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"Ahh... An afternoon alone with my favorite book.
Broadway Musicals of the 1940s."
"Homer, anyone who ever acted in, written, or ever even seen a play is gay."
The stereotype that if a man is gay, he must
love theater, especially musical theater. He'll know every play worth knowing in a given season, will be familiar with every Broadway leading lady (living and dead), and owns the soundtracks to his favorite musicals that he sings with gusto. When he's not onstage himself, he'll religiously attend the plays in his hometown's biggest theater or theater district.
As one can imagine, this trope extends all around. If a man is a stage actor or is in any way employed by a theater company, or simply enjoys watching plays and/or listening to showtunes, questions of his sexuality
will rise quickly. This can be a Pet Peeve Trope
, though the degree of which varies. Most heterosexual stage actors and fans are secure enough that this sort of thing doesn't bother them (unless they're teenagers
), but gay men who don't enjoy theater tend to chafe
at being grouped with screaming queens
who argue over whether Jennifer Holiday or Jennifer Hudson played a better Effie in Dreamgirls
There is some
element of Truth in Television
, as a good portion of stage actors and fans are indeed gay, however this only really means that men who enjoy theater are more likely to be gay compared to other mediums, not so much that every gay person enjoys theater or every person who enjoys theater is gay. Interestingly enough, completely averted when it comes to most big name male movie stars, as the moment one becomes famous there is not an automatic assumption of homosexuality, even though a good portion of movie stars enjoy theater.
See also Performance Artist
, for gay men who perform
Anime and Manga
- Actually popped up in Samurai Champloo, of all places - a Dutch ambassador (or possibly just an important representative of a major Dutch trading-company) is maniacal about Noh Theatre - and after finding out that all the actors are male, he likes it even better. Turns out he's bi (With a preference for males), and came to Japan to find a culture that was somewhat more open towards such thing.
- In the Aunt Dimity series, Grant and Charles, the art restorers and appraisers who live in Finch with their two small dogs are noted to have come from London, and they regularly return there to see theatrical productions.
- Averted in Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves. When the main characters attend Bengt's play Paul sighs theatrically about how boring it is and seems to genuinely mean it. Bengt plays the trope straight but the rest of the characters seem to neither love nor hate the theater.
- Viridius and Lars from Seraphina, both Daanites openly gay are a court composer and his musical protégé respectively.
- In the short story "Am I Blue?", Melvin says that certain groups like people in the theatre have a higher percent of gay people because they're naturally artistic. Though he points out the stereotype about all people in theatre being gay is false, as most of them are actually straight and only some of the gay characters are into theatre.
- Several characters on Glee: Kurt stands out the most, though Rachel's gay dads are stage queens as well, and are the reason for her talent and diva behavior.
- And now Blaine's gotten in on the act as well. Although Karofsky probably averts this.
- Also Sandy Ryerson, the former teacher in charge of Glee Club.
- Maxxie from Skins is a variant of this, as he is more interested in dancing than theatre, but wants to try out for musicals in London. Otherwise fairly Straight Gay.
- Jack from Will and Grace, who is also a Performance Artist sometimes.
- Referenced in the first episode of Northern Exposure, when Maurice tells Joel about his love for musicals - "But I'm no fruit if that's what you're thinkin'."
- Played for laughs in The IT Crowd, which features a gay musical called "Gay!" ("That's quite gay..."). Jen's Transparent Closet boyfriend takes her to see it on a date.
- Occasionally invoked on Modern Family in respect to Cameron (to the dismay of his comparatively-Straight Gay boyfriend). Once Mitchell tells a story about having to sit on a plane sitting next to a crying baby... the revelation being that the "baby" was really Cam upset that he couldn't see Billy Elliot on Broadway.
- It's invoked quite frequently. "The Musical Man" in the second season has Cam directing Luke and Manny's school musical. In another episode, Mitchell says someone can't come to an event because they're in Chicago:
Cam: Oh really? What part is she playing?
Mitch: The city of Chicago, Cam.
- Referenced in the Doctor Who episode "Daleks in Manhattan", where a minor character uses "into musical theater" as a euphemistic suggestion for why the Doctor might not be interested in Martha.
- Arrested Development:
Tobias: What an adventure, gang! I thought that the homosexuals were pirates, but it turns out that most of them are actors in the local theater!
- On Barney Miller Inspector Luger once opines that everyone who is now or ever has been a Hollywood actor is gay - "except the Duke of course."
- The Golden Girls: Sophia figures out Blanche's brother is gay because he sings in the shower and knows all the words to "Send In The Clowns". Although, it may have also been a reference to him being a fan of Barbra Streisand (who has a large gay male following) as it is one of her more well-known songs.
- In Avenue Q used as an early hint that Rod is gay, as noted in the page quote.
- Mentioned when Bender uses his Gaydar to identify a prospective date for Leela as "coming from a planet that's big on musical theater".
- On "I Dated A Robot", the Educational Short shown to Fry argues that all of mankind's endeavours (Art, Politics, War) were attempts to impress members of the opposite sex... "and sometimes members of the same sex" (Drama).
- Subverted in the case of Larry 3000 of Time Squad. While he is gay, he prefers sleazy novels to theater and strenuously tries to censor Shakespeare's plays because he considers them unsuitable for children.
- The Simpsons: In "Three Gays of the Condo," Homer's gay roommate informs him that "anyone who's ever written, starred in, or even seen a play is gay."
- An episode of American Dad! had a Stan and Steve attending a Republican meeting, with a guard standing outside the convention room to check that there are no gays entering. For one method of searching, he yells "Clang clang clang!," which then causes a man in line to sing "Went the trolley!" The guards then drag him away, despite his claims of just liking musicals. Of course, later the Log Cabin Republicans reveal to Stan that they're gay by means of a musical number.
- Infamously, one of the questions other soldiers asked of linguist Bleu Copas, who was discharged from the U.S. Army for being gay, was whether he was "involved in community theater."
- Comedian Russell Peters has a joke where his father asks if he knows some random gay people they saw on TV.
Russell: "Dad, why would you ask me that?"
Mr. Peters: "Well, they are gay, and you are in the entertainment business!"
- The producers of Monty Python spin-off musical Spamalot witnessed a hitherto un-heard of phenomenon in musical theatre. The one demographic that musical theatre had previously utterly failed to reach was now flocking in its droves, and buying bums-on-seats time to see Spamelot. Heterosexual men aged 18-40, a group so normally engrained in the belief that musicals were such a gay male art form that you could catch it just by walking past the stage door, were actually buying tickets. And coming back for repeat performances.
- Not to take anything away from the musical, which is good on it's own merits, but the attraction of said demographic probably had more to do with the fact that it was Monty Python-related than anything else.
- The theater stereotype was parodied by Neil Patrick Harris in the opening number of the 2011 Tony Awards: "It's Not Just for Gays Anymore!"
- Whenever a male actor is equally successful in Hollywood and on Broadway, he is bound to face gay rumors. Even if he identifies as straight and is married to a woman, she's considered The Beard at best and clueless or in denial at worst. Hugh Jackman and Matthew Broderick come to mind.