The Boys in the Band Get to Broadway. Why Not the Girls?

Recent Broadway revivals of “Angels in America,” “M. Butterfly,” “The Boys in the Band” and “Torch Song”— shows dealing with the gay experience — have attracted star power, awards and attention. Earlier this year, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s acclaimed Broadway debut, “Choir Boy,” focused on a charismatic gay youth who runs into trouble at his boarding school.

This season looks just as bountiful. Matthew Lopez’s six-hour-long “The Inheritance” is coming to New York after a London run that earned it comparisons to “Angels,” while “Take Me Out,” Richard Greenberg’s study of a baseball player’s coming out, is scheduled to return 17 years after it won the Tony Award for best play.

Wait, let me rephrase for maximum accuracy: It’s the gay-male experience we’re talking about. Lesbians are more elusive on America’s premier stages.

And last season wasn’t even that bad for us, considering that aside from Maureen and Joanne from “Rent,” lesbians are usually relegated to the supporting ranks, like the friendly neighbors in “Falsettos.”

Let’s rewind — it won’t take long.

We’ve had a teenager fighting for her right to bring her girlfriend to the titular event in the very funny musical “The Prom,” and a princess falling in love with her lady-in-waiting in the underrated Go-Go’s jukebox show, “Head Over Heels.”

This comparison is not meant to disparage Mr. Harmon, but to point out a galling discrepancy. Gay stories are assumed to have a relatable universality — and thus a commercial appeal — that is not as easily granted to lesbian stories.

Obviously, Broadway is not the be-all and end-all of American theater. But it does represent validation and awareness, the ability to put on big spectacles, and the opportunity to land regional productions, have a nationally televised platform with the Tonys and possibly make a living from your craft instead of trying to cobble an income from day jobs and grants.

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