For a long while, Broadway has been considered somewhat of a haven for the LGBTQ+ community (the past few years, though, have been monumentally lacking). For this post, I’m making a list of LGBTQ+ representation currently on Broadway. This will not include fanon opinions or implied LGBTQ+ characters. I’m talking about characters who either say “I am LGBTQ+/not cis/not straight” outrightly or are seen/discussed as being in a romantic relationship with a same-gender character. I will also only be discussing musicals, as plays have very, very limited accessibility.
Shows that I have not seen before and/or do not have enough information/knowledge to confirm one way or another are labeled with a question mark. If you know about any LGBTQ+ representation in these shows, please reblog with that information, and I’ll update this post accordingly! Also, if I have missed or somehow misinterpreted any representation, please send me an ask, or something, just tell me, and I’ll make the appropriate changes!
Here we go! Happy pride!
A Bronx Tale - No.
Aladdin - None.
Anastasia - No.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical - Nope.
Cats - Nada.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - No.
Chicago - None.
Come From Away - A lot of non-straight characters are in this show! Two of the most prevalent supporting characters are an interracial gay couple! Also, LGB (sadly, no transgender/nonbinary/or otherwise non-cis characters are ever mentioned) family members are mentioned by various other characters. No discussion of non-cis people, though, and all non-straight characters are supporting, not lead.
Dear Evan Hansen - :/// None.
Falsettos - The best! The greatest! The lead character is a Jewish gay man who is in love with another Jewish gay man! Also! An interracial lesbian couple!! The most representation of LGBTQ+ people on Broadway since Fun Home. (Still no non-cis people, though.)
Groundhog Day: The Musical - There is a very minor gay character in this show.
Hamilton - Noooope! (It’s here that I’ll remind you of this: “This will not include fanon opinions or implied LGBTQ+ characters. I’m talking about characters who either say “I am LGBTQ+/not cis/not straight” outrightly or are seen/discussed as being in a legitimate romantic relationship with a same-gender character.”)
Hello, Dolly! -?
In Transit - Yes! Two of the main characters are gay men in love, and the homophobia they face is mentioned a lot as well! I absolutely love this show, and it has wonderful representation all-around as well! (Thank you to @meepzer for pointing out that I forgot to mention it the first time around (I’ve been listened to this cast album on repeat for a month so I don’t know how I did that))
Kinky Boots - No. (Thesecondary main character, named Lola, is a self-described “drag queen”–which, of course, is not, under any circumstances, the same as a trans woman–who mostly uses she/her pronouns but identifies as a man and, if my memory is correct, is only attracted to women.)
Miss Saigon -?
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 - Kind of? Apparently, at one point, Dave Malloy may have confirmed Anatole to be bisexual, but this is never explicitly mentioned or confirmed in the show itself. Also, there is a lot of same-gender attraction seen in this show–i.e. women dancing with and kissing other women, men dancing with and kissing other men–specifically in the chorus, but no character is ever explicitly mentioned as being LGBTQ+.
On Your Feet! -?
School of Rock: The Musical - Yes! The parents of one of the main characters are gay men! BUT, this show has been criticized for a stereotypical portrayal of gay men :(
Sunset Boulevard - Nope.
The Book of Mormon - There is a gay male supporting character who eventually overcomes his internalized homophobia and leads a self-accepting life.
The Lion King - No.
The Phantom of the Opera - Not at all.
Waitress - None.
War Paint -Yes! There is a gay male supporting character.
Wicked - Nope.
Simply put, there’s a lot of work to be done on Broadway, in relation to LGBTQ+ representation, as well as representation overall.
reminder that the general rule of thumb is that things can be sent to [name] c/o [address of theater where they’re working]. (although it sure looks like Oak has a Hamilton mailbox in that pic he posted. you’ll be able to mail him at the Imperial Theatre soon!)
current fanmail addresses are…
for Broadway company [name] c/o Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 West 46th Street New York, NY 10036
& the address for LMM fanmail is: Lin-Manuel Miranda 4768 Broadway Unit 743 New York, NY 10034
& for the Chicago cast: [name] c/o PrivateBank Theatre 18 West Monroe Street Chicago, IL 60603
& for the Angelica tour (for now!): [name] c/o Orpheum Theatre 1192 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102
A.K.A. Musicals I just really really like personally and want to see more content for
These are all pretty mainstream and popular, however the amount of musicals getting attention and content lately has been restricted to a very small group of new shows and while they’re great, I’d love to see these shows get some attention and content again.
Also the large majority of the fandoms I’m in right now are pretty young so there’s a chance a lot of you haven’t heard of these shows, which is a shame cause they’re great!!
Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog - This is a miniseries starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion about an aspiring supervillian called Doctor Horrible. It’s filmed in the style of Video Blogs and has 3 short acts, it’s short but super good! Very funny, really great actors, and a sad ending. You can find the full thing on youtube.
Little Shop of Horrors - This musical is a classic, but I barely hear about it at all lately!! It’s a horror-comedy about a flower shop on Skid Row where a strange and unusual plant is found by one of the employees, who discovers two things: The plant does wonders for business, and it has a taste for blood. The stage version is really good, but there’s also a great movie of it starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene (and Steve Martin has a great supporting role).
Carrie The Musical - A musical adaption of Stephen King’s novel by the same name, this musical follows the events surrounding a young girl tormented by bullies at school, as well as by an abusive mother, who discovers she has supernatural powers. This musical is amazing and has really great songs, however it does contain bullying, abuse, and what can be interpreted as anti-religious content. Be sure to keep that in mind if you’re made uncomfortable by that sort of thing! A full recording of the 2012 revival is currently on youtube.
Hairspray - Set in the 1960s, this musical follows Tracy Turnblad, an overweight dancer struggling to break out into show business and her efforts to end racial segregation on television. The 2007 film is my personal favorite to watch, it stars Nikki Blonsky, Zach Efron, Queen Latifa, Christopher Walken, John Travolta, and Amanda Bynes. There was also recently a “Hairspray Live” on television but it wasn’t all that great…
Into The Woods - A musical by the amazing Stephen Sondheim, the plot revolves around fairy tale characters from different stories, namely Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and the beanstalk), Rapunzel, a Witch, Baker, and his wife, and a lot more as they all attempt to achieve their various wishes. The show is a funny and dark take on classic tales, and has really great music. You can find a professionally recorded video of a live performance on youtube, and Disney also made a movie of it a few years back. The movie does take out some stuff for time + to make it more kid friendly though.
I’ll probably add onto this list as time goes on, these are just the shows I’ve been wishing had more content lately. They’re all super great and I think the younger fans currently discovering Broadway should check them out!! Feel free to message me if you’d like to watch any of these and are having trouble finding them!
So a little while ago on reddit someone said this -
I had the great fortune of seeing War Paint tonight. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a musical currently running on Broadway starring our very own Yellow Diamond. After the show, my friends and I went to the stage door for signatures. We waited about 15 minutes and Patti LuPone came out first. As we were getting her signature, I decided to go for it and compliment her on SU. ‘You’re wonderful as Yellow Diamond on Steven Universe.’ She beamed and thanked me, agreed on how great the show is and then dropped a bombshell as she was walking to the next group of people. 'Christine plays White Diamond!’ Naturally I’m like OMG, and thought Christine Pedi at the first. However a second later I realized she was probably talking about her War Paint costar, Christine Ebersole. Patti ended up being the only actor to greet the crowd, everyone else snuck out so I couldn’t confirm with Christine, but I’m confident in saying that’s who Patti was referring to. Hopefully I don’t get Patti in trouble, but I couldn’t resist sharing “https://www.reddit.com/r/stevenuniverse/comments/6fymsf/white_diamond_va/
I want to do this on a larger scale, but I figured I’d start small first. A quick study for gender in the shows currently running on Broadway. Note: this does not include swings, alternates, and understudies.
28 shows currently running on Broadway
622 total cast members
366 men cast members (58.8%)
256 women cast members (41.2%)
110 more men than women cast
32% of audience members are male
68% of audience members were female
The only shows with more women than men are…
Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
It Shoulda Been You
Phantom of the Opera (because of the ballet chorus)
Shows with equal parts men and women are…
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
This isn’t to say that casting in Broadway shows needs to match a 50/50 representation of men and women, but the scary thing is that I think this is a pretty good season for female representation in comparison to the past decades. What troubles me is the huge discrepancy between who is actually paying for the product–in other words, who is seeing these shows–and who we actually see on stage. I really look forward to continuing this study with more shows–I’m planning on tallying hundreds of shows over the past decades to see how it all adds up.
Finding a video/audio of shows that are currently on Broadway or popular shows:
Here you go! It's right here. Grab some popcorn and enjoy yourself!
Finding a video/audio of a very rare Broadway show/concert or a popular show with a famous replacement:
Oooooooh! In order to get this, you need to give me $22 dollars, another show/audio, your soul, your right limb, and your unborn child.
It is Angelica Schuyler’s birthday today (Feb 20th) (and mine too, you have no idea how hyped I was to find out that I share a birthday with her)
So I spent another 6 hours drawing. I had a hard time deciding who to draw as her so I went with the current Broadway version aka Mandy Gonzalez.
Praise the internet for so many refs and that one photo of Mandy as Angelica.
Natasha is Young: Costuming Denée Benton in “The Great Comet”
I had a special request in the Ask box for another entry in my The Great Comet series, and I am happy to oblige. This time, I’m turning my attention to something I’m typically more comfortable reviewing, namely women’s costuming. Having covered the male lead last time, I want to take a look at the costumes of Denée Benton this time, because they really show off Paloma Young’s skills as a costumer. I’ve picked a couple of Natasha’s (Ms Benton) outfits from The Great Comet to focus on, but I really do think you should check out all the costumes from this production; it’s definitely one of the most sumptuous musicals currently running on Broadway.
I’ve talked a lot about theming in costuming, and this is a good place to reiterate those points. Costume designers use color to make a statement, and this production is no exception. Costuming the character of Natasha in white for virtually the whole of the musical imbues the character with a kind of purity that none of the other characters possess to the same degree (with the possible exception of Sonya…but then again, “Sonya is good”). I think that’s important in the context of the musical, but there’s another reason that I think the white coloring of Natasha’s costumes is so important, and it goes to the heart of what makes The Great Comet such a unique theatrical experience: the staging and lighting.
Anyone who has seen the staging for The Great Comet knows that it is an interactive performance, one where the audience is very much brought into the heart of the action. As a result, the lighting design is more complicated than in your average production. That means your costumes need to be able to catch the light, and it makes the detail work you put into a costume all the more important. After all, members of the audience will be seeing the actress and character from every angle, as opposed to just a handful. Let’s take a look first at The Coat that is featured prominently in many of the promotional images and in the musical itself:
I want to start off by saying how in love I am with this coat. It’s regal and rich, and it hangs beautifully on Ms Benton (I haven’t had the chance to view anything from the understudies, so I’m focusing on the actress who originated the role). This is a posed shot, but it gives us a view of just how gorgeous this piece is. As I mentioned in my 9 to 5 review, outerwear is not something that is commonly featured on Broadway, and so costumers tend to take their cues more from history or current trends rather than other productions. But Paloma Young has come up with something beautiful and original here.
It’s floor-length, which has the effect of adding to Ms Benton’s height (something costumes can do, as I have noted in other reviews) and giving her more of a stage presence. The white is almost creamy in color in every photo I have seen, which is a good choice, I believe; pure, stark white can look artificial to the eye when it is overused, and a formal coat like this in the era (remember we are dealing with the 1810s) would almost certainly not have been in pure white. But this comes close, and onstage, it has the effect of being almost blindingly brilliant–which has to be intentional. Take a look at this shot where Ms Benton is lit from behind; the coat almost seems to glow as it catches the light, but you can still see the creaminess of the color where there is shadow:
Just take a moment to drink that in. Part of it is the effect of the spotlight, but it is not easy to get this kind of effect in a stage production, and Ms Young deserves a huge amount of credit for her fabric choice and the cuts of the cloth here. There’s an angelic feel here that gives me all the good feelings, and it really forces you to pay attention.
Onto the details of the coat itself! As can be seen in the first still, the coat is relatively simple in design, but that adds to its elegance in my book. Floor-length, it closes through the addition of four silver buttons on the bust and chest, which manage to stand out without being distracting. Ms Young has added a false belt around the high waist, using gold embroidery to add a splash of color to the cream of the coat itself. The embroidery takes the form of gold roping, which I think ties it nicely to Pierre’s waistcoat, which was the subject of my first Great Comet review. It flows nicely while still being a tiny bit abstract, and I think helps to make the coat more impressive.
The collar and cuffs of the coat match (which is important, I think, when one wants a classical look) through the addition of white fur. That’s a nice hat-tip to Russian styling of the Romanov era (1613-1918), which often emphasizes fur elements both for functionality and for design. Earlier on, functionality would have been more important–a Russian winter is brutally cold and fur is naturally warming–before eventually giving way to being a design element; given the setting of The Great Comet, I think it’s fair to say we’re more into the design era.
What I like about the addition of the fur is that it adds another texture to the coat itself; while not apparent in the stills here, under magnification the coat is a rough, almost leathery fabric that would help to keep the wearer warm while still looking elegant and graceful to an outside observer, as it does to the audience in this production, whether in the orchestra or onstage in the special seating. Texture is important, I think, even when it isn’t directly observed, because the eye is capable of picking up tiny, minute details even without us being conscious of it. It’s apparent that this isn’t a completely smooth fabric, but the addition of the fur adds a softness to the coat that it might otherwise lack.
The other amazing costume that is worn by Ms Denton in her role as Natasha is the White Dress. I think when most people hear that there is a ball scene in this musical, they conjure up images of voluminous dresses with yards of silks and chiffons, but I think that’s because most of us have been spoiled by Victorian or 18th century costume dramas rather than those set in the era of The Great Comet. Regency-era attire, both in the West and in Russia, was a little bit more simple. Crinolines (the wooden or wire skeleton of a ball gown) had yet to come into fashion in Russia as they had (to some extent) in France, and instead, a lot of emphasis was given to relatively straight cuts of fabric. The idea was that a woman’s figure could be hinted at, but not excessively revealed, leaving a slight air of mystery that would change over time.
Taking a look at the White Dress, the 1810s fashion leaps right out:
The dress is a patterned white fabric, where the pattern is a series of circular elements that are a part of the dress rather than being adornments added later on. There is a very high waist, which is a classic hallmark of this era of fashion in both the West and in Russia, and the bust and chest are richly adorned with detail work I’ll take a look at in a moment.
But look at the overall effect of the dress first. The fabric flows down to floor-length, is capable of floating when Ms Benton is in motion (as this shot shows), and has a regal look without being too imposing or intimidating. Compare that to, say, some of the dresses that Helene wears in the production, and the effect is even more important. Natasha is evolving slowly throughout this musical, and the dress is a point of transition. She’s allowing herself to be absolutely gorgeous in the context of a grand ball, and the dress is made to show off her ability to revel in the moment.
The overall effect is only enhanced by taking a closer look at some of the detail from the top portion of the dress. Here, we see Natasha being aided in getting ready by the aforementioned Helene (who may very well be the subject of her own review in this series), offering us not only a view of the detail but a chance for a little bit of compare-and-contrast:
First off, wow. I know I have a tendency to gush over design elements that I find attractive, but I can absolutely see why the Anon who asked about reviewing this dress cited it as their favorite-ever piece of costuming. The white, patterned fabric gives way to a saltire (an x-shaped) of fringed beadwork that sticks out from the dress and really gives it an effect that pops. It would have been easy to go over the top here, but in my opinion, Ms Young struck the perfect balance of small, delicate beadwork attached to the dress, and the pattern she chose for it adds a bit of a whimsical look to the dress that I don’t think we would see with a more flat or one-dimensional strand of beads.
But the beadwork, while impressive, is not my favorite feature of this dress–it’s the lacework! Take a look more closely at Ms Denton’s chest and shoulders. There is some really beautiful, delicate, elaborate lacework that has been added to take the dress from amazing to spectacular. Lace is very difficult to work with, and even more difficult to incorporate into a costume because it is by nature delicate. One wrong move, and it will just absolutely shred. Using it in this dress was a little risky, given the intense movement that goes on throughout this production, but in my considered opinion, it’s a risk that absolutely paid off. The addition of the lace really takes this dress to another level, and even without the other costumes in this production, Ms Young’s nomination for a Tony was well-deserved (and, again, there is a very good case for a win there).
I’ve had a chance now to look at a few of Paloma Young’s designs, and I am absolutely in love with them. Being able to look in depth at a few of her designs both in The Great Comet and Bandstand, I am a real admirer of how she uses fabrics and cuts to tell a story. The story I see here, in both the coat and the White Dress, is one of evolution. This young, innocent character is finally starting to come into her own as a result of the events in the musical, and her costuming reflects that. There is an innocence and purity to the dress, yes, but there are also design elements that hint to the audience that change is coming for Natasha. The country girl has gone city, and with that she’s starting to become someone else–someone, perhaps, she was always meant to be. That’s not an easy effect to have through costuming, and it’s one that I think deserves to be appreciated and admired.
Once again, thank you to Paloma Young for these visually stunning and meaningful costumes!
That wraps up today’s review of Natasha’s costumes in The Great Comet. Given the reception the last piece got, I’ll mix a couple more reviews of Paloma Young’s designs into my rota for the blog, with Helene and Anatole both high on my list as deserving some analysis.
As always, dear readers, if you have thoughts, comments, or feedback, please do not hesitate to drop me an Ask or send me a message on here or my main blog. Stay tuned for more from the beautiful world of Broadway costumes!