While musical theater can often be considered “gay,” writers EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn (pictured above) felt that it’s often not “queer” enough.
The pair, who were behind the 2021 Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical TL;DR Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix, are looking to change that. Their new album, Place and Time, is shining a spotlight on women, queer POC, theys, enbys and trans folx, according to a press release.
“We are here too,” Chary said, “and like everyone else, we experience a range of feelings and circumstances that aren’t all centered on our trauma or our otherness.”
Place and Time features a cast of Broadway artists from underrepresented groups singing about emotions that all can relate to. The songs range from those that are nostalgic to emotional to flirty.
“We hope listeners will relate to the characters and maybe even see themselves reflected in the canon,” Gwinn said in the release.
The artists on the album include Tituss Burgess, Amber Gray, Telly Leung, Tony Award-winner Daisy Eagan, and an all-star cast of Broadway performers.
The album is available on Spotify and Apple Music on December 3.
“Even as a young gay man, I always had problems fitting neatly into the cis and straight culture at large,” admitted Gwinn, who identifies as queer and gender-fluid.
Chary agreed. “There are a lot of us who don’t feel beholden to any one label or identity. We exist on a spectrum,” Chary said. “A big part of my coming out has been trying to decipher what part of the LGBTQ puzzle I fit into.”
Place and Time is a culmination of Chary and Gwinn’s musical and gender awakening, they said.
The project was developed over 10 years of working together and features songs that are mostly queer-themed with emotional surges that are character- and story-driven.
The songs include “Always Heard, Never Seen,” written from Chary’s experience of being a woman in queer spaces dominated by cis white men ,and “Why I Chose,” which is about feeling somewhere in the middle between male and female, much like Gwinn’s lived experience, according to the release.
Daisy Eagan (Tony Award-winner, Girls) sings "Gal Who Gets the Gig," a gender-bending, feminist, musical theater charm song, and Tony nominee Amber Gray and Amy Jo Jackson (The Brass Menagerie, Company XIV) sing the album’s cover track, which is a lesbian love duet.
Throughout the album, there are solid influences from folk, as well as protest songs, pop-rock radio, and '70s-era tracks. Also featured on the album is “The Things I Don’t Say,” the first song Chary and Gwinn ever wrote together, sung by Telly Leung (Aladdin, Glee).