On Monday night I attended the ninth annual Broadway Backwards at the Hirschfeld Theatre, where Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS raised $424,000 with their show in which men sing Broadway standards written for women and women sing songs written for men. As always, there were a galaxy of gay musical theater stars both on the stage and in the audience, again making Broadway Backwards the gayest night on Broadway – and that’s no easy feat. The event benefited Equity Fights AIDS and the New York City LGBT Community Center.
The highlight of the evening for many was the performance by 99-year old Patricia Morrison, who in 1948 originated the role of Kate in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate. When the curtain rose to reveal Morrison in a wheelchair glamorously draped in purple velvet, I thought the eldergay sitting next to me was going to need his nitroglycerine. After Morrison delivered a quite touching performance of Brush Up Your Shakespeare (from Kiss Me, Kate, of course), the house went wild with a raucous and sustained standing ovation. Tony winner Julie White, the show’s co-emcee, came out and attempted to move the show along, but only added to the mayhem when she ad-libbed, “Ladies and gentleman, our next performer is…is..well, he’s FUCKED.” Because how do you follow that?
I particularly enjoyed super-cute shortie Andrew Keenan-Bolger playing a Starbucks barista smitten with a tall handsome customer in The History Of Wrong Guys from Kinky Boots. I told my buddy Mike that I just want to glue that guy to my dashboard and drive to Fort Lauderdale. Another treat for me was seeing my favorite Broadway diva Beth Leavel (Tony winner from my favorite Broadway show The Drowsy Chaperone) belt out a hilariously lesbi-fied version of She Likes Basketball from Promises, Promises.
Speaking of things lesbi-fied, Debra Monk opened her number by letting the audience know that the lesbian version of a cock-block is known as a clam-slam. Duly noted. Then she told this joke: “Did you hear about the lesbian who went to the gynecologist? The doctor said, ‘You have the cleanest vagina I’ve ever seen!’ And she said, ‘Well, I have a girl come in once a week.'” Tip your waitress! Monk and Cass Morgan (both of them the co-authors and original cast members of Pump Boys And Dinettes) then launched into a charming duet of I Still Get Jealous from High Button Shoes which included a soft shoe routine that had Monk jibing, “Who says lesbians can’t dance?”
I insist you watch all four compilation clips below.