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All Gays Love Theater

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"Homer, anyone who's ever acted in, written, or ever even seen a play is gay."
Grady, The Simpsons

The stereotype that if a man is gay, he must love theater, especially musical theater. He'll know every play and musical worth knowing in a given season, will be familiar with every Broadway leading lady (living and dead), and owns the original cast recordings of his favorite musicals that he sings with gusto. When he's not onstage himself, he'll religiously attend the performances in his city'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 theater and 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 Holliday 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 media, not so much that every gay person enjoys theater or that every person who enjoys theater is gay. Interestingly enough, this trope is 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. That is, unless a male movie star still performs musical theater between film projects or even expresses a preference for Broadway over Hollywood, in which case the gay rumors fly.

This trope has completely displaced the old stereotype of the musical-goer as a tired businessman interested mainly in ogling the Chorus Girls.

See also Performance Artist, for gay men who perform theatre.

The supertrope is Gender Nonconforming Equals Gay.



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    Anime & 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.

  • Frankie Boyle maintains that the real reason for the existence of musical theatre is to provide gainful employment for the majority of British homosexuals, who would otherwise be jobless. note 
  • 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!"

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted with Straight Gay All-American Boy Kevin Keller from Archie Comics. He can't stand musicals, which astonishes Veronica. When he gets mad at her for believing that all gay guys like musicals, she apologizes.
  • Referenced in an issue of Green Lantern, when Kyle assumes his agent is gay, the man fires back with a list of gay stereotypes that don't apply to him, and this is one of them.

    Fan Works 
  • Parodied as part of a Discriminate and Switch joke in 50% OFF
    Makoto: ...And I'm not allowed to watch Glee. My dad says it might turn me into something bad.
    Nagisa: Something bad?
    Makoto: A musical theater major.
    Nagisa: Oh. Right.
  • Phoenix jokes that Apollo follows this stereotype in Dirty Sympathy after he finds Apollo humming to The Threepenny Opera while working. While Apollo doesn't follow this trope, his lover, the bisexual Klavier does.
  • In the Discworld fics of A.A. Pessimal, André, the undercover copper from Maskerade, comes out as Straight Gay. There are ambiguous hints in the original canon; they come out into the open here and rely on his passion for musical theatre and his status as Gay Best Friend for many female characters.
  • Lampshaded in With Pearl and Ruby Glowing when Timon is coming out to his mother. His mother reveals that she had already figured as much and one of the reasons she cites is that he is a musical theatre actor. With other characters the stereotype leads to problems; Rudy and Louis are both straight, but suffered Homophobic Hate Crime attacks because they're ballet dancers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Brenden Fraser's character in Bedazzled (2000) when he is loudly denying he is gay (deal with the devil 4th wish), the guy he lives with gives him a quick quiz ending with "What was the original Broadway cast of The Pajama Game?" He names off 3-4 characters in as many seconds before catching himself "Oh my God, I AM gay!"
  • Michael in Camp certainly loves the theater. But then so do the straight boys (and straight girls), it is after all a theater camp.
  • Ryan Evans from High School Musical is queercoded in the movies and confirmed to be gay by the diector, and is very into singing, dancing, and musical theatre.
  • In Philadelphia, Andrew Beckett loves Opera, and plays a particularly poignant number to get Joe Miller on his side.
  • Portrait of Jason is an experimental documentary interview film that is nothing more than a single sit-down interview with its subject, the Camp Gay hustler Jason Holliday. Among other things, Jason gleefully reenacts a whole scene from Funny Girl.
  • Prom Wars: In one scene, the Ambiguously Bi Rupert earnestly talks about the Selby students' past and present plays.
  • Parodied viciously in Team America: World Police.
  • Theater Camp: The theater camp fittingly attracts a high number of gay and/or flamboyant men, both staff and students. Lampshaded multiple times, such as when when Glenn defines musicals as a "gay play", and in the finale number where the students sing that it's a place for "belting girls and boys in tiny shorts". Devon coming out as straight is a big moment.
  • Noxeema from To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, has a love for musicals.
  • Trevor: "I've decided that the theater is going to be my life." Cut to Trevor directing Pinky and some other boys in a rehearsal of Anything Goes.
  • The Camp Gay theater director Corky in Waiting for Guffman.

  • 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.
  • Oddly Enough: In "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 that the stereotype about all people in theatre being gay is false, as most of them are actually straight (two thirds, at the theatre Vincent and Melvin visit) and only some of the gay characters are into theatre.
  • Downplayed in Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Simon is in the school play, but only as an extra.
  • Crope and Tibbett from Wicked are both Camp Gay and love theater work.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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!"
  • 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."
  • Doctor Who: Referenced in "Daleks in Manhattan", where a minor character uses "into musical theatre" as a euphemistic suggestion for why the Doctor might not be interested in Martha. It is a bit of an ironic euphemism for that character, seeing how she is herself an actress at a musical theatre and her boyfriend shows up every night to watch her shows.
  • Referenced in Friends, when Chandler tells Monica they have to move to Oklahoma, and she says she doesn't even like the musical Oklahoma!:
    Chandler: Really? "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning"? "Surrey With a Fringe On Top?"
    Monica: Are you telling me we're moving to Oklahoma, or that you're gay?
  • Tom from Gimme, Gimme, Gimme is able to give Linda loads of trivia about many theatre shows — whether musicals or independent productions. This is mostly through a "Reason You Suck" Speech or a What the Hell, Hero? reaction.
  • 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.
  • 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 another episode, Blanche gripes about the new director for her local theater being gay, because it meant she couldn't sleep with him in order to get a big role.
      Blanche: A gay theater director, did you ever hear of such a thing?
      Dorothy: That's absolutely shocking. The next thing you know, they'll have black basketball players in the NBA.
    • In "The Actor", a popular theater actor that the girls all have a crush on references this when he mentions playing a tangerine in a commercial and Rose asks him if he's ever played a fruit before; he hasn't but he's been in theater long enough to get his share of offers. It's hinted that he may be bisexual and in the closet, as when he's called out on his philandering one of the people who raises their hands to say they had a good time was a man.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • The bisexual Lestat de Lioncourt is a big fan of the opera, and he often takes his gay boyfriend Louis de Pointe du Lac on dates to watch live performances. They've seen at least one play off-screen, which is A Doll's House ("They'll seat us late, and we'll miss Nora's entrance with the Christmas tree"). Lestat also used to socialize with the Women's Opera Society. The Season 2 SDCC trailer reveals that he was the co-founder of the Théâtre des Vampires, plus two other trailers show that he was a Performance Artist during the late 18th century.
    • Louis enjoys the theatre, but in "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", he acted dismissively and disinterested about it to his family when Lestat brings up that they attended Iolanta together — to a brief surprised expression from Lestat. Louis was firmly closeted and in denial at the time, and is deliberately trying to avoid this trope's implications. Louis and Lestat discuss it after the dinner.
      Louis: You sayin' I got shame?
      Lestat: The lie you told about leaving the opera house early. You were near weeping when the curtain fell. Why hide that from your family?
      Louis: Don't everybody need to know what I do.
      Lestat: Dishonesty breeds dishonesty.
      Louis: They sit in judgment. Paul is the only one to say it to my face, but I know my ma and Grace think it, too.
    • At the end of Season 1, the queer Armand (who hasn't explicitly identified his sexuality in Season 1, but he and Louis are in a same-sex relationship) lets Daniel Molloy know that he was once part of the Théâtre des Vampires. Armand's Season 1 promotional image features the sock and buskin (otherwise known as the comedy and tragedy masks) to showcase that he was acting as Louis' human servant in front of Daniel, when Armand is actually an ancient vampire who is far more powerful than Louis.
  • 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.
  • All the characters It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia are either aspiring actors or have acted in plays, but Mac in particular is really into musical theater, declaring that "musicals are gonna be a huge part of my life moving forward" after taking part in a church skit (and begging the pastors to keep rehearsing over and over and over again). He comes out as gay soon after in the series.
  • In Life in Pieces, the local school theater teacher (played by Andy Richter) was made the head of the school's LGBT club. He's well aware and very unamused that this trope is why.
  • 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 she's in Chicago:
      Cam: Oh really? What part is she playing?
      Mitch: The city of Chicago, Cam.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The B-plot of "Republic of Murdoch" revolves around this. Theatre buff Inspector Brackenreid proudly anticipates seeing his elder son perform in an amateur theatrical production (bragging to Murdoch about family talent), but afterward he is disturbed that his son portrayed a female character (Lady Bracknell from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, as it happens) and "seemed to embrace the role." He consults Dr. Ogden and asks her to talk to the boy and find out if he is, in Brackenreid's words "a nancy boy". Young John does meet with her and says he knows what his father is thinking and insists he isn't gay. He soon visits his father at the station, sporting a black eye and a split lip. Brackenreid learns from John's teacher that he picked the fight with a much-larger boy, and Dr. Ogden suggests John is desperate for the inspector's approval. In the end, Brackenreid has a fatherly chat with his son, reassuring the boy that he can pursue his true interests and still have his parents' love and approval.
  • The Nanny: Maxwell himself is an aversion, but this trope is occasionally referenced at his expense. When Fran had amnesia, she assumed that this was the reason the two had never slept together, and when he found himself "strangely attracted" to a man that turned out to be Fran Disguised in Drag he admits to being worried that working in musical theater for so long had caught up with him.
  • 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'."
  • The Office (US): This stereotype is one of the several reasons that Andy, a huge acapella nerd and musical theatre lover, attracts so many Ambiguously Gay jokes. He, however, doesn't seem to be aware of the cliche at all.
    Andy: Women cannot resist a man singing show tunes. It's so powerful, even a lot of men can't resist a man singing show tunes.
  • Only Murders in the Building: All the male gays, anyway. Mabel is bisexual, but disinterested in theatre. Jonathan, Howard, Bobo, and Cliff are all gay men who are passionate theatre lovers.
  • Often invoked on RuPaul's Drag Race. Every season has at least one musical theatre-based challenge, and when Ru hints at the challenge of the week, he needs only drop the vaguest references to popular musicals for the queens to instantly get what he's referring to and light up in excitement. Theatre is referenced at other times throughout the series as well, such as Broadway stars appearing as guest judges, queens delving into their theatre background if they have one, and showtunes are occasionally the "Lipsynch for your Life" song.
  • Schitt's Creek: Subverted with Camp Gay David Rose, who shows little to no interest in his mother's community theatre production of Cabaret beyond supporting Stevie and Patrick and being proud of them when they perform well. Straight Gay Patrick works hard at the role of the Emcee and enjoys being a part of the show, even though he isn't a natural dancer and doesn't show any particular affinity for musical theatre.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: Stamets and Culber both seem to have a passion for theater (Culber in particular loves Kasseelian Opera, much to Stamets' dismay). Also counts as Actor Allusion, since both actors were known for their work on Broadway.
  • Jack from Will & Grace, who is also a Performance Artist sometimes.

  • Used in The Lonely Island song "No Homo":
    And yo, I kinda like your natural scent (NO HOMO!)
    And yo, I kinda like the musical RENT (NO HOMO!)
  • Kate Bush references this trope in "Wow":
    He'll never make the screen
    He'll never make the "Sweeney"
    Be that movie queen
    He's too busy hitting the Vaseline
    • Note that the original music video actually has Kate patting her butt on that last line.

  • In Avenue Q this is used as an early hint that Rod is gay.
    Rod: Ah, an afternoon alone with my favourite book. "Broadway Musicals of the 1940s"!
  • Surprisingly averted in Spamalot: the knight who ends up loving musical theater, Sir Robin, is not gay (that would be Lancelot and Herbert). Even the song "You Won't Succeed On Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)" only takes one potshot at the relationship between homosexuality and musical theater.

    Video Games 
  • In the game Psychonauts 2, One of the legendary Psychic Six Helmut Fullbear was a very flamboyant former theater performer, who used his psychic talents in order to demonstrate his emotions visually. Unfortunately for him, he didn't exactly draw in a crowd due to the stigma against psychics in those early days, although it did result in him being recruited by Ford Cruller, and meeting his future husband, Bob Zanotto.
  • Tenor from TinkerQuarry is an orchestra conductor who loves music and theater, and is attracted to Clint. He states that he has put on multiple shows for Clint in the past.
  • In Yearning: A Gay Story, James mentions that a lot of people assume it was easy for him to come out as non-straight because he works in theatre even though it was actually difficult for him. There's also the subversion that he isn't gay but bisexual and also an introverted loner off the stage who isn't flamboyant in the slightest.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss:
    • Moxxie is openly bisexual and is a huge fan of musical theatre. He specifically has the hots for famous musical actor Michael Crawford and is curious to know what sex with him is like and this is while being married to Millie, not that she minds though.
    • Depraved Pansexual Blitzo is a enormous fan of theatre and even dreamed of becoming a theatre star as a kid, but his father shut that dream down and forced him to only work as a circus clown.

  • In Tripping Over You, Milo and Hebert are gay theatre buffs, though Milo's boyfriend Liam only goes to plays because Milo's in them. Referenced when Milo's mother panics a bit after he comes out to her:
    Nora: Think of your future! Your career!
    Milo: Wait, which? My dance career? Or theatre?
    Nora: Is that what this is about? Is this my fault for putting you in dance?

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Futurama:
    • 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" flash on the screen in sequence) were attempts to impress members of the opposite sex... "and sometimes the same sex" ("Drama" flashes on screen).
  • The Loud House: Harold and Howard McBride have weekly theater nights in which Clyde is included. One of them also put himself in theater school by working as a plumber.
  • 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." Additionally, Smithers wrote and starred in a Malibu Stacy musical.
  • 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.
  • Tuca & Bertie: Dapper Dog, the show's resident Camp Gay dog, has an affinity for musical theater, and Playbills decorate the walls of his apartment.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): All Gays Love Theatre, Gay Theater Geek


"Keep it Gay"

Roger DeBris and his entire crew are made up entirely of gay stereotypes, fitting with the old "Drama Fag" stereotype.

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