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Friday, June 09, 2017

The Gatekeeper

An interview with ‘Madam Secretary’s Erich Bergen

As Blake Moran, the newly out bisexual assistant to Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) in the CBS drama “Madam Secretary,” Erich Bergen is the picture of perfection. Handsome, fit, conservatively-attired and well-groomed with very important hair, Blake has it (almost) all together. Sure, there are loose ends – a difficult mother and a recently resurfaced male ex – but he is nothing if not good at tying everything up so they don’t come undone again. I had the pleasure of speaking with Bergen, whom many will recognize from his portrayal of Bob Gaudio in both the film and touring stage productions of Jersey Boys, about Blake and much more.

Here’s why Hello, Dolly!: The New Broadway Cast Recording (Masterworks Broadway) is one of the gayest things you’re likely to hear this year. Hello, Dolly! is a musical based on the play The Matchmaker, written by Thornton Wilder, a gay man. The musical comedy Hello, Dolly! features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, a gay man, and a book by Michael Stewart, also a gay man. The 2017 revival stars the Tony-nominated Bette Midler in the lead role. Midler is a singer and actress who first achieved great acclaim for her performances at gay NYC bathhouse, the Continental Baths, and has long acknowledged and vocally supported her LGBTQ fan-base. Cast members David Hyde Pierce and Gavin Creel are also openly gay. Even the subject matter, about a slightly audacious meddler with ulterior motives who “arranges things,” has a gay glow to it. Midler shines as Dolly Levi. As you can hear, she sings in character (with a nod here and there to the original Dolly, Carol Channing) and fully embodies the role in songs such as “Before The Parade Passes By,” “So Long Dearie” and “Dancing.” Pierce even gets a solo, “Penny In My Pocket,” which was restored for the production.

Looking to take a break from the sweltering heat of Baltimore Pride weekend festivities? The SNF Parkway Theatre will be hosting special screenings during Pride weekend. Among the offerings is Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, a 2015 drama written and directed by Stephen Cone, exploring a 17-year-old boy coming to grips with his sexuality during an emotionally charged party.

Friday, June 09, 2017

What’s up? Gay Docs

It’s been said that timing is everything. Raoul Peck’s James Baldwin doc I Am Not Your Negro, opening in theaters in the wake of Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis’ public feud with President Trump, is proof positive of that. Owing as much to recent film such as Selma and Birth of a Nation as it does to Hidden Figures and 13th, I Am Not Your Negro is required viewing.

Friday, June 09, 2017

You’re a Wonder, Wonder Woman

Bringing the classic female superhero to the big screen

Warner Brothers has been struggling to leverage its DC Comics brand to build a cinematic universe to rival that of Marvel Comics and Disney. Not that any of their films have been financial flops (despite what many would claim) but they haven’t exactly been crowdpleasers with their relentlessly dark tone and cavalier attitude toward the source materials. Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad have divided audiences and not made many optimistic about the upcoming films, including Justice League. But now we have a glimmer of hope.

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