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Batt, Bryan (b. 1963)  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  

Batt, a veteran of AIDS fundraisers and benefits in both New York and New Orleans, supporting such organizations as Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and N.O. AIDS Task Force, threw himself into relief efforts for his wounded city.

He appeared in numerous benefit concerts, including the "Broadway Celebrity Benefit for Hurricane Relief," "Heartsong: The Concert for New Orleans," and "With Love, From Broadway to the Bayou." He co-chaired a benefit at the Museum of New York that raised $150,000 for post-Katrina rebuilding and preservation efforts in the crescent city. In nearly all these events, he mournfully crooned, "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?"

Sponsor Message.

Not only did he use his theatrical gifts and contacts to help the recovery of New Orleans, he also utilized his decorating talents. He frequently appeared on television design shows promoting the recovery of New Orleans and participated in a program called "Pimp My [FEMA] Trailer" in which he decorated the temporary home of a woman displaced by Katrina.

In the wake of New Orleans' recovery from Katrina, Batt developed a cabaret act, premiering it as a fundraiser for the New Orleans cabaret Le Chat Noir then taking it to New York's Metropolitan Room and reprising it later as a benefit for Le Petit Théâtre in New Orleans.

In 2007, Batt was cast in the role that made him known far beyond Broadway, Salvatore Romano, the closeted art director in Mad Men. When he was first asked to audition for the role, he turned it down because he and Cianfichi had promised to take his goddaughter to Paris to repay her for various aid she rendered in the aftermath of Katrina, including evacuating Batt's mother from the city. Luckily, the role was still available when he returned from Paris, and he eagerly accepted a renewed invitation to audition.

The series, which has been awarded numerous Emmys, Golden Globe Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as a Peabody Award, is distinguished by its attention to the details of its period setting in the early 1960s.

The ensemble acting in the series has been particularly praised, and as part of that ensemble Batt has shared in several awards. His portrayal of Romano, an Italian-American outsider in the waspy world of the Sterling Cooper ad agency, is subtle and richly layered.

The story line featuring Romano during the series' first three seasons emphasized both Romano's homosexuality and his attempt to repress it. In the second season, the character marries, but in the opening of the third season he has an encounter with a hotel bellhop, which is observed by the head of the agency, Don Draper. At the end of the season, however, Draper fires Romano at the behest of a client whose advances the art director had rejected.

It is unclear whether Romano will return in the fourth season. Although Batt's contract has not been renewed, he has observed that the character has been fired not killed, so there may be hope that he will return either to the Sterling Cooper agency or, perhaps, open his own agency.

During his run on Mad Men, Batt also made appearances on other television shows, including a recurring role in ABC's Ugly Betty, as well as guest segments on home decorating shows such as Martha Stewart.

In 2010, Batt published an affectionate memoir, She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother, which emphasizes his mother's charm and courage. He does not shy away from the pain his father's infidelity caused or the shadow cast by the ill health of his parents, but the book is optimistic and funny. He also has a contract for a forthcoming book on design.

As one of a limited number of openly gay actors, Batt was asked to comment on Ramin Setoodeh's controversial April 2010 article in Newsweek alleging that gay actors cannot convincingly play straight roles. Observing that the article was "self-loathing," Batt went on to refute Setoodeh's premise by defending the acting abilities of the gay actors maligned in the article, especially Sean Hayes.

There have been recurrent rumors that Batt and Cianfichi either had married or were intending to marry. When asked about these rumors, Batt confirmed that they had considered marrying in California before Proposition 8 passed, but that the illness of his mother made it impossible. He added that they had now decided against marrying until they could do so in their own state: "I'm not going to haul my cookies to another state to enjoy a right that should be enjoyed in all states."

Batt is active in numerous charitable, civic, and political organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Human Rights Campaign, the Point Foundation, and N.O. AIDS Task Force.

Batt and Cianfinchi live "tri-coastally," splitting their time between New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

Claude J. Summers

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Drama

American television has made significant strides in its portrayal of homosexuals in dramatic series and movies, but cable networks have been more daring than the "big three" broadcast networks.

arts >> Overview:  Cabarets and Revues

Historically, cabarets and revues have been much more likely to mention or imply same-sex desire than the "legitimate" theater; and same-sex desire has been less frequently condemned in cabarets and revues than in mainstream plays.

arts >> Overview:  Film Actors: Gay Male

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literature >> Overview:  Musical Theater

There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.

social sciences >> Overview:  New Orleans

One of America's most colorful cities, New Orleans boasts a rich tradition for glbtq people and is both a popular travel destination for gay men and lesbians and the home of a diverse glbtq community.

arts >> Overview:  Stage Actors and Actresses

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arts >> DeCaro, Frank

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arts >> Ellis, Perry

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literature >> Fierstein, Harvey

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social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

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arts >> Harris, Sam

Multi-talented Sam Harris is best known as a singer and actor; since coming out publicly in 1999, he has lent his voice to the cause of glbtq rights.

arts >> Hayes, Sean

Actor Sean Hayes gained renown and awards for his role as a gay character on the hit comedy series Will & Grace, but did not come out publicly as a gay man until 2010.

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social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

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arts >> Overview:  Interior Design

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arts >> O'Donnell, Rosie

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Award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce, best known for his comic performance on the long-running hit comedy television series Frasier, belatedly acknowledged his homosexuality in 2007.

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The Point Foundation offers financial support and mentoring to college students who have been marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

social sciences >> Proposition 8 (California)

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arts >> Wong, B. D.

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    Bibliography
   

Batt, Bryan. Official Website (2010): http://www.bryanbatt.com/

_____. She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother. New York: Random House, 2010.

Collins, Jessanne. "Popnography: Bryan Batt: Mom Is Dearest." Out.com (June 2, 2010): http://www.popnography.com/2010/06/bryan-batt-mom-is-dearest.html

Cuthbert, David. "The Life of Bryan." The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (February 26, 2005): http://www.bryanbatt.com/timespicLCAF.shtml

DeMers, John. "Bryan Batt's 'Mad' Memoir: A Review." HoustonArtsWeek (May 1, 2010): http://houstonartsweek.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/bryan-batt%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98mad%E2%80%99-memoir-a-review/

Mohney, Chris. "Bryan Batt: The Gay Blade of 'Mad Men.'" BlackBook (November 5, 2009): http://www.blackbookmag.com/article/bryan-batt-the-gay-blade-of-mad-men/12376

Wadler, Joyce. "At Home with Bryan Batt: An Actor Really Sells His Material." New York Times (August 16, 2007): http://www.bryanbatt.com/NYTimes2007.shtml

Warner, Coleman. "N. Y. Benefit Supports Restoration." The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (January 13, 2006): http://www.bryanbatt.com/timespic-rebuilding.shtml

Wong, Wayman. "The Leading Men: Going to Batt." Playbill.com (October 3, 2005): http://www.playbill.com/news/article/95469-THE-LEADING-MEN-Going-to-Batt

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Batt, Bryan  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2010  
    Date Last Updated June 10, 2010  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/batt_bryan.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2010 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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