Ex-Doogie Howser, M.D.’s Diagnosis of Broadway Audiences Makes Me Ill

He’s adorable.  He’s talented: he can sing, dance, and act. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2010. He’s won Emmys and has a hit show “How I Met Your Mother.”  Yet, on the June 12, 2011th 65th Tony Award Show, the host Neal Patrick Harris offended a minority: me.

His opening song “Broadway is not Just For Gays Anymore”  drew praise from the press and suggested he host the Oscars, yet to me, it was too edgy. As a theatre goer since childhood, who grew up memorizing the lyrics of my mother’s “Gypsy” and “My Fair Lady” albums, I don’t need to be serenaded by Harris that: “people from red states, people from blue:  A big Broadway rainbow is waiting for you!  Come on in and be inspired, there’s no sodomy required.” These X-rated lyrics are better suited for HBO or Cable T.V., not national television and could easily offend potential theatre goers who visit New York and want to see a Broadway show. 

While the lyrics were clever, and drew guffaws from the theatre professionals, they were “in jokes” insulting the very audience who keep theatre alive. We know the theatre isn’t just for gays and Jews anymore. But why denigrate these minority groups, of which Harris is a member? Or knock  ” the cousins in from out of town you have to amuse, the foreign tourists and the beats of senior citizens and well-to-do suburbanites and liberal intellectuals.  (oh, that group is only really Jews and homosexuals).” These groups are buying tickets to the shows.

Two-thirds of the seats in Broadway theatre are taken by women, like myself. The audience has remained status quo over the years. What has changed are the “out” actor’s acceptance speeches in which they thank their partner or lover. And the profusion of plays in recent years dealing with homosexual themes.

This popular actor has been out since November ’06  yet his sophomoric observations about theatre attendees  were so “gay” (lame). I don’t know if Harris composed the lyrics or merely sang them, but Harris and the networks should remember their mission: to fill theatre seats.

Have you talked to your kids about the media’s stereotypical representations of gays?

When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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