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arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Stage Actors and Actresses  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  

Cherry Jones

Cherry Jones became the first openly-lesbian Tony-Award winner when she was chosen as Best Actress for her performance in a revival of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's The Heiress (1995, directed by Gerald Gutierrez). In her acceptance speech she thanked her longtime partner, architect Mary O'Connor.

Jones had previously won an Obie Award for her starring role in lesbian playwright Paula Vogel's The Baltimore Waltz (1992, directed by Anne Bogart), a work inspired by Vogel's brother, who had died of AIDS complications; and she has received numerous other award nominations for her acting.

Sponsor Message.

Far from being a diva, Jones has an unpretentious lifestyle. She bicycles back and forth between the theater and the Greenwich Village studio that she and O'Connor share. Known as a quick study and an "actor's actor," Jones is respected for her professionalism and devotion to her stagecraft.

Speaking of her ground-breaking role as an award-winning openly-lesbian actress, Jones has said, "it means the world to all of those people in all of those places who can't be out."

John Barrowman

Another acclaimed out actor is John Barrowman, a musical theater star in London's West End and a fixture on British television. Barrowman, who was born in Scotland but spent much of his childhood in Illinois, won acclaim in a revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes in 1989, and has subsequently become known especially for his interpretations of the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim.

From the beginning of his career, Barrowman been openly gay. As he told Gay Times interviewer Rupert Smith in 2004, "There's a received idea that being openly gay in the TV industry will limit your ability to get work, but I decided early on that I wouldn't hide anything. If you lie about yourself, then people are going to work very hard to expose that lie. If you're honest, it's not an issue and you can just get on with your life. . . . As far as the public goes, they see me playing different characters, some straight, some gay. They can make their own assumptions."

Barrowman's popularity, not merely in musical theater, but in a variety of roles on British television as well, seems to confirm his belief that openness is the best policy.

Conclusion

The willingness of successful performers such as Barrowman, Jones, McKellen, Callow, and Lane to be open about their sexuality is hopeful. They provide positive role models for gay and lesbian youth and place a human face on the image of homosexuality.

The openness of these actors is a testament to their courage, but it also says something about the changing climate in Europe and America. These actors--unlike, for example, such talented performers as Split Britches or Charles Busch and Ethyl Eichelberger, who play to largely gay and lesbian audiences--are mainstream performers who must depend on the good will of the general public for their livelihood. They could not afford to be open unless they had good reason to think it was safe.

Their confidence is confirmed by the fact that they have not suffered as a result of their openness. That they continue to enjoy success in their field indicates a new level of acceptance of homosexuality among the general public.

Linda Rapp

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   Related Entries
  
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arts >> Overview:  Musical Theater and Film

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arts >> Overview:  Theater Companies

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arts >> Overview:  Variety and Vaudeville

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arts >> Arzner, Dorothy

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arts >> Bankhead, Tallulah

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Accomplished actor and singer John Barrowman has won plaudits as a musical theater star, as well as for his roles in film and television.

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arts >> Beyer, Georgina

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arts >> Busch, Charles

Actor-writer-director Charles Busch has distinguished himself through his virtuouso performances of "grand dame" characters and through his writing of dramatic vehicles for these roles.

arts >> Callow, Simon

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arts >> Carter, Nell

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arts >> Charke, Charlotte

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arts >> Coco, James

Quick-witted, roly-poly, sad-eyed clown James Coco proved one of the most versatile and successful American stage, film, and television actors from the late-1960s through the mid-1980s.

arts >> Cornell, Katharine, (1893-1974) and Guthrie McClintic (1893-1961)

Actress Katharine Cornell and director Guthrie McClintic sustained one of the most celebrated partnerships in the American theater for forty years; although married and devoted to each other, both partners pursued same-sex relationships.

literature >> Coward, Sir Noël

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arts >> Coward, Sir Noël

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arts >> Cumming, Alan

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arts >> Cushman, Charlotte

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arts >> Dietrich, Marlene

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arts >> Dorval, Marie

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arts >> Drivas, Robert

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arts >> Duncan, Isadora

The mother of modern dance, Isadora Duncan brought her feminist consciousness to the stage; and in her bohemian private life, she constantly challenged society's rules.

arts >> Duse, Eleonora

One of the greatest actresses of her day, Eleonora Duse was also known for her tempestuous love affairs, primarily with men, but also with women.

arts >> Eichelberger, Ethyl

An influential figure in experimental theater, writer and drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger is most remembered for his repertoire of self-penned solo plays based on the lives of the great women of history, literature, and myth.

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Award-winning Harvey Fierstein is one of the finest gay male playwrights currently working in the American theater.

arts >> Fierstein, Harvey

Actor Harvey Fierstein has had phenomenal success as both a performer and a playwright, and has been steadfastly committed to the cause of glbtq rights.

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Singer, songwriter, and actor Stephen Gately gained fame as one of the lead vocalists in the Irish pop group Boyzone.

arts >> Gielgud, Sir John

Sir John Gielgud has long been acknowledged as one of the greatest British actors of the twentieth century.

arts >> Granger, Farley

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arts >> Harris, Neil Patrick

Child actor Neil Patrick Harris has made a successful transition to mature roles, showcasing his singing and dancing abilities along the way; he has also spoken out on behalf of glbtq causes.

arts >> Hayes, Sean

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arts >> Helpmann, Sir Robert

Actor, dancer, and choreographer, Sir Robert Helpmann was present at the creation of premier ballet companies in both Great Britain and Australia.

arts >> Hindle, Annie

The first woman to gain significant attention as a male impersonator in the United States, vaudeville performer Annie Hindle created a stir when she married her dresser, Annie Ryan.

arts >> Inman, John

Acclaimed comic actor John Inman gained international fame for his endearing portrayal of the fey salesman Mr. Humphries on the television series Are You Being Served?.

literature >> Jarman, Derek

In both his films and his writings, Derek Jarman's explicit project was to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.

arts >> Jones, Cherry

Versatile American actress Cherry Jones became the first out lesbian to win a Tony Award when she was chosen as Best Actress in 1995.

arts >> Lane, Nathan

Highly-acclaimed actor Nathan Lane is not only openly gay himself, but has portrayed gay characters in several plays and films.

arts >> Laughton, Charles

Anglo-American stage and screen actor and director Charles Laughton scored many triumphs in a distinguished career, but nevertheless suffered for much of his life from self-loathing and internalized homophobia.

arts >> Le Gallienne, Eva

Actress, director, producer, teacher, and memoirist, as well as translator, Eva Le Gallienne was one of the most successful figures in the American theater for several decades; she had many lovers, but was never comfortable with her lesbianism.

arts >> Lunt, Alfred (1892-1977), and Lynn Fontanne (1887-1983)

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were known as the first family of the American theater, but theirs was a lavender marriage and their presentation of themselves as the ideal married couple may have been their greatest performance.

arts >> Lynch, Jane

Out lesbian actress Jane Lynch has forged a successful career on television, in movies, and on the stage, including some memorable turns portraying lesbian characters.

arts >> Mantello, Joe

Having staged a variety of well-received and award-winning productions, actor-turned-director Joe Mantello has emerged as one of the most accomplished artists now working in the American theater.

arts >> Mapa, Alec

Alec Mapa has enjoyed success as an actor and on the comedy circuit. He is also an activist for glbtq rights.

arts >> McKellen, Sir Ian

Arguably the finest Shakespearean actor of his generation, Ian McKellen was the first British subject to be knighted after publicly revealing his homosexuality, an event that proved more controversial within the gay community than in the mainstream.

literature >> McNally, Terrence

Texas-reared Terrence McNally, whose first play, And Things That Go Bump in the Night, was one of the great scandals of the 1964 New York season, emerged in the 1990s as America's most important gay playwright since Tennessee Williams.

arts >> Moorehead, Agnes

Although she was not publicly out as a homosexual, actress Agnes Moorehead became a lesbian icon by virtue of her choice of roles during a long and distinguished career.

arts >> Nixon, Cynthia

Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon recently acknowledged publicly that she is bisexual and in a loving relationship with a woman.

arts >> Novello, Ivor

Show business renaissance man extraordinaire, Ivor Novello not only composed the scores of musical comedies, but also acted in films while dominating the London stage as a playwright and romantic leading man for three decades.

arts >> Perkins, Anthony

In his personal life, American actor Anthony Perkins often seemed as tortured as the troubled characters he played on film, hiding--and perhaps despising--his true nature while desperately seeking happiness and "normality."

arts >> Pierce, David Hyde

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.

arts >> Raucourt, Françoise

Widely admired for her talent and beauty, eighteenth-century French actress Françoise Raucourt lived openly with a series of female lovers.

arts >> Reilly, Charles Nelson

Funnyman Charles Nelson Reilly gained fame during the 1970s as a regular guest on game shows and celebrity talk shows, but he was also an accomplished character actor, director, and teacher.

literature >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.

arts >> Stebbins, Emma

Emma Stebbins is remembered for the sculpture that she produced between 1859 and 1869 and for being the lover of actress Charlotte Cushman.

arts >> Vogel, Paula

In her work, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel has tackled difficult topics, including AIDS, incest, and prostitution.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.

arts >> Winfield, Paul

Film, stage, and television actor Paul Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but maintained public silence about his homosexuality.


    Bibliography
   

Benedict, David. "No Regrets. Well, Perhaps One." The Independent (London) (July 8, 1995): Arts Section, 3.

Curtin, Kaier. "We Can Always Call Them Bulgarians": The Emergence of Lesbians and Gay Men on the American Stage. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1987.

DeRitter, Jones. "'Not the Person She Conceived Me': The Public Identities of Charlotte Charke." Sexual Artifice. Ann Kibbey, Kayann Short, and Abouali Farmanfarmaian, eds. New York and London: New York University Press, 1994. 3-25.

Madsen, Axel. The Sewing Circle. New York: Birch Lane Press, 1995.

Morley, Sheridan. John Gielgud: The Authorized Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Scanlon, Dick. "Cherry Jones: Basking in Broadway raves and a girlfriend's love, history's first out lesbian Tony winner remembers her fabulous 1995." The Advocate 698-699 (January 23, 1996): 76.

Schanke, Robert A. Shattered Applause: The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992.

_____, and Kim Marra, eds. Passing Performances: Queer Readings of Leading Players in American Theater History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998.

Senelick, Laurence. "The Evolution of the Male Impersonator on the Nineteenth-Century Stage." Homosexuality and Homosexuals in the Arts. Wayne R. Dynes and Stephen Donaldson, eds. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992. 261-274.

Smith, Rupert. "Centre Stage." Gay News (October 2004): www.johnbarrowman.net/interviews/gt.html

Spoto, Donald. Laurence Olivier: A Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Vilanch, Bruce. "Citizen Lane." The Advocate (February 2, 1999): 30.

Zucker, Carol. "Simon Callow." In the Company of Actors; Reflections on the Craft of Acting. New York: Theatre Arts Books/Routledge, 1999. 30-46.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Stage Actors and Actresses  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated June 3, 2008  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/stage_actors_actresses.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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