Special Features25 LGBTQIA+ Theatre Artists Share Their 2021 Pride PlansCelebrate Pride with Jenn Colella, De'Lon Grant, Jose Llana, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Douglas Lyons, Beth Malone, Javier Muñoz, Shakina Nayfack, Larry Owens, Peppermint, and more.
June 14, 2021
As Pride Month approached, Playbill reached out to a host of LGBTQIA + theatre artists to see how they planned to celebrate Pride during this unique year. Their varied responses follow.
And, whether you're planning to celebrate virtually or in person, be sure to catch Playbill's first-ever live concert event in honor of Pride, Glimmer of Light. The star-studded evening will take place June 17 at Radial Park in Halletts Point, Queens, and will stream for free beginning June 24 at 8 PM ET on Playbill.com and Playbill’s YouTube.
NickCearley: Nothing gets me more excited to celebrate Pride than the drum solo at the beginning of "I’m Coming Out" by Diana Ross. But also, this year I am feeling doubly proud and excited to be able to perform live for Denver Pride at Clocktower Cabaret as well as Colorado Springs Pride at ICONS with The Skivvies. Feeling grateful and thankful for the world healing, being able to travel again, and perform live in front of audiences to celebrate LGBTQ Pride.
Kevin Chamberlin: I will be celebrating my 30th anniversary with my husband, TV writer and producer Michael Gans, this Pride Month here in Los Angeles. Michael and I met just before Pride in NYC in 1991 when we were both young, struggling actors. We were both in the closet, terrified about coming out to family members and employers. Look how far we’ve come—and still the world still has a long way to go. We were married in 2008, but count 1991 as our real anniversary. We’re both sad that there’s no parade this year, but we will be supporting our local gay bars as of June 15 when everything opens to full capacity—mask free! Please donate to The Trevor Project!
Stephen Cole: It looks like Pride is a whole month. I can remember when we had one day. But truthfully, the only way to celebrate is all year. Still. I will celebrate as I always do. Writing. I am writing a new sitcom called ConeyIslandSurprise, where the lead character is gay, and he lives with an 81-year-old woman. He is only 35, so it's just second nature for him. If I could step into the sitcom, I would let him know how hard won his pride is and how we all had to go through more than one plague to get here. I think I will write that episode and have that 81-year-old woman teach the young whippersnapper a thing or three about Pride.
Jenn Colella: I'll be home in South Carolina for Pride this year. My big plan is to hit up a local karaoke bar with my nieces and TWIRL, hunty. We shall twirl.
Darius de Haas: I am primarily here in my new-ish home in New Jersey, and as far as Pride, I’m happy and honored to venture out to sing the music of legendary composer Billy Strayhorn on June 24 at 7 PM for the Flushing Town Hall Pride Trilogy. I’m also a guest host this month for SIRIUS XM On Broadway's TwoShowDay series—sharing Broadway and related songs that were influential to me. They are featuring founders from Black Theater United (of which I’m one) all this month. While not exactly Pride-related, it is still with a great sense of pride that I can share at least a small portion of what helped to shape my artistry.
Willy Falk: For Gay Pride this year, I will be remembering and rejoicing: remembering those we have lost to death and despair, while rejoicing that things keep getting better for LGBTQIA+ awareness and acceptance.
De'Lon Grant: There is a group of five of us from college. My best judies. Two of us live here in New York City, the other three are traveling to the city so that we can spend it together. Since most of the public events for Pride this year are virtual, our plan is to explore some of the city's outdoor attractions and just be together. Little Island on Pier 55 just opened, so that is high on the list. I know we will try to organize a moment of celebration in one of the parks (I live in Brooklyn, so I hope it's Prospect Park, but my friends whine about coming to Brooklyn, and I'm outnumbered). Given the nice weather and outdoor dining that's available, I know there will be a ton of meals and drinks to match. Cue the laughter! I can't wait to see these men—some of whom I haven't seen in person for years.
Alan H. Green: In my '20s I never went to Pride. I thought it was all about sex, drugs, and dudes dressed up outlandishly, and I felt like that didn’t represent me. Then in my '30s I realized that my perception of Pride was my own internal homophobia, and if I didn’t think I was represented at Pride then I needed to go and represent myself. I went and basically haven’t missed one since. Pride is a celebration of joy and love and hope and a reminder that I’m wonderfully and perfectly made just as I am and that I’m not broken and I’m not alone. Now I celebrate that, not just this month, but everyday.
RachelHauck: My partner Lisa and I have a tradition of going to the parade with one of my best friends, though it usually only takes an hour before we eventually make our way to the Cubbyhole, where all good things happen. The parade is always delightfully full of joy and spirit, but it's the crowd on the sidewalks I really like. There are always a few people who are quite clearly there for the first time, taking it all in. My favorites are seeing a parent who has brought their queer kid to see that epic celebration. It fills my heart to see their wide, wide eyes as they realize they are not alone. I remember that moment. This year will be one of many when we join the Dyke March, which will be live this year and happens the night before the parade. It is epic and full of fury and protest and love. See you there?
RodneyHicks: I will celebrate Pride this year with a full heart of love for myself and our LGBTQIA+ community, along with all sentient beings of our world. This year I have stepped into my full state of being as a gay, queer gender fluid human being who identifies as he/they. I celebrate Pride this year free from shame and stigma, by waking up grateful for evolution, faith, and change while happy and humbly confident in my 47-year-old Black body and skin. I celebrate healing. Standing in our world today with love, breath, compassion, joy, and softness for myself and all sentient beings. I celebrate Pride this year with renewed hope and faith in our tomorrow as a people, to inspire and lift one another up as we all continue forward. I celebrate Pride this year by completing the first full draft of the book to a new musical with music and lyrics by David Austin. The story is one of hope, love, peace, family, and friendship amidst the year that was, 1968. I celebrate that there will be many diverse roles for artists from many walks of life to originate in this new work of art for today. All of this I celebrate. Love.
Andrew Keenan-Bolger: One of the best things that last year brought us was Pride returning to its political roots. Don’t get me wrong, I also love dancing to techno music and marching in parades, but seeing our community take to the streets and join the Black Lives Matter protests was the reminder that our movement needed. I hope to spend this Pride working to get more LGBTQ representation in our government. There are a record number of queer candidates running for office right now, and a lot of them are at the state or local level. Check out the Victory Fund to see if there is anyone you can volunteer for in your area. And, afterwards, I hope to see everyone on the dance floor!
Kevin Smith Kirkwood: Every year, my friends Christian and Peter host a Pride brunch at their downtown Manhattan apartment, and then we walk to the parade. In 2019, the brunch party came out to watch me perform as “Classic Whitney: Alive!” on the Procter & Gamble float celebrating 50 years of World Pride! I’ll never forget riding past Stonewall, dressed in “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” Whitney drag, singing “One Moment in Time.” LOL. I’m also busy all month performing for Pride events and celebrations. We won’t be doing our usual ClassicWhitney Pride show at Joe’s Pub (last year’s was canceled), but we will definitely be back in 2022. This year, I performed virtually for Westchester Pride and the Loft LGBTQ Center’s Pride kickoff, I’m doing the ThousandJudys concert Pride week, and also a corporate show for a private consulting firm. My pride will be on display all month, and then hopefully I’ll get to hug my friends at brunch on the day of Pride.
JoseLlana: I celebrate Pride every year the same way I celebrate it since I came out in 1994 when I was 17 years old—by living my life out and proud and with no shame. And, since I got legally married nearly three years ago, I've been dropping the word "husband" as often as I can!
Douglas Lyons: I'll be celebrating Pride this year by seeing as many vaccinated friends as I possibly can. I don't need big parties or a parade this year. After the pandemic, a cocktail and a simple hug is more than enough.
Andy Mientus: This year, I am actually thrilled to be missing the parades and parties again because I’ll be spending Pride working on making live, in-person theatre with my company, The Forest of Arden, at the Williamstown Theater Festival. Luckily, I’m super queer and super proud all the time, so we can all make up for lost time when I’m out of my bubble. Till then, come see Alien/Nation at WTF, and have a safe and joyous Pride.
Beth Malone: During Pride month I’m usually busy doing exactly this—going about being visible, singing songs in my gay way, and generally celebrating queerness like rainbow mayonnaise.
Javier Muñoz: I always celebrate Pride by surrounding myself with my closest friends and loved ones. Last year it was virtual, this year I hope to see my friends in person for lots of hugs and laughter and joy. This year also marks 40 years of HIV/AIDS, so there is much reflection to be had and life to celebrate.
Shakina Nayfack: I’m part of the Intersectional Voices Collective (IVC), a group of Black, Indigenous, POC, Trans, and Queer artist/activists who came together last year to throw a massive Juneteenth Jubilee in Harlem, celebrating Black Trans and Queer joy as liberation. I’m helping to produce our second annual Juneteenth Jubilee on June 19, and I’m hoping it becomes a Pride tradition! We’re seeking community support for the event via venmo at @IVCjuneteenth or on cashapp at $IVCjuneteenth, and you can learn more about IVC on Instagram at @intersectionalvoicescollective.
LarryOwens: Fortunately my debut 54 Below show falls on June 19th, which is so perfect it’s the intersection of Juneteenth and Pride Month! I can think of no better place to be than onstage with my amazing music supervisor Josh Kight and performing this show I crafted with my brilliant co-director Chip Miller. The entire experience feels like a huge party, as Pride Month should.
Jessica Paz: Well, I’ll be treating myself to a once-a-week massage. It’s a treat I like to give myself every once in a while, and it’s been way too long. Cuddling with my kittens, and making plans for re-opening shows in the fall are top priorities these days as well as re-connecting with friends and family in person now that we are vaccinated and restrictions are lifting.
Peppermint: I'm celebrating five this year by highlighting LGBT POC voices, particularly black queer joy, healing, and celebration. Bob the drag queen and myself are producing Black Queer Town Hall 2nd annual event on June 26 and June 27.
EthanLePhong: It’s very rare that I get to be home for this long, thanks to COVID, so I'm having a fantastic summer with my family and friends from my hometown. It’s a special year as I celebrate a friend’s coming out to her family—champagne included, of course. I have my nephews and niece that I adore and get to share my life with them instead of sharing stories over Instagram. We get to watch LGBTQ+ movies together, educate them on why we have Pride, along with BLM and StopAsianHate marches. Teach them that love wins but know that we all are here to help and teach one another that it is okay to be different, and being different makes us all special. I guess celebrating Pride is celebrating them, my family, my friends, and their Guncle!
Daniel Reichard: What a thrill to see New York City gradually open up and return to a new normal during Pride Month. I will be celebrating life and giving thanks for all that the LGBTQ pioneers have done for us with my boyfriend of 11 years—the gorgeous and talented Patrick McCollum, who choreographed TheBand’sVisit on Broadway. We will probably walk around the city, giving compliments and smiles to everyone we see.
Seth Sikes: Last June, with the pandemic at full throttle, I was staying in Fire Island, and I made a music video to celebrate Pride in order to poke a bit of fun of the mask-wearing rules and to celebrate all of the colors in our rainbow flag. And, while things are a bit better this year, I am back in The Pines, and on Pride I will be performing a benefit concert June 26 for Fire Island Pines Art Project at Whyte Hall. Then, I’ll probably be singing songs at the piano bar or dancing at Tea!
Adam Weinstock: As an LBGTQIA+ producer, Pride holds great significance for me. What started as a revolution is now part of the American vernacular and seen displayed in department stores. I have gotten "Happy Pride Month" well wishes form all sorts of straight allies, friends, family, co-workers, and former students. Whilst I celebrate "who I am" on a daily basis, during Pride Month I certainly up my activism and activities in June.…During Pride Month I try to find find new voices on the fringe and patronize the work both online and now in-person in the hopes that some could be of interest to me as a producer and perhaps I can help further incubate their art. Lastly, patronizing NYC LBGTQIA+ venues and hopefully Fire Island and Provincetown.
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