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Staff Picks: Queer Theatre Icons Who Changed Our Lives

June 14, 2021 by Tina Wargo
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It’s no secret that there’s always been an undeniable link between the LGBTQIA+ community and theatre. For whatever reason, this industry tends to be a siren song calling folks who identify on the queer spectrum to participate and join the (metaphorical) parade, both onstage and off. So this year, during Pride Month, we called upon some of our TodayTix staffers to share the queer theatrical icons who’ve shaped, influenced, and in some cases, changed their lives.

Rosie O’Donnell

Tina Wargo, Marketing

One of my favorite things about being a person is getting to have connections with other people, and the best part of that is getting to bear witness to their joy and passion. There’s nothing more exciting and invigorating to me than seeing what lights someone up from the inside out, especially if I share their interests. I recently realized, while watching her TikToks and trolling YouTube for some best-of clips, that my passion for passion (and subsequently, my passion for theatre) probably stemmed from watching Rosie O’Donnell’s show every day as a kid. She has always unabashedly loved the things she loves, and she’s used her platform to ardently support the arts since the very beginning. Plus, she was the Cat in the Hat! Talk about an icon.

Fanny Brice, Funny Girl

Courtney King, Planning

Get ready for me love, ‘cause I’m a comer.” Funny Girl was my favorite movie as a child, as I was simultaneously taken by Barbra Streisand herself, Fanny Brice’s character, costumes, music, and moxie. Decades before I even knew I was gay, I knew I wanted to emulate the Fanny Brice’s gumption in life. She was the original strong female lead in my world, driven only by a feel-it-in-her-bones need to be herself and wow was she rewarded for it. Years later, I’m still singing “Don’t rain on my [Pride] parade” on every ferry boat past the Statue of Liberty and hoping I’m being as true to myself as Fanny was. Sing on, Babs. 

Elsa, Frozen

Suzy Evans, Marketing

Growing up, I could have really used a Disney princess whose story didn’t revolve around a prince, so I’m thrilled that Elsa has struck such a chord with little girls (and big ones, too) around the world. Frozen 2 Samantha theories aside, Elsa is an absolute queen (literally), and her narrative challenges conventional norms in super inspiring ways. I will absolutely never get tired of belting “Let It Go” at the top of my lungs because Elsa’s story about accepting yourself and harnessing the power of your difference is the message we all need. 

Patti LuPone

Tom Leggat, Executive Assistant

I don’t think anyone epitomizes the word “Diva” like Ms. LuPone. Beyond this, she has the strength to always be outspoken for what she believes in… even if it involves stopping a live Broadway show. I love this video clip where she is presented with the Ally for Equality Award for her commitment to LGBTQ equality, with a touching story of how she does more for our community than just “singing on gay cruises”. Everybody, rise!

Mayzie La Bird, Seussical

Mikey Harris, Engineering

Mayzie La Bird has held diva queen status for middle/high school children for centuries. Ok maybe not centuries, but at least a time during most millennials’ theatre career. Her opening line is literally “I’m Mayzie La Bird, and I live in that tree. Enough about [straight people] let’s talk about me,” a sentiment which embodies the very spirit of Pride.

As “Amazing Mayzie,” she is the definitive drag queen of the show: flashy, opinionated, and ready to party. My own personal time doing Seussical was a hormonally charged time, where I was starting to come into my own as a gay man. And even though my fabulous diva friend playing Mayzie was dating the boy I was hopelessly in love with, I was glad she could be the Grand Marshall to my pride parade that was Seussical the Musical