Musical About Queer Athlete Gets NEA Grant
About Face received a $10,000 Art Works grant to support the commission and development of "The Babe Didrikson Project," a musical with a book and lyrics by out playwright Sarah Gubbins.
The musical, according to a press release, "will portray Babe Didrikson, a famous early 20th-century lesbian athlete who dominated golf, basketball, and track and field, and will explore how her ability to compete in a male-dominated sports culture was a crucial step in bringing visibility to women's sports."
"Since coming to the NEA, I have met with many NEA grantees and have seen first-hand the positive impact they have on their communities," says NEA chairman Jane Chu in a statement. "These new projects will continue to demonstrate the power the arts have to deepen value, build connections, and foster an atmosphere of creativity and innovation both at the community level and with individuals throughout the nation."
Other works by Gubbins include LGBT-inclusive plays The Kid Thing and fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life.
Didrikson won two gold medals and one silver medal at the 1932 Olympics. Criticized for her masculine appearance, she later married wrestler George Zaharias but was rumored to be in a romantic relationship with golfer Betty Dodd. Didrikson was the subject of the 1975 TV biopic Babe.
The Chicago Legacy Project recently honored Didrikson, who died in 1956 at the age of 45, as a "bisexual" heroine. Read more about her life and accomplishments on the plaque below.