As it is LGBTQ+ history month, we have devised a list of musicals that centre around the LGBTQ+ experience. For generations, the theatre and LGBTQ+ community have gone hand in hand, being a safe space for people to be their authentic selves, free of judgement. Hopefully, these six shows will satisfy your musical cravings while allowing us to learn more about LGBTQ+ experiences.
1. Falsettos by James Lapine and William Finn
Falsettos spans through the start to the height of the AIDS crisis. The shows follow Marvin, a man who has just come out to his family as gay. The audience act as a fly on the wall, watching the fallout between Marvin’s ex-wife and child as they go through an emotional transition from betrayal to acceptance.
However, this show’s crucial element is that it exposes the destruction of the AIDS epidemic by remembering the beautiful and innocent lives we lost.
- What More Can I Say
- What Would I Do
You can find the Falsettos cast recording on Apple Music and Spotify, as well as a professionally filmed production of the 2016 Broadway revival on YouTube. I cannot recommend this enough.
2. La Cage Aux Folles by Harvey Fierstein and Jean Poiret
This show is a musical adaptation of the famous film The Birdcage. However, I would argue this is a superior version. La Cage Aux Folles tells the story of George, a nightclub owner and his drag queen partner Albin, and how they react when their son is engaged to a girl from a conservative family.
The musical demonstrates a strong family bond between the two men and emphasises the message of acceptance throughout the piece, gifting audiences with a celebration of love and pride.
- I Am What I Am
- A Little More Mascara
You can find the La Cage Aux Folles cast recording on Apple Music and Spotify.
3. Fun Home by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori
Fun Home is adapted from a graphic novel surrounding Alison Bechdel’s life. The show is told from Alison’s two perspectives: a child questioning her sexuality and a college student as she learns to accept herself.
These differing perspectives demonstrate the contrast between Alison and her father, Michael, who we later find out committed suicide because he couldn’t accept his own sexuality. The show demonstrates the impact of mental health in a society that enforces stereotypes and rigid expectations, and highlights self-acceptance.
- Ring of Keys
- Changing My Major to Joan
You can find the Fun Home cast recording on Apple Music and Spotify.
4. Head Over Heels by Jeff Whitty, James Magruder and The Go-Gos
Inspired by the music of the Go-Gos, Head Over Heels is set in a fictional land that’s dictated by restrictive societal norms named ‘the beat’. The story follows the characters on a journey of self-discovery.
It’s important to be true to yourself instead of internalising what society imposes on you. What is so special about this show is that representation is ingrained within the story and production as it has one of the first non-binary characters in a musical, Pythio.
Any Drag Race fans will be happy to know that this character was created by Peppermint, who became the first trans women to originate a principal role of Broadway.
- We Got the Beat
- Heaven is a Place on Earth
You can find the Head Over Heels cast recording on Apple Music and Spotify.
5. Bare by Damon Intrabartolo and Jon Hartmere
Bare is the original Romeo and Romeo story. It follows the relationship between two students within a Catholic high school.
The show explores modern-day issues that students have to deal with through the lens of religion. It also demonstrates how outside pressures including family expectations, religion, and socialisation can impact the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth.
- You and I
- Best Kept Secret
You can find the Bare cast recording on Apple music and the 2016 off-Broadway production of Bare: A Rock Musical on YouTube.
6. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie by Dan Gillespie Sells
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows the story of an openly gay student, who dreams of becoming a drag queen and wants to wear a dress to the prom. This musical is so important because it shines a light on the topic of gender identity.
The musical also highlights the relationship between Jamie and his mother, who is so supportive and is the blueprint for all parents of queer youth, in my opinion.
- He’s My Boy
- And You Don’t Even Know It
You can find the cast recording on Spotify and Apple Music. There is also an official recorded version of the show on YouTube and a film adaption of the play coming to screen soon, depending on COVID-19 developments.
These are just a few fantastic LGBTQ+ focused musicals and where to find them. Hopefully they will keep you entertained during lockdown, and we won’t have to wait too long before theatres open again!
Featured Image Credit: KX Tickets