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Jim Parsons is beloved by millions for his disarming character Sheldon on the popular CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. He was also a standout in last year's production of the Larry Kramer AIDS-era play The Normal Heart on Broadway. Now he is set to return to Broadway when he plays the role of Elwood in the revival of Harvey, which is being mounted this summer and is set to open June 14.
The role of Elwood, the guy with the invisible friend, was made famous by Jimmy Stewart, and the New York Times' Patrick Healy recently spoke to Parsons about how he's re-envisioning the role for a contemporary audience. But probably the biggest revelation for many is that Parsons is acknowledged as openly gay in the piece.
As Healy writes: "The Normal Heart resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said."
For years, Parsons has lived as a gay man in his private life, but in his professional public life he skirted the issue, something Michael Musto wrote about in "The Glass Closet," in Out magazine. Musto recently reiterated in his May essay, "The Glass Closet, Revisited":
[Anderson Cooper]’s joined in glass by Queen Latifah, Ellen Page, and Jim Parsons (who’s also in The Normal Heart), but they’re a shrinking group as busting out becomes the honorable -- and sensible -- thing to do. So, five closet years after my cover, I’m still urging: Don’t be glassy, be classy! But thankfully, it doesn’t warrant such screaming anymore."
This week is seems that we heard a sort of coming out from Queen Latifah. And now the paper of record is openly declaring Parsons's gayness. So we assume we can move Parsons to the other column from now on. Now, for the others, it's just a waiting game.