Interesting artistic decision or blatant sell-out? Broadway is not my thing so you be the judge of Harvey Fierstein's comments on Michelangelo Signorile's radio show confirming that "no one's gay" in the new musical version of the movie Kinky Boots about big men who do drag. Sure, it's based on a true story but a gay character could be there somewhere. Perhaps the more compelling dynamic would have been to depict a mix of sexualities on stage, to highlight their differences and surprising similarities, etc etc. I'm skeptical that the choice to exclude and erase is really all that brave and progressive. But the establishment loves it -- Kinky Boots is the most-nominated show (13!) at the Tonys three weeks from tonight.
Signorile recaps on HuffPost:
"Fierstein says he wrote and clearly portrays Lola as heterosexual, yet not one critic or reviewer has picked up on it, assuming that the character must be gay because he’s doing drag.
“I mean, he’s not gay,” Fierstein said in an interview on my SiriusXM radio program about the character based on a true story which was made into a 2005 British film of the same name. “I wrote this character as a heterosexual transvestite. He’s very clear that that is what he is. I thought this was a really interesting character to put up on the stage...rather than arguing the same arguments I’ve argued in 'La Cage,' to do something different. The really interesting thing to me is that not one critic -- not the gay critics, not the straight critics, -- not one critic picked up on him being straight. Not one. They all talked about, ‘Harvey’s gay liberation message or whatever.’ There’s no gay liberation message in this! No one’s gay in this! It’s so interesting to me that our prejudices are so strong that we hear what we think we hear.”