Truth! Beauty! Freedom! Love! New York City theatergoers experienced all that and more.
With a starry revival of Angels in America, lesbian teens at The Prom, and herstoric trans representation in Head Over Heels—not to mention the gay boys in The Boys in the Band and other unforgettable scene-stealers—how could 2018 queer theater be topped? “Hold my overpriced sippy cup of wine,” said 2019.
Here are the 10 best LGBTQ-inclusive plays and musicals that premiered both on and off-Broadway this year.
Glorious gospel music elevates Tarell Alvin McCraney’s praiseworthy coming-of-age drama. Jeremy Pope dazzled as an effeminate gay choir leader who endures bullying at an elite prep school for black men. Manhattan Theatre Club at Friedman Theatre, closed.
Dave Malloy’s uncommon and electrifying a cappella song cycle logs into a support group for eight internet addicts, including an adorkable gay guy (Alex Gibson) who can’t stop playing candy-themed video games. Pershing Square Signature Center, closed.
Dr. Ride’s American Beach House
In Liza Birkenmeier’s quirky drama, set on a rooftop the night before Sally Ride’s historic 1983 space trip, Kristen Sieh and Erin Markey played repressed waitress-poets stirred by Marga Gomez as a butch lesbian. Ars Nova at Greenwich House Theater, closed.
Parents navigate life after their son is convicted of rape in Selina Fillinger’s intimate gut-puncher. Christopher Livingston was terrific as a gay rape survivor who runs a sexual crisis center where the guilt-ridden mom atones. Roundabout Theatre Company’s Black Box Theatre, closed.
To Kill a Mockingbird
All rise for Aaron Sorkin’s timely and affecting adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel about racism and social injustice in 1930s Alabama. Gideon Glick originated the role of Dill, a queer neighbor boy based on Truman Capote. Shubert Theatre, open-ended.
Bursting with big-budget bling, Alex Timbers’ spectacular adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s movie musical, set in early 1900s Paris, includes a queer club owner and Jeigh Madjus as a wig-snatching drag queen. Hirschfeld Theatre, open-ended.
We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time
David Cale’s shocking solo musical memoir, at first blush a simple gay coming-of-age tale colored by bird breeding and Judy Garland records, adeptly unfolds to exhume the tragically violent end to his parents’ unhappy marriage. Public Theater, closed.
Inspired by E.M. Forster’s Howards End, Matthew Lopez’s penetrating two-part epic gives voice to three generations of gay men in the shadow of AIDS. It’s smart, seductive, messy, devastating, and fabulous—just like us, sis. Barrymore Theatre through June 7.
Is This A Room
Emily Davis stars in Tina Satter's intense staged transcript of an FBI inquisition that led to government leaker Reality Winner’s arrest, unpacking patriotism with trans actors T.L. Thompson and Becca Blackwell reclaiming cis male roles. Vineyard Theatre through January 19.
A Strange Loop
Michael R. Jackson’s fearless musical firebomb, directed by Stephen Brackett, starred dynamo Larry Owens as a black gay usher creating a self-referential musical. Racial fetishism, self-loathing, inner white girls, poppers, a gospel number declaring “AIDS is God’s punishment,” Tyler Perry digs, Whitney Houston’s ghost—this show went there hard. It made me squirm. It made me howl. It gave me hope for the future of theater. Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73, closed.
Ain’t No Mo’ at Public Theater.
Bar Dykes at the Flea Theater.
BLKS at Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.
Brief Chronicle, Books 6-8 at Access Theater.
The Cake at MTC’s City Center Stage I.
Douglas at Daryl Roth Theatre.
Eureka Day at at Walkerspace.
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven at Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater.
Hurricane Diane at New York Theatre Workshop.
Jagged Little Pill at Broadhurst Theatre.
June Is the First Fall at New Ohio Theatre.
Mac Beth at Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Make Believe at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater.
The Michaels at Public Theater.
Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow at Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.
Open at the Tank.
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord at WP Theater.
Scotland, PA at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre.
Victor at Axis Theatre.
The Young Man From Atlanta at Pershing Square Signature Center.