The smash hit of the season is "Hairspray," a musical making the transition from the cinema, in this case the 1988 movie by sleazy Baltimore auteur John Waters. As in the movie, the mother of the lead character is played by a transvestite, for which Harvey Fierstein won his fourth Tony. (Did no one find it a bit ... odd ... that the Best Actor award went to a man playing a woman?) He proclaimed with his trademark guttural flourish that "I adore each and every one of you, I want to have your children, and I promise to raise them well." Tony voters also honored gay director Jack O'Brien and gay music composers Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Shaiman kissed Wittman on the mouth after he gushed that "We're not allowed to get married, but I want to declare I love you, and I'd like to live with you the rest of my life." Associated Press reported that applause erupted when the kiss was mentioned during a commercial break.
The Tony for Best Play was awarded to "Take Me Out," a "locker room drama" about a star baseball player who comes out of the closet. The work was also honored for Joe Mantello's direction, who cooed from the stage, "I think I just saw two guys kiss on CBS, which is cool!" Denis O'Hare, who won for playing a gay financial consultant who learns to love baseball, thanked "my beautiful boyfriend," and later remarked "It's Gay Night out there! It's amazing!"
Michele Pawk, who won a supporting-actress Tony, proclaimed: "I have never been more proud to be a member of this community. Men kissing each other on stage. Drag queens. Children. It's a perfect world. As it should be."
Even the Tony show's host, married Australian actor Hugh Jackman, has a gay connection. He'll debut on Broadway this fall in "The Boy From Oz," a musical based on the life of the late bisexual Australian songwriter and performer Peter Allen. The entire show seemed to announce that the powers that be in the theater community are steering the industry from mass culture to subculture. Broadway is no longer a stage. It's a sewer.