced to identify an anonymous user.

In The Heights star Janet Dacal opens this April in a new musical “inspired by” Alice In Wonderland. Also cast is openly gay singer/dancer Tituss Burgess (Jersey Boys). Music by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll And Hyde).

– Openly gay actor T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) and Patrick Stewart opened last night in the revival of David Mamet’s A Life In The Theatre, which first ran on Broadway in 1977. One early review isn’t so great.

– The Professional Bull Riders Association will hold a competition in the middle of Times Square today at 1pm. The specially-built arena is supposed be “one city block” in size. Free and open to the public.

– Openly gay Tony winner David Hyde Pierce opened last night in the revival of David Hirson’s 1971 flop La Bete to decidedly mixed reviews.

– Four major musicals are opening on Broadway this fall without the usual out-of-town tryouts due to the cost. One result – terrible scenery glitches for Women On The Verge have resulted in show stoppages and apologies from the stage.

– Bette Midler so loves the musical version of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert that she has become one of its producers. The show made its North American debut in Toronto this week and lands on Broadway in the spring.

The Real Housewives of New York‘s Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is reportedly talking to casting directors from Chicago and La Cage Aux Folles about joining their shows. Money can’t buy you class, as her “song” goes.

– Broadway Speaks Out founder Marti Gould Cummings opens a new weekly Broadway revue at the Upper East Side’s Evolve Bar this Tuesday. First to appear are Next To Normal’s Emma Hunton and Stonewall Sensation winner Erik Sisco. Showtime 10:30pm.

– Tony winner Betty Buckley (Cats) has released a new nine-track album titled Bootleg: Boardmixes from the Road. Buckley, who has been cast as Anna Madrigal in the musical version of Tales Of The City, plays Manhattan’s Town Hall tomorrow night as part of their Broadway Cabaret Festival. Get tickets here.

VIDEO: Meet the door girl of La Cage Aux Folles.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

A little bit of Broadway in Minnesota!

Last night was the big LGBT kick-off event for Mark Dayton’s campaign for Governor here in Minnesota. Sponsored by HRC Minnesota PAC and OutFront Action PAC, the event brought Broadway star Gavin Creel and Mary-Mitchell Campbell to town to lend their significant talents to the effort. Hundreds of supporters of equality descended on the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis to unite behind Senator Dayton’s efforts to assure all Minnesotans are treated equally under the law.

The event drew a wide cross section of advocates from HRC, OutFront Minnesota, Project 515 and the Stonewall Democratic Caucus of the DFL. Additionally, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and State Representative Ryan Winkler were on hand to lend their support for Sen. Dayton and marriage equality.

The evening began with a small reception, during which Sen. Dayton, Mayor Rybak and OutFront Executive Director, Monica Meyers, all gave impassioned remarks about equality and the need for Minnesota to once again move to the front of the pack in treating all people with equal dignity and respect.  Then it was on to the main event!

Jake Reitan, one of the organizers of the event, took to the stage to welcome the crowd and get them pumped up and ready to act from now until Election Day. The crowd responded with whoops and hollers and the energy seemed to escalate for Jake’s introduction of Sen. Dayton, the man of the hour. The would be Governor revved up the crowd and gave a heartfelt recounting of a promise he made to his nephew that he would fight for his (and everyone else’s) equal rights in the state – including marriage equality.

Following the remarks, Gavin and Mary-Mitchell performed what seemed to be an endless set list of Irving Berlin favorites and some of Gavin’s own material. The evening ended with local theater performers joining Gavin and Mary-Mitchell on stage for the classic rendition of Let the Sun Shine In from Hair, the musical Gavin had starred in on Broadway.  Despite the incredible talent during the performance, I think the crowd will remember our guests from New York for their wit, personality and genuine care for our cause here in Minnesota.

With five and a half weeks to go until Election Day, the LGBT community in Minnesota must unite behind Mark Dayton and other fair-minded candidates.  We must turn out to volunteer for their campaigns and vote for him as he is the only viable candidate who will bring equality to the North Star State.  To get involved with our efforts in Minnesota, please email Tony Wagner at tony.wagner@hrc.org.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Broadway comes to Minnesota!

The Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota campaign is kicking off the fall in true style.  Senator Mark Dayton and Broadway superstar Gavin Creel will be starring in a fundraiser geared towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community this Friday, September 24th at the Women’s Club in Minneapolis.  Come join HRC and Outfront Minnesota for a night of music and community bonding as we ramp up our activities before November 2nd.

September 24 | 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.
The Women’s Club of Minneapolis
410 Oak Grove St. | Minneapolis, MN

Tickets range from – 0 and may be purchased here.

Prepared and paid for by Human Rights Campaign Minnesota PAC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington D.C., in support of Mark Dayton for Governor.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Broadway Friday

-New attitude! Patti Labelle will join the cast of the Tony-winning Fela! on September 14th and will perform there until the show’s scheduled closing in January. She will replace Tony winner Lilias White in the role of Fela’s mother.

-A Broadway version of Glee will definitely happen, according to the show’s co-creator Ryan Murphy, who says he is already auditioning the cast. No opening date has been disclosed. Murphy is also slated to direct the movie version of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart.

Hairspray Tony winner Marisa Winokur will co-cost the coming CBS talk show about motherhood with openly lesbian Rosanne star Sara Gilbert.

-Patti Lupone and Brian Stokes Mitchell will star in the musical version of Pedro Almodovar’s Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, which begins previews at the Belasco Theatre on October 2nd.

-Turn around bright eyes: Tony nominee Justin “Kiki” Bond will perform a series of dates at Joe’s Pub beginning on September 12th. If you haven’t seen Justin Bond, you are missing one of the truly unique theatrical experiences of our days.

Spider-Man: Turn Of The Dark will finally begin previews on November 14th after almost a year of delays related to its record-breaking M production cost.

-Tony winner Beth Leavel (Drowsy Chaperone) and George Wendt (Cheers) have been cast in the musical version of Elf, set to open at the Hirshfeld on November 14th. Wendt will play Santa, the lead role of Buddy has not yet been cast.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Uptown Players delivers ‘Forbidden Broadway’

Musical theater is getting snarky

In Uptown Players’ Forbidden Broadway, Gerard Alessandrini has written a revue that pokes fun at our favorite musicals. We’d normally deem this sacrilege, if it didn’t sound so funny. Rent, Les Misérables, Fiddler on the Roof all get a sassy redux in this new show directed by B.J. Cleveland.

DEETS: Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.2 p.m. $30–$40. UptownPlayers.org.

—  Rich Lopez