Broadway Backwards 4: Queers Take Manhattan

Broadway Backwards 4: Queers Take Manhattan
Florence Henderson performs "There's Nothing Like a Dame" at Broadway Backwards.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

If you're a queer woman with any sense of community involvement (or a codependent relationship with a ticket selling ex) you've been to your share of LGBT fundraisers, Save the Whales Pancake Breakfast, Take It All Off for Tasha's Top Surgery, Womyn’s Chorus Humming with Hummus Festival.

The point is usually the raising of the funds, not necessarily the attendees having fun. But on February 9 at Broadway Backwards 4, an event to bring in cash for the New York's LGBT Center (now called just The Center) queer folks took over the Great White Way and had an amazing time.

The concept of Broadway Backwards, which took place this year at the American Airlines Theater, is to bring a little gender bending to traditional Broadway tunes. So the audience sat slack jawed as Florence Henderson shared an open-mouthed kiss with one of her back up singers during her rendition of “There's Nothing Like a Dame” from South Pacific. Her number also featured a completely gratuitous, clearly scripted but nevertheless quite sincere crotch grab of one of the boys in the queen-y chorus line.

Whoopi Goldberg sang “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story and mimed cunnilingus quite convincingly with not one, but two female chorus members. Jai Rodriguez (of Queer Eye for the Strait Guy fame) crooned, “Listen” from Dreamgirls In a truly gay rendition of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof, Jose Llana, Christopher Sieber and John Tartaglia implored their web-enabled cell phones to “catch me a catch.”

In the final number, Marty Thomas was joined on stage by a group of diverse LGBT New Yorkers who found connection and hope at The Center as he sang “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. There was hand holding and more than a few tears in the sold-out crowd, demonstrating that even in a city that revels in its own cynicism, queers still crave community. 

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