A Guy and His Dolls
BY Brandon Voss
July 30 2009 12:00 AM ET
You made your Broadway debut as a performer in 1979's Zoot Suit. Were you out then?I was never a hot pants-wearing, flag-waving kind of person, but you just found your posse, your tribe -- people who were like you and places where it was safe to be you. I was in the original cast of Amadeus on Broadway with Ian McKellen, and he and I have remained friends over the years. We saw each other at a fund-raiser later, and he said, "Richard, it's very important that you come out." I was like, "What are you talking about? Anybody who knows me knows I'm gay. I don't need a big coming-out party." Then I did some interview in San Francisco that was really gay, so I showed him and asked, "Is this out enough for you?" In my opinion, he's the greatest actor in the English language. If young actors can't afford to go see him in something, I always buy them tickets.
You can't get much gayer than the music videos you've produced for party promoter and The Big Gay Sketch Show star Jonny McGovern. How did that relationship start?Jonny McGovern is one of the prides of my life. I saw a slick little ad in Time Out New York about something he was doing at P.S. 122, so I went to see it on a rainy Sunday afternoon and I was enthralled by him. He's really such a clever, intelligent, talented guy. His Gay Pimp"character is really like a superhero who saves gay kids and tells them not to be afraid of getting beat up in school. I met him after the show and said, "I want to work with you." So we put together a team and I financed the video for "Soccer Practice" in 2003, which got him bookings that took him as far as Tokyo. Then we shot a whole series of them. When Jonny was up for the TV series, executive-producer Rosie O'Donnell, who I'd worked with before, wrote me to ask, "What do you know about Jonny McGovern?" I said, "Hire him."
So you've helped out McGovern, and in addition to McKellen, you've spoken about how much your career has been impacted by power gays Cameron Mackintosh and Tommy Tune. Do you find that gays actively look out for one another in the industry?I don't clock it because those are just the people that I know, and straight people have been just as kind to me. But, you know, it's also true that if you're out on Fire Island one weekend and Tommy's out there at his house, you do get the opportunity to talk. Work begets friendship begets work.
For tickets and more information, log onto www.HollywoodBowl.com .
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