Douglas Carter Beane: Mister Sister

Having already graced Broadway with The Little Dog Laughed and Xanadu, late-addition librettist Douglas Carter Beane blesses the musical Sister Act with his divine gay sensibility.




That said, your upcoming off-Broadway musical Lysistrata Jones, a modern retelling of the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, is about a group of girls who withhold sex from their boyfriends on the basketball team. Does it include any gay themes or characters?
Oh, sure. You can’t do a show about college basketball without that. Please, that’s what keeps me going to those games on Saturday afternoons. Lysistrata Jones is all about love and sex, so I would be remiss if I didn’t bring in some gay themes.

The composer-lyricist for Lysistrata Jones is your partner, Lewis Flinn, with whom you have two adopted children. Tell me about your collaboration.
He writes amazing pop music, so I wanted us to write pop theater together — like, what would it sound like if Lady Gaga wrote a Broadway musical? But he had already written music for a lot of my plays. Actually, I first met Lewis when a director brought him on to write an original score for a play I’d written. I’d already selected found music for the show, so I was full of resentment when we met because I felt my vision wasn’t being served, but I very quickly developed a huge crush on him.

Isn’t it risky to keep mixing business with pleasure?
We’ve been married for 10 years; there’s no pleasure left. [Laughs] It’s actually a very easy collaboration. We have a shorthand that takes people’s breath away because they think we’re angry with each other, but that’s just the way we talk creatively. We rarely argue.

Since it opened on Broadway in 2006, The Little Dog Laughed has been performed in theaters all over the world. Do you ever catch any of those productions, if for no other reason but to bask in the full-frontal male nudity that you made possible?
Right? I knew I was put here for a reason. Yeah, I do check them out once in a while. I was delighted that it caused scandal in Bergen County, N.J., last week, when they tried to shut down a community theater production because of the disgusting sight of boys kissing. The Genesius Theatre in Reading, Pa. — the very first stage I ever walked upon and the theater that made me a writer — is doing it in November, so I’ll see that for sure. In the last month, I saw productions in the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia. It turns out that self-loathing among homosexuals and homophobia among heterosexuals is not particular to our country; evidently, it’s a worldwide phenomenon, and I will continue making money from it.

Tags: Theater