Ben Platt
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Dear Haters: I’ve Got Something To Get Off My Gay Chest

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Hello, my darling haters. Guess what, kids? While you spend your lives blowing off steam about how horrible and sinful LGBT people are, I am simply living my life—and quite happily, thank you. It turns out that I don’t actually require your approval to lead a full and fabulous existence. I never really did!

While you all spend your days selectively quoting and/or misquoting the Bible in order to paint us as loathsome hellcats, I run around meeting celebrities, writing articles, and being toasted all over town as I traipse from enchantment to enchantment. And all that time, I’m gayer than a fruitcake at a piano bar holiday party—and I’m getting paid for it! I work for a gay site, a gay magazine, and a gay TV channel! Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay! You see, I don’t happen to believe in the Bible—not that Bible, anyway—so why should it have anything to do with how I carry on? You can waste your time getting upset by the alleged teachings of your good book, but I don’t have to since I never bought into it! After all, the God I pray to is one of love, acceptance, and joy—a God who even cares for poor little wretches who continually misuse his name while psychotically claiming to have a direct pipeline to his very thoughts and utterances.

My God feels sorry for you lost souls, who wrack yourselves with concern about other people’s doings, getting righteous ulcers over the proliferation of happy-go-lucky gays running around just being themselves. Guess what? We’ve always been here and we always will be, and as we work, breed, and continue as responsible, successful citizens, you’re tied up trying to cast spells on us or stop us in our light loafers. Ain’t gonna happen, haters. We have already won the battle just by living our lives out in the open and proving we’re not only worthy, we’re absolutely gorgeous and unaffected by your petty disapproval.

I’m having a blast as a great friend, worker, and person, and all the approbation I get can’t be tarnished by a peanut gallery of hypocritical spitball throwers who think they own the blueprint on how to be a human. I’m not even upset by your stupidity anymore—in fact, it makes me laugh, especially when you still carry on that you’re against gay marriage. Did you not get the memo that the argument is over? That just last year, the Supreme Court ushered it into the law of the land in all 50 states? It’s not up for debate anymore. It’s a done deal, haters! While you’re still desperately trying to stir up an attack against a fete accompli like that (not to mention abortion, after all these years), you might also want to try to enslave black people again or deny women the vote. Come on, give it a shot! God wants you to!

Listen, hons, feel free to do whatever you want because you won’t get anywhere except more frustrated, until you finally pop like a hateful hot air balloon wafting into some hard-hitting wall of truth. Keep practicing your godforsaken spirituality, no matter how full of rage you get as it sticks your runny noses into the business of responsible and happy people. The irony is quite delicious that your beloved Bible is causing you a lot more grief than it’s causing me, since it’s got your panties tied up in knots while I sashay merrily to a succession of good times and triumphs. Whoops, gotta go. Off to keep being gay and have more fun. Later!

COME ON FEEL THE NOISES

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As part of my gay agenda, I‘ll tell you what I don’t hate: Broadway! Especially the crackling new revival of Michael Frayn’s 1983 comedy Noises Off, about a British troupe of misbegotten actors wreaking havoc on an already idiotic play within a play. Right off the bat, we get to know the tatty ensemble, which includes a mature lady who’s invested in the show (Nothing On) but keeps messing up her stage business; a bimbo who mouths other people’s lines and loses her contact lenses (Megan Hilty); and so on, all providing a handful for the exasperated—and sexually overactive—director (Campbell Scott). The way the play keeps mounting over three acts rewards the audience’s investment by piling absurd doings onto each other for growing hilarity. Ingeniously, the first act is set at a dress rehearsal for Act One of Nothing On, where things start messing up while setting the stage for future lunacy; Act Two brings us backstage during an actual performance of the same act, so we see the actors elaborately miming their personal battles in between heading upstage to perform the play; and Act Three brings us back onstage for an actual performance later in the run, when the actors are really at each others’ throats and insanity has taken over the stage. It’s amazing that Frayn managed to layer a farce onto a farce, starting with an amusingly witless piece basically about plates of sardines and slamming doors, then making it even funnier by having the Nothing On actors indulge in their own wacky antics. David Furr’s tumble down a staircase is a riot and so is Jeremy Shamos’s slipping around in the sardine juice on the floor. And Andrea Martin is priceless, especially when the physical shenanigans caused by all the in-fighting leave her in the middle of pseudo porno tableaux. As directed by Jeremy Herrin, the result hops over the contrivances of the script, balancing pure silliness with awesome precision while making you realize how important terrific actors are to this play about terrible actors.

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO

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I also caught up with the hit Gloria Estefan show On Your Feet!, and while it’s not Hamilton, it’s a slickly packaged and enjoyable jukebox musical about the Cuban-born American singer’s tribulations and triumphs. In this live answer to a biopic, young Gloria’s life changes when she impresses music wiz Emilio Estefan, though as their joint career burgeons, she gets resistance from mama, who (shades of Gypsy) is still hurting from dashed show biz dreams of her own. But egged on by her saucy but loving grandma, Gloria keeps soaring—until that horrid 1990 tour bus accident left her in danger of paralysis. Gloria doesn’t want to be looked on condescendingly, as her chair-bound Vietnam vet father is, but taskmaster Emilio urges her back into the spotlight, and she shows the world she’s still got it and they return the love in kind. That’s pretty much the whole story, and while it unfolds in TV movie fashion--albeit with Estefan’s hits shoehorned in and with some obligatory audience participation—it goes down delightfully, with smooth direction by Jerry Mitchell and swirling choreography by Sergio Trujillo. And the two leads give the show a lot of personal zest. Josh Segarra is appealing as Emilio, from his cutely malapropic turns of phrase to his fiery outbursts aimed at an awkwardly caricatured music exec who wants the Estefans to stick to Spanish. (“This is what an American looks like!” Emilio growls in a moment that would make Donald Trump cringe.) And as Gloria, Ana Villafane is sensational, not only looking and sounding like the star subject, but putting her own stamp on the proceedings with vivid acting chops and hot moves. If Villafane doesn’t become a big star very soon, then Emilio Estefan needs to start telling people off again. I’d do it myself, but I’m too busy telling off the haters. 

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