Oh, I've definitely lost fans. I've been fired from Women of Faith. The haters online and on social media are there. But I don't know... I think I've gotten tougher or somethin'.
She also recalls the time a gay fan touched her deeply:
The second record I made was a Christian record (2005's As I Am). So, I was doing one of those talks—one of those moderated talks. After it was over I did a meet and greet, and I was signing the album and a guy comes up to me—he was probably about 35 and he was so cute and kind—and he just said, “I want to thank you for helping me. Just recently you helped save my life.” And I was like, “Wait, whoa, what?” And he just said, “My whole life I've been told I was going to hell. And I'm gay and I love God and I'm Christian and I was able to show my family that, 'Look at this girl. She made this album and she thinks I'm okay.'” That was 10, 12 years ago. That really affected me and stayed with me. One I really remember.
Tonight, I was privileged enough to be invited to attend a one-night-only oratorio (or, as last-minute guest Whoopi Goldberg called it, “oratio”) I Am Harvey Milk, with words and music by Andrew Lippa and starring Lippa as Milk, Noah Marlowe as Young Milk and angel-voiced Kristin Chenoweth as a soprano muse who stands in for several different women in Milk's life.
They were accompanied by the Joel Fram-conducted Orchestra of St. Luke's and The All-Star Broadway Men's Chorus.
Following Goldberg's intro (she referred to us as “family”...) and a more impassioned intro by Milk protégé Cleve Jones, the 60-minute presentation was thoroughly impressive, especially considering how well-mined the subject matter is. It was especially exciting to see and hear on the day the Supreme Court declined to review some lower court decisions, bringing marriage equality to five states immediately and another six in the long run, but this piece would be exciting to see and hear any day or night of the week, at any point in history.
The reason I Am Harvey Milk has a timelessness is that it's about the overall struggle for equality and fairness, even as it uses Milk's personal political odyssey to get at that larger theme.
I was lulled to light sleep at times by the beauty and sonic purity, but there were plenty of attention-getting highlights, most notably the jumpin' “Enough Is Enough”-inspired “Friday Night in the Castro” (complete with clapping hands and gay boogie), the triumphant “Lavender Pen” (recounting Mayor Moscone's signing of a non-discrimination proclamation) and the searing “Tired of the Silence”, in which the assembled singers exhort every gay person in the world to come out, come out, come out. (Using images that included reluctant, quasi-out Jodie Foster was perhaps a misstep, but damned if they weren't up-to-the-minute enough to include headlines from earlier today!)
Fantastic evening, surrounded by a lot of civic-minded gay people and our supporters, lovers of the arts and some glitterati; but the snazzy ensembles and relentless fitness of the crowd was just fashion, and the music and words were a reminder than being loud and demanding respect never goes out of style.
My third Broadway Bares, directed by Josh Rhodes and assistant director Lee Wilkins and produced by Jerry Mitchell with a Monopoly theme, was the best yet even if the star power was not as jaw-dropping as one might expect for a 20th anniversary show—no matter, because who the fuck cares about Missy Tony Winner when you've got a stage filled with the country's best, brightest and nakedest Broadway dancers? The night was like one big no-handed edging session. I'm not sure if the experience is untoppable, but if it isn't, it's definitely a power bottom in sequins.
Shiny, happy people
Jason and I (pictured, above) showed up at 10:35 last night to line up for the midnight show, only to find the line snaking out of Roseland and about three-quarters of the way to 53rd already. It was already a gay-list day—not only did I spot both Leslie Jordan and Paolo Andino on Ninth Avenue, but I got all blogged down by brunching with Kenneth from Kenneth in the (212) and running into Jesse Archer, Joe Jervis (pictured), Jared Eng and Andy Towle at BB. See, not all bloggers spend their lives in the pajamas...though I'm in mine as I type this. Hmmm.
The lovely AJ Thorpe ushered us in
They let us in around 11:30, whereupon we made a beeline for the middle, settling on the inside edge of stage right. It was packed and quite warm (a 90-degree day had preceded) but not too bad. I feel terrible for the cute guy adhered to me from the front (I felt bad, but he felt good) because my camera must have poked him 200 times later on. I saw some of the usual pervs—myself included—many of whom pop up in my videos from previous years.
The show started 20 minutes late, but it unfolded at whiplash pace. Dapper Euan Morton (so brilliant eons ago in Taboo) kicked off the opening number "The Best Game in Town" in a top hat and tails a good little monopolist, introducing us to the lovely ladies who stood in for the iconic game pieces. Each and every one was described in sexually suggestive ways, even the wheelbarrow—you can guess what she's capable of carrying away.
No, THIS is the best game in town
There she is, Miss...Vanessa L. Williams
The show's biggest star opened the whole thing
With no build-up, he introduced the biggest stars of the night, the resurging Vanessa Williams (don't even dream that she would be dumb enough to get naked again) and everybody's favorite Christian Broadway bombshell Kristin Chenoweth. The ladies were on point and suitably glam, sporting nice gams.
Josh's entrance (the other one is available to view here.)
Joshua Buscher, a West Side Story dancer in possession of (this must be official somewhere?) the greatest white behind on the Great White Way was someone I picked out last year as a dazzler; this year, he starred in a show-stopping number called "The Bank" set to Lady GaGa's "Money Honey" (OMG, or was he copying Madonna???) that culminated with him dancing totally nude while basically wearing two male peers. It was a well-tailored fit.
Josh puts it allll behind him
If you want all the minutiae about what the ladies accomplished this year, you might need to search for a Girl Culture blog; I love women, but I was so boycrazy I fear I will not do justice to the female-driven numbers. I do know that soon after a rowdy lipstick-lezzie lingerie number called "Connecticut Avenue", a talented, black-bustiered female Alysha Umphress crooned Journey's "When the Lights Go Down in the City" so well that I do hope someone went down on her after the show.