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Pride Parade

A host of shows with LGBT characters and themes are on the boards, including La Cage Aux Folles, Next Fall, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore. logo
Douglas Hodge in La Cage Aux Folles
(© Joan Marcus)
New York City officially celebrates Gay Pride on Sunday, June 27. And for visitors and locals alike, there are plenty of theater offerings now playing that feature LGBT characters and themes.

The Broadway production of La Cage Aux Folles, performing at the Longacre Theatre, was a big winner at the 2010 Tony Awards, taking home trophies for Best Revival of a Musical, director Terry Johnson, and star Douglas Hodge, who plays Albin. The production co-stars television star and Tony nominee Kelsey Grammer as Albin's other half, Georges. Set in a nightclub spotlighting drag performers, the show features a whimsical yet poignant take on family values and includes the hard-hitting gay anthem, "I Am What I Am."

Pop icon and Tony Award winner Elton John is among the producers of the 2010 Tony-nominated Best Play Next Fall, at the Helen Hayes. Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, the work centers around the five-year relationship between Adam, played by Patrick Breen, and Luke, performed by Patrick Heusinger. The work touches on issues of faith, homophobia, and hospital visitation rights for gay partners.

A number of other Broadway shows feature gay characters in supporting roles, or touch upon LGBT themes, including Billy Elliot the Musical at the Imperial, Everyday Rapture at the American Airlines, Hair at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden, and Sondheim on Sondheim, playing Studio 54.

Formerly on Broadway, Avenue Q, is now playing at New World Stages, and prominently features a gay Republican puppet. Off-Broadway fare also includes Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan's autobiographical solo show, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, which is being presented at the Midtown Theater by lesbian power couple Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner. Meanwhile, Penny Fuller, Rachael Harris, Diane Neal, Sherri Shepherd, and Cobie Smulders are the current cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore, at the Westside Theatre. Nora and Delia Ephron's Drama Desk-winning hit is based upon Ilene Beckerman's 1995 book about clothes and the memories they trigger. Among the stories shared in the show is a touching tale of two lesbians who find just the right outfits for their wedding ceremony.

Anthony Wilkinson and Reichen Lehmkuhl
in My Big Gay Italian Wedding
(© Carol Rosegg)
Speaking of weddings, My Big Gay Italian Wedding, at St. Luke's Theatre, stars Amazing Race winner Reichen Lehmkuhl opposite the show's playwright, Anthony J. Wilkinson, as the couple getting hitched. The show's cast of characters includes several gay men, as well as a pair of lesbian ex-lovers whose animosity might hide something deeper. The June 24 performance will be hosted by the stars of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New Jersey -- Dina Manzo, Caroline Manzo, Teresa Giudice, and Jacqueline Laurita -- and will benefit Marriage Equality New York. Another benefit is a concert version of Steve Schalchlin's semi-autobiographical musical The Last Session, about a songwriter with AIDS, to be performed at Theatre at St. Clements on June 23 with proceeds going to the church's food pantry and free veterinary clinic.

Legendary comedian Joan Rivers will perform two Gay Pride shows at the Gramercy Theatre on June 24, with net proceeds benefiting Rivers' favorite charities: God's Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also at the Gramercy is Jackie Beat in 3D!, featuring the acclaimed drag star for two late night shows, June 25 and 26.

A Gay Pride edition of the Drama Desk-winning Celebrity Autobiography is also at the Gramercy, performing on June 26. It will feature Mario Cantone, Rachel Dratch, Cheyenne Jackson, Kristen Johnston, John Cameron Mitchell, Eugene Pack, Dayle Reyfel, Bruce Vilanch, and B.D. Wong. Meanwhile, the New York NeoFuturists present its own Gay Pride-themed show, Too Much Pride Makes The Baby Go Gay, at the Kraine Theater as a benefit for LGBTQ advocacy in Uganda. Thank You For Being a Friend, an unauthorized musical parody inspired by The Golden Girls, also at the Kraine, has a plotline involving gay pop superstar Lance Bass, whose loud outdoor sex parties keep a quartet of cheesecake-loving retirees awake.

Former Cirque Du Soleil star Raven O shines in One Night With You, playing Tuesday nights at 45 Bleecker. The piece combines popular songs with bizarre but true stories from his life. Transgender performer Bianca Leigh also presents an autobiographical musical solo, A Night at the Tombs, performing at the Bowery Poetry Club. It features original songs by Jeff Whitty, William M. Hoffman, Taylor Mac, Jeff Domoto, Barb Morrison, Matty Pritchard, and Isam Rum.

Madeleine George's The Zero Hour, at Walkerspace, focuses on the disintegrating domestic bliss of Rebecca and her chronically unemployed butch girlfriend, while a number of gay relationships are served up and skewered in Joe Marshall's gay male sex comedy, A Night in Vegas, at the Bleecker Street Theatre.

Finally, Dixon Place will hold its annual HOT! Festival of queer culture and performance, running June 26-August 7. Among the artists participating in this year's festivities are Marti Gould Cummings, D'Lo, Julie Halston, Dynasty Handbag, Holly Hughes, Dan Hurlin, David Ilku, Michael Lynch, Shelly Mars, Reno, Jay Rogers, Greg Wallach, and Chay Yew.

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