LOVE IS LOVE! Pride is upon us and we want to celebrate some of the most iconic queer characters and musicals that have made an impact on our past and are shaping the future!
1. Pythio from Head Over Heels
This 2018 production with music of The Go-Go’s is what we hope to see more of in the future of musicals everywhere! Traditionally a female character, Head Over Heels represents the Oracle as nonbinary. Pythio is played by Peppermint, runner up on season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Peppermint was the first trans performer to originate a principal role on Broadway, and that along with the many other queer aspects of this show are why it plays such an important role in the history and the future of musical theatre.
2. Emma Nolan and Alyssa Greene from The Prom
These two characters are beautifully vulnerable and strong. Watching their journey of hope and love amidst bullying and homophobia is powerful and shares the important message of acceptance with its audience. Emma and Alyssa are monumental in the history of queer musicals – they hold the title of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s first ever televised LGBTQ+ kiss.
3. Celie and Shug Avery from The Color Purple
Based on the 1982 novel of the same name, The Color Purple portrays an intimate relationship between two strong black women. While that is incredible on its own, the depth and connection that they share is beyond words. Celie and Shug’s blossoming relationship is breathtaking to watch, and pretty cool to see in a story that takes place in the early 1900s.
4. Alison Bechdel from Fun Home
Fun Home is recognized as the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist. Watching Alison discover and come into her sexuality from such a young age, learning to love and accept herself along the way, is a beautiful and emotional experience that is incredibly valuable for all audiences.
5. Jamie from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Based on the 2011 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, about the life of Jamie Campbell, the most iconic aspect of this musical is that its aim isn’t to normalize queer voices or stories, or portray its LGBTQ+ characters as victims in any way. Jamie is a powerful young femme kid who challenges gender norms and fulfills his dreams of being a drag star. He is bold and heroic; he’s not just around to be a sidekick with jokes.
6. Peter and Jason from Bare
Highlighting the struggles that youth face at a Catholic boarding school, the centre of this story is focused on Peter and Jason. We follow the heartbreaking path that their secret relationship sends them on as they face bullying and homophobia at the hands of the religious views forced upon them. Their story is honest and eye opening and has a strong message of how crucial acceptance is.
7. Hanschen from Spring Awakening
Another musical that focuses on the lives and struggles of youth is Spring Awakening. Set in late 19th century Germany, Hanschen embracing and exploring his sexuality so wholeheartedly is pretty ground-breaking. With such strong-willed characters, young audiences are sure to leave this show feeling empowered.
8. Angel, Collins, Maureen, and Joanne from Rent
Opening on Broadway in 1996, this show was definitely one of the trailblazers for LGBTQ+ stories to come. With so many diverse characters representing different sexualities, genders, and races, Rent is about people coming together and facing hardships. This story and these characters that are so full of love and hope leave us feeling less alone in our own times of struggle. Did you know our teen group here at Marquee will be doing this show in the fall? You will want to be a part of this show for sure!
9. Georges and Albin from La Cage aux Folles
La Cage aux Folles was faulted for “mainstreaming homosexuality for mass consumption” when it opened in 1983. Now this show is widely recognized and celebrated as one of the first hit Broadway musicals to centre around a gay relationship. Gerges and Albin are an incredible representation of love, showing that families come in all different forms.
10. Lola from Kinky Boots
The headlining drag queen at a local club, Lola, teams up with the owner of a shoe company and isn’t welcomed by the employees. From Lola, the audience and the characters learn the importance of accepting others for who they are and to “just be who you wanna be”.
11. Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Show
The boundaries that The Rocky Horror Show pushed in 1973 in terms of embracing gender roles and sexualities was a huge step for theatre. Frank-N-Furter and the rest of the Transylvanians celebrate uniqueness and everything that makes them special.
12. Paul from A Chorus Line
With the original production opening in 1975, it is refreshing to hear Paul’s freedom and expression regarding his sexuality and his experience with finding himself. Through his heartfelt and honest monologue, we as an audience gain an understanding of the impact that one’s struggle with their sexuality and the opinions of family and friends can have on you.
We love these characters and their stories. We can’t wait to see what the future holds as theatre becomes more and more inclusive. HAPPY PRIDE EVERYONE!