Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

IN HER ZEAL TO PROVE A QUESTIONABLE THESIS - that "queer sidekicks" crop up in a bunch of musicals (see "The universe shakes" in TSR's Fall 2008 issue) - Janet Hardy comes up with some notions that are queer indeed. Ado Annie and Will Parker in Oklahoma! are not "exploring" what we think of as an open marriage; they're teasing each other. Does Hardy take this jest literally?

In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Zero Mostel might have been unattractive, but he wasn't "neuter." That Nathan Lane, who happens to be gay, played Pseudolus in a revival reveals nothing about the character, any more than his real-life sexuality outed Max Bialystock in The Producers. "Love, I Hear" and "Lovely" are not "criticisms of traditional pair-bonding." (Hardy sounds like a bird-watcher.) Does she really think Sondheim - or anyone else - wonders about Hero's future married life with Philia?

Authences and critics can wonder stubbornly (and obtusely) if Bobby is gay for the next 100 years, but I challenge anyone to find a word in the text that questions Bobby's attraction to women. He is indeed afraid of marriage (i.e., "commitment"), but what bearing has that on his sexuality?

I don't see any continuum from the sexually predatory Mae West to Mame, who is first and foremost a young boy's loving aunt, brimming with real joy, optimism and life force. She's not ironical, "high style" or campy. In what way is she "clearly a drag queen"? Auntie Marne was a huge hit in the '50s; Hardy posits that a musical version couldn't have been equally popular then, but doesn't explain why or how she knows. …

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