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Christian Right Up in Arms Over the Gaying of a Musical — Oklahoma!

Christian Right Up in Arms Over the Gaying of a Musical — Oklahoma!

Same-Sex Oklahoma

An Oregon production of Oklahoma! that features same-sex couples and a trans character has upset anti-LGBTQ Christians.

Ignoring musical theater's long history of contributing to gay culture, the Christian right is lamenting the fact that the beloved musical Oklahoma! has gotten a queer makeover at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland in a production from out artistic director Bill Rauch.

Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a piece about Rauch's interpretation of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical that features a lesbian couple as the leads Curly and Laurey and a gay male couple as the secondary pairing of Will Parker and Ado Andy (originally Ado Annie). Additionally, the character of Aunt Eller is a transgender woman played by a trans actress in the Oregon production.


Now the Christian Broadcasting Network's website is featuring a story about the queering of the classic musical, decrying it for removing heterosexual couples and replacing them with same-sex couples.

"It's just the latest activist effort to twist classic American entertainment into pro-gay entertainment," says CBN.

Launching a same-sex couple version of Oklahoma!, which features the stunning ballet section from Agnes DeMille, has been Rauch's goal since the early 1990s, when marriage equality could barely be conceived of, the Times reports.

But his passion project came to fruition after a reading of the same-sex version of the show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2016, at which Ted Chapin, the man in charge of Rodgers and Hammerstein's catalog, was in attendance.

Chapin gave his blessing and the production moved ahead. It premiered in April and will run through October, according to the Times.

The production, which also features interracial couples, is not the Christian right's only recent target. As CBN points out, anti-LGBTQ Christians have been gnashing their teeth over the queering of Anne of Green Gables on Netflix's Anne With an E.

"The creators of the series have carefully manipulated the classic story with an agenda that fits their worldview," Tess Farrand, a contributing writer for the anti-LGBTQ Movieguide, The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment, wrote in July about the Netflix series.

"Audiences need to recognize the power of their part in the industry," Farrand added. "We can say no to entertainment choices, and we can pray that the individuals that make up the industry would be shaped by God's Word, which has the power to transform and renew everyone."

It would appear that Oklahoma!, the title song for which was adopted as the official Oklahoma state song in 1953, has indeed gone pretty gay.

Just this week, gay satirist Randy Rainbow referenced the musical in a parody song about the quandary of finding former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman despicable for riding Donald Trump's coattails only to then possibly be one to take him down with secret tapes.

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