Conservatives blast ‘Kinky Boots’ performance in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Unknown-1Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s inclusion of a musical number from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Kinky Boots angered conservatives, Back 2 Stonewall reported, and they took to Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media to attack Macy’s.

“Macy’s worst decision ever with your cross dresser show on Thanksgiving, you’ve completely removed the family part of thanksgiving,” Adam Cervas wrote. “Absolutely disgusting, whoever made that decision should be fired.”

Rebecca King fired off a lengthier rant. “Boycotting Macy’s immediately,” she wrote. “My entire family and I were altogether disgusted. Changed the channel within seconds of the ‘Kinky Boots’ act, before my young children were exposed to the highly sexualized explicit adult material. Disappointed is an understatement. As a business, you know that Word Of Mouth (WOM) communication is a huge part of marketing. You should also know that negative WOM spreads faster than positive. Be assured, I will never say another positive word about your company, but will make sure those who missed out on the debacle of your parade this year are aware of your grand entrance into the push of sexuality onto young children. A public apology is owed. Americans deserve better than this.”

Kinky Boots, the story of a struggling shoe factory owner who teams up with a drag queen to save his business, is infused with a delightful message of acceptance and celebration of diversity. However, the meaning behind the performance the cast of the musical delivered during the parade seemed to be lost on many who left a flurry of furious posts on Macy’s Facebook page.

You can watch the performance that ignited the conservatives’ outrage below. Anyone wishing to counter the assault can go to Macy’s Facebook page and leave a message.

—  Steve Ramos

Dallas Summer Musicals announces uber-gay 2014 season

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Joe DiPietro is back in Dallas with ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It.’

Dallas Summer Musicals announced its 2014 season at an event Tuesday night, showcasing a larger eight-show mainstage season, as well as two special events. And boy! Is it ever a gay season.

The series kicks off, as already announced, with the holiday show Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Dec. 17–29. That will be followed in the new year by Ghost: The Musical (Jan. 28–Feb. 9). Then the gay heats up.

Next up is The Little Mermaid, written by gay Dallas native Doug Wright (Feb. 13–March 2); We Will Rock Youa London hit featuring the music of glamrock band Queen (March 4–16); the return of the Friends of Dorothy — not in Wicked, but in The Wizard of Oz (March 18–30); the new production of Webber & Rice’s Evita, the recent B’way hit that starred Ricky Martin — but don’t expect Martin on the tour (April 15–27); the return of the uber-gay ABBA jukebox musical Mamma Mia! (June 3–15); and finishing up with Nice Work If You Can Get It, featuring the music of the Gershwins in a new story by gay writer Joe DiPietro, pictured (Sept. 2–14). 

Interestingly, the season does not include the announcement for the State Fair musical, which typically plays for much of the month of October. It may be a pipe-dream, but DSM head Michael Jenkins is one of the producers of Kinky Boots. DSM is also a producer of the recent Tony favorites Rodgers+Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Matilda The Musical, though they may be, like Kinky Boots, a few seasons away.

UPDATE: Apparently, DSM’s contract with the State Fair ended, and so there will not be a State Fair musical next season — and, possibly, far beyond.

In addition to the mainstage shows, there are two special events as well. First is Lord of the Rings In Concert, which features the music of the massive show played by the Dallas Pops Orchestra (Nov. 8–13, 2013), then the Beatles tribute show, Rain (Nov. 23–24, 2013).

All performances will be at the Fair Park Music Hall. Tickets can he purchased here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cyndi Lauper, who’ll be at HOB on Wed., talks ‘Kinky Boots,’ gay rights

Cyndi2Even before this year’s Tonys, the legendary Cyndi Lauper was already considered a champion: A champion of the Grammys. A champion of the pop charts. A champion of gay rights.

But as a teary-eyed Lauper accepted her Tony statuette for composing the music for the smash Kinky Boots (it also was named best musical of the year, and four other Tonys), the coming-of-age sensation about a drag queen and a shoemaker as unlikely business partners, she was recognized for something she had never been before: The girl who just wanted to have fun, with her apple-red hair and heavy Queens accent, is now a champion of Broadway.

Between gigs on her She’s So Unusual Tour, which opens at the House of Blues in Dallas on Wednesday, Lauper gave our Chris Azzopardi a ring recently to chat about her emotional night at the awards ceremony, freaking out rock stars with her “wildly nutty” persona and the reason she’s always stood up for her gay fans. Read the full interview below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gay night in America: The Tony Awards

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Billy Porter in Kinky Boots

Sunday was the gayest night of the year — no, not the Ryan Seacrest-Tom Cruise-John Travolta pool party, but the Tony Awards. Doubt me? Here’s the proof:

• Out actor Neil Patrick Harris was the host (for the fourth time). He performed, as we have come to expect, several musical numbers, including one about stage actors moving to TV with fellow gay sitcom star Andrew Rannells (as well as Smash‘s Meg Hilty and Laura Benanti).

• The list of presenters and performers seemed to be culled from a mix of Grindr profiles and diva wish lists. It started with Zachary Quinto, and also included onstage appearances by Rannells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, David Hyde Pierce, Alan Cumming, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Cyndi Lauper, Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters. (My favorite subtext event? That LuPone presented the second-to-last award for revival of a musical and her longtime rival Peters presented the last award, best musical).

• The winners were just as gay. The major nominees all have some gay content on cross-dressing, from the man-dressed-as-a-woman villain in Matilda to the big winners of the evening, the musical Kinky Boots (about drag queens, including wins for out actor Billy Porter, pictured, choreographer Jerry Mitchell and producer Hal Luftig, which won a leading six awards) and the play The Nance (about a gay burlesque performer, with three). Best play author Christopher Durang, winning his first Tony, thanked his partner of 25 years. Featured actor in a musical winner Gabriel Ebert thanked “Scott,” which sounds pretty gay to me, though who knows? And controversial AIDS Larry Kramer won the Isabella Stevenson Humanitarian Award. (More on the winners after the jump.)

• The musical performances and acceptance speeches? Queer, queer, queer. We got to see numbers from Kinky Boots, Bring It On! (which has a trans character), Cinderella (written by gay scribe Douglas Carter Beane with campy attitude), Pippin (with lots of hot men in tights), Matilda‘s Bertie Carvel and Jane Lynch as Miss Hannigan in Annie. The “in memoriam” tribute was set to Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” which of course is the name of her gay outreach program. Even the straight folks thanks lots of gay folks: Featured actor in a play winner Courtney B. Vance gave a shout-out to his director, George C. Wolfe, and featured actress in a play repeat winner Judith Light and actor in play winner Tracy Letts both named their shows’ gay playwrights. (Nearly all of the play winners, in fact, were written by gay men. Go figure.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tony noms are, as always, super-gay

Kinky Boots

When it comes to the Oscars and the Emmys, gay folks often latch onto minor categories to get our queer fix: Jim Parsons and Neil Patrick Harris and Jane Lynch for TV, more obscure categories like documentary short and adapted screenplay for the movies having the gay nominees; when a movie like Brokeback Mountain gets nominated a lot, we salivate.

One needn’t look nearly so hard with the Tony Awards, however. The announcement this morning of the nominees in theater is fairly flush with gay-interest candidates. (Heck, even Jesse Tyler Ferguson announced the nominees with the queens’ favorite Sutton Foster.)

The big vote-getter was Kinky Boots, pictured, with 13 nominations, including for it gay author (Harvey Fierstein), gay director/choreographer (Jerry Mitchell) and gay star (Billy Porter, who is up against Dallas native Stark Sands). Porter and Sands will compete against Bertie Carvel as a cross-dressing headmistress in the hit transplant from London, Matilda The Musical. (Adored gay rights activist Cyndi Lauper is also nominated for her score for Kinky Boots.)

Douglas Carter Beane, who re-wrote the script for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, was nominated for book of a musical against Fierstein, though Bring It On‘s gay scribe, Jeff Whitty, was unfairly overlooked for his clever script. The show itself, however, is up for best musical and best choreography (well deserved) for out director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler.

In the play category, two of the authors of best play nominees (Richard Greenberg and Christopher Durang) will be up against each other for The Assembled Parties and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, respectively. And on Broadway, even the actors are proudly out: Nathan Lane (The Nance) and David Hyde Pierce (Vanya and…) are both up for best leading actor in a play.

Some gay faves are also in the running, including Stephanie J. Block (her first nomination!) for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Judith Light for The Assembled Parties and the Rum Tum Tugger himself, Terrence Mann, in Pippin. And Holland Taylor snapped up a best actress nod playing Texas legend Ann Richards in her tour de force show Ann.

Of course, not everyone we wanted got nominated. Bette Midler was overlooked for best actress playing hard-driving Hollywood agent Sue Mengers in I’ll Eat You Last from gay writer John Logan. Well, we do need something to bitch about …

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Queer Music News: George Michael video stills, Mould’s new album, Lauper’s LGBT outreach

In marking the 30th anniversary of Wham’s first release “Wham Rap,” George Michael announced a new single to be released this Friday. That’s last week’s news, actually. But starting yesterday, he’s been posting stills from his upcoming video for “White Light.” The above image was released today on his website (and far better than the darker one from yesterday). From GeorgeMichael.com.

—  Rich Lopez