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Ho Yay: Theater
Ho Yay in Theater.
  • Mystere by Cirque du Soleil: The emcee Moha-Samedi ho-yays up a storm with every guy in the audience he interacts with. (He'll make direct eye contact with you for a really loooooooong time.) He FoeYays it up with Brian Le Petit, the clown trying to upstage him. They hate each other but there is TONS of homoerotic tension between them. He also is a BIT too close with that puppet of his too...
  • Calamity and Katie in Calamity Jane. Calam defends Katie from the angry mob and describes her as pretty, and then in the next act, they're living together and singing about "A Woman's Touch".
  • Judas and Christ from Jesus Christ Superstar. One recent revival played up the homoerotic tension between Jesus and Judas deliberately and all the Apostles looked and acted as though they had just come straight from a gay club.
  • The title characters in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The originals are Heterosexual Life-Partners and Those Two Guys anyway, so it's not that much of a stretch.
  • Boris and Goran in the stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, they certainly seem to get along well and act a bit like a married couple. Then theres the fact that Boris decides to use the pseudonym "Doris", and Goran in a moment of heightened emotion loses his head and kisses Baron Bomburst, and later admits he likes it.
  • Speaking of recursive-yay; if a Pantomime production is of a more traditional flavor, making use of a Principle Boy (a young woman playing the male lead) then any romance subplot with the female romantic interest will be recursive les-yay.
  • Some of the oldest Foe Yay in the book (and this counts separately from the book) is Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Misérables. It opens the play, it's drawn out for nearly twenty years, it ends in rejection, followed by suicide.
    Javert: Lord, let me find him, that I may see him safe behind bars - I will never rest 'till then, this I swear. This I swear by - the stars!
    • In the 10th Anniversary version of "One Day More", three couples share mikes - The Thenardiers, Marius and Cosette, and...Valjean and Javert.
    • Also, anything involving Enjolras and Grantaire is popular among the more hardcore fans, as it's practically canon: In the Brick, Grantaire's admiration for Enjolras is the only reason he's really involved in La Résistance to begin with. This is, however, not as common due to its absence from The Musical, which is far more popular among teenage girls than the the book is.
      • Depending on the actors (start at 6:30), the musical can have some serious Enjolras/Grantaire vibes. At the very least, Grantaire's usually pining for Enjolras.
      • Have you SEEN the 25th anniversary? (start at 1:37) They're going to die, and they know it, and while the rest of the students are singing about the "pretty girls", these two have their hands on each other's faces! Also, they share a mike in the finale- implying they're with each other in the afterlife? Maybe it's just because the actors are best friends in real life but still, it's pretty obvious.
      • In the 2012 film, they die together, with Grantaire choosing to go die at Enjolras' side as in the book, complete with what appears to be gripping each other's hands or wrists. And they are standing together on the finale barricade
  • Max and Leo in The Producers. The original film may be debatable, but the musical gives us "Til Him," which gives us very, very gay little gems like this:
    My existence bordered on the tragic
    Always timid, never took a chance
    Then I felt his magic
    And my heart began to dance
    • Leo stradling Max shouting 'Give it to me! Give it to me!" The other actors walk into the room and say... "Now, that's what I call celebrating!"
  • The most recent Stephen Sondheim show, Road Show, is his first to feature canonically gay characters: Addison Mizner and Hollis Bessmer are lovers. On top of that, there's a generous sprinkling of barely-subtextual Ho Yay between Addison and his brother Wilson:
    • they snuggle in a sleeping bag in the snow (has John Weidman been reading slash fic?) during the number "Brotherly Love";
    • when Wilson's gone off to get supplies and Addison's left behind to work their gold claim in Alaska, Addison mournfully sings "All I want is Willy!";
    • there's even a scene where Wilson tries to kiss Addison on the mouth — in context it's an aggressive move, but it's a sexy aggressive move;
    • and the show begins and ends with the two brothers in bed together.
  • Another Stephen Sondheim show, Merrily We Roll Along, reeks of this trope with Frank/Charlie. The entire show might as well be called "Frank and Charlie break up" - especially the song "Franklin Shepard Inc." in which Charlie not only complains the whole time about Frank not paying enough attention to him, but also lists the reasons he's still "the guy [he] love[s]"
  • From the opera The Adventures of Pinocchio, the Cat and the Fox. It does not help that they are also more or less furries. It's cute, in an absolutely creepy evil way. (No, not because they're furries. Because they're inseparable schemers and con-men who are okay with fleecing an innocent, if somewhat stupid, puppet-boy. And then trying to kill him. And they have some pimpin' musical numbers.) They're constantly at each other's side, Fox is One Head Taller (actually, more, being that the Cat is usually short and rotund) and... be fair, they're both pretty camp. And sharply dressed.
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - never mind that the male leads are brothers, the sexual tension can be cut with a knife whenever they're on stage together. The costuming doesn't help any.
    • The lyrics to "Benjamin Calypso," which is sung by the brothers about their brother, Benjamin, to Joseph to protect him.
      "Oh no - not he! How can you accuse him is a mystery! Save him - take me; Benjamin is straighter than the tall palm tree!"
  • Vladimir and Estragon of Waiting for Godot act so much like an old married couple.
    • "Hand in hand from the top of the Eiffel Tower..."
    • Hugging, one putting his coat on the other while he sleeps, breaking up and making up roughly every ten pages...
    Estragon: Haha, he wants to know if we're friends!
    Vladimir: No, I think he means friends with him.
    • Also, Pozzo, who claims ownership over another man, carrying him on a chain. That's beyond Ho Yay, that's just... weird.
  • Bertolt Brecht was quite fond of this:
    • A relationship between Macheath (Mack The Knife) and his friend Tiger Brown in The Threepenny Opera is almost explicitly confirmed in the text. The recent Broadway revival was much less subtle, giving one of Mack's wives (Tiger's daughter) a penis.
    • In Mr Puntila and His Man Matti (Brecht's Marxist reinterpretation of the Commedia dell'Arte) Puntila's behaviour towards his servant can be as gay as the actors want it to be - because Puntila is drunk all the time anyway. One recent Berlin performance had Puntila yelling at Matti, kissing him, throwing things at his head and asking him to marry his daughter, all within a couple of minutes.
  • The OBC of Next To Normal, and the tension between Gabe and Dan is ridiculous. Especially in the reprise of "I Am the One", where Gabe is trying to get Dan to acknowledge he's real, with all the touching and the emotion going on.
  • Cats: The rather fawning descriptions that the Rum Tum Tugger lay on Mr Mistoffelees were rather... interesting. Especially when offset by the less than complimentary tone that Mistoffelees uses in Tugger's own song.
    • Depending on the production, it can be less 'subtext' and more 'text'. In some versions they kiss (albeit teasingly), dance together, cuddle, and one famous production had Mistoffelees rather suggestively grinding on Tugger during Tugger's song.
  • Riff and Tony in West Side Story, for much the same reasons as Mercutio and Romeo.
  • 13 has an Accidental Kiss where the Ho Yay is piled on thick. Watch it here (skip to around 03:10)
  • Melchior/Moritz from Spring Awakening. Melchior teaching Moritz how to touch himself in "Touch Me"? Oh, yes.
    • Interestingly, Moritz kills himself imediately after Melchior and Wendla hook up.
    • And Hanschen/Ernst is canon.
    • Some versions of "The Dark I Know Well" have Ilse holding Martha protectively in a loving fashion.
  • Avenue Q: While Rod is in the Transparent Closet in the canon, it is never mentioned whether or not Nicky is gay. Yet the fact that they live together and sometimes don't get along is enough to make the fangirls squee.
    • Actually, Nicky repeatedly states that he's not gay in "If You Were Gay," but the validity of those statements is questionable.
    • Rod's Canon boyfriend Ricky looks just. Like. Nicky.
      • And Nicky helped get them together.
  • Mark and Roger from Rent probably have more shippers than the canonical Roger/Mimi. There is a reason for this. Mark is the only character without a love interest and, in the film version especially, he spends a lot of time giving Roger lingering, meaningful glances.
    • Roger just had to work Mark's erections into La Vie Boheme. Hmm.
  • "My Fair Lady" has stuffy Victorian gentlemen Higgins and Pickering singing a song about how they much favour each others' company to that of a woman. As it's never stated Higgins's feelings for Liza are romantic, the musical often has a Liza Has Two Daddies feel to it.
    • In the original play it's more explicit that Higgin's feelings aren't romantic, and Eliza doesn't go back to him in that version but remains with Freddie.
  • Mountararat and Tolloller in Iolanthe. See especially the scene where they're arguing over Phyllis (and seeing as she's inevitably going to end up with Strephon, that leaves the two lords as the obvious pairing.)
    • Er, also because said argument ends in their deciding that they care about each other too much to fight over her.
  • Operas are good in this. See Don Carlo and Rodrigo. If that's not Ho Yay, nothing is.
    • Geez, it's the 16-century Catholic Spain we're talking about, man. Plus, Carlo is in love with Elizabeth, his own stepmother, and Rodrigo is a Knight of Malta. He probably didn't even know such things existed!
    • Well, let's just say that the least homoerotic production of Don Carlo this troper has seen had them lying on the floor together, clasping each other's faces.
  • Also, depending on the singers, but in Il Trovatore, the rivalling over Leonora might be just an excuse to cover up the incestuous Foe Yay.
  • Don Giovanni/Leporello. Especially in modern productions. Apparently, 1003 women are not enough...
  • Lestat. Unsurprisingly, given the source material. Seriously, just listen to "Right Before My Eyes". Lestat and Nicki had an intense love affair in the book, and the lyrics make no attempt to disguise this.
    • It's not even subtext.
    "Desire drives me to take him now/no force on Earth will ever tear him from my heart... don't waste the chance, and let the night pass by/he's mine to take, he's right before my eyes."
  • Onegin/Lensky. And it ends in a duel because Onegin is an asshole and flirts with Olga.
  • Amfortas/Klingsor before they lost their, um, instruments.
  • Titus/Sextus in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito (Tito's Clemency). It's just not possible to interpret this otherwise.
  • Pick a Britten opera. ANY Britten opera.
    • Grimes has no adult Ho Yay but there's the possibility he's a pedophile. Eek.
    • Billy Budd. It takes place on a 18th century warship, with an all-male cast. You can pair up anyone with anyone.
    • Quint/Miles. Jessel/Flora. Jessel/Governess. If you are evil, even Mrs. Grose/Governess.
    • Aschenbach/Tadzio is canon, althoguh nothing ever happens, but the tension! It needs more love.
  • Death ("Der Tod") from German musical Elisabeth is in love with the title heroine, but still manages to be rather ...suggestive... with her son. As in, most productions have Death taking the guy's life with a kiss that can be anything from a small peck on the lips to something that approaches a full-out snog.
  • In The Bacchae by Euripides (especially if we go by the Philip Vellacott translation) we have raging suggestions between Dionysus and Pentheus particularly that when Pentheus first meets Dionysus he comments on how good looking he is. Then it turns into a very role-deciding relationship as Pentheus is used to being in control but eventually he becomes the woman when he starts crossdressing. This isn't a romance play... so it doesn't end with a gay marriage but if these two weren't enemies...
    • It doesn't help that in the 2010 Edinburgh version they replaced all of Dionysus' female worshippers/followers with young men.
  • In American Idiot, St. Jimmy serenades Jesus of Suburbia with "Last Night On Earth".
    • St. Jimmy is usually interpreted as a figment JOS's imagination (outright says so in the song "Letterbomb"), and St. Jimmy is only singing this song because JOS is busy making out with his girlfriend, Whatshername. However, despite all this, when St. Jimmy sings this song, he looks pained. As if he is heartbroken JOS is making out with her and not him.
      • St. Jimmy also calls Whatshername the enemy later in "Know Your Enemy".
  • Norm Foster's play Jenny's House of Joy has loads of lesbian undertones. It's set in a whorehouse in the 1870s; the first scene has one of the harlots talking to another about what to do if the guy's gross and smelly. One of them, Anita, says that she spritzes them with perfume when they're not looking. The other, Francis, says something to the effect of "So you'd be playing around with a big burly backwoods woman?" and Anita replies, "Well, at least she would smell nice!"
    • This is turned Up to Eleven in a callback joke. When a new woman steps in, Anita's immediately enamored. The proprietor of the whorehouse, Jenny, crudely asks the new girl if she's here for service, "because we don't do girl-on-girl here." Then Anita stops her and says "Wait, wait, don't be so sure!" Jenny asks why and Anita gives as her justification "Well she smells nice!" From then on Anita determines to be the girl's best friend, coming off as being in crush-mode.
    • There's also Foe Yay between Francis and the new girl, in the form of an extended Take That Kiss scene after the new girl Natalie asks her what to do with the man (at this point, she hasn't started her job yet).
  • In The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940's it is HEAVILY suggested (to the point of being stated) that Elsa is banging the maid.
  • This happens very often in Takarazuka productions. Directors seem to have realized the erotic potential of their Otokoyaku (actresses playing male roles) and give them as many homoerotic scenes as their "pure, proper, beautiful" motto will allow. Especially their revues tend to feature extremely suggestive dance scenes between Otokoyaku. Or, leaving the Otokoyaku slash aside for a moment, the classical "het" pairings are homoerotic enough, given that ALL roles are played by women.
  • In the obscure Marvin Hamlisch/Howard Ashman musical Smile there is some fairly heavy lesyay between the two female leads, Robin and Doria, most notably during the song Dressing Room and at the end when Robin decides not to join Doria at the next pageant.
  • Faustus and Mephistopheles in most versions of Faust.
  • Alfred de Musset's Lorenzaccio, anyone? Lorenzo obviously has a serious case of a love/hate crush on Alexander. Comparing himself with a "bride", calling Alexander "mignon" (darling) and talking about "kissing from his lips the remains of his orgies"... And as it is 16th-century Florence we're talking about... sufficient to say they were all Bi the Way there.

  • Copenhagen: The play is about how much Bohr and Heisenberg loved each other.The "second draft" of their meeting with the beatific smiling and their eyes lighting up at the sight of each other,Margrethe's creepy insinuations and the "not one, but half of two" comment make this play pure Ho Yay.

  • In the (fairly obscure) Rupert Holmes musical adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood the main male character (Drood) is engaged to a woman named Rosa. Oh and the male lead is traditionally played by a woman (it's a weird show). And yes, in case you're wondering they do kiss.
  • How in Oz have we gotten this far without mentioning Wicked!? Elphaba running away embarassed and confused after Glinda tells her she's beautiful. Elphaba singing about what a babe Glinda is in I'm Not that Girl. Glinda and Elphaba running off to the Emerald City together. One Short Day is very much like a first date. For Good is easily mistaken for a love song. And that isn't even including the original book...
    • Idina and Kristen both ship Gelphie, btw.
    • While workshopping the show, which was originally Fiyero/Elphaba centric, the writers declared "This story is about two witches!" It came natuarally.
  • Roxie and Velma have some major Foe Yay in Chicago.
  • Lance and Herbert in Spamalot.
  • In Shrek the Musical, Donkey tells Shrek he'll be "on him like a fat kid on cake" in a song called Don't Let Me Go.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Nuff said.
  • Elder Price and Elder Mc Kinley have their moments in The Book of Mormon.
  • Doctor Faustus: Mephistopheles and Faustus. What with that part where they discuss marriage and Mephisto pleads with Faustus to stop talking about it, with the way he evades the topic of fetching Faustus a wife by bringing him only ugly (and biologically MALE, disguised as female) demons...
  • In Starlight Express, Electra's "I Am" Song "AC/DC" includes the lyrics "AC/DC, it's okay by me. I can switch and change my frequency.". His equal-opportunity entourage doesn't do anything to discourage the Ho Yay, either. (The 2012 UK tour increases this even further, as Electra and Greaseball almost kiss in "One Rock N' Roll Too Many"!)
  • In Rock of Ages, Lonny and Dennis have this in spades.
    • They actually kiss in the movie version.
  • 1776 has John Dickinson with Judge Wilson, who is Dickinson's spineless Yes-Man. For the independence faction, there's Adams and Jefferson, especially in "But, Mr. Adams." Especially the bit where they confront each other on the staircase.

MusicHo YayWilliam Shakespeare

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