The Big Gay Musical
|The Big Gay Musical|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Casper Andreas
Fred M. Caruso
|Produced by||Fred M. Caruso
Edward Miller (executive)
|Written by||Fred M. Caruso|
|Music by||Rick Crom|
|Edited by||Alexander Hammer|
|Distributed by||Embrem Entertainment
The Big Gay Musical is a 2009 gay-themed musical-comedy film written by Fred M. Caruso and co-directed by Caruso and Casper Andreas. The film follows a brief period in the lives of two young actors, one who is openly gay, the other closeted to his parents. The openly gay actor struggles with whether he should be sexually promiscuous or seek a life partner, while the closeted one wonders if he should come out to his conservative, religious parents.
Throughout the film, there are a series of musical numbers with tap dancing angels, a re-telling of the Genesis story, protests from televangelists, a deprogramming camp that tries to turn gay kids straight. By the end of the film, the characters realize that life would be better if they just accepted themselves the way they are.
Paul (Daniel Robinson) and Eddie (Joey Dudding) have just begun previews of an Off-Broadway musical titled Adam & Steve: Just the Way God Made 'Em. Their lives mimic those of the characters they are playing on stage, in that Paul is himself seeking the ideal male partner, and Eddie finds that his religious upbringing conflicts with his homosexuality. After his boyfriend dumps him for being accused of having HIV, though he does not, Paul decides he is through with relationships and wants to be promiscuous, or as he so eloquently sung, "I wanna be a slut." Eddie, meanwhile decides he must finally tell his conservative parents that he is gay. Eddie comes out to his family, who do not accept the news well. Paul turns to the Internet for dates, but can't even get a decent one-night stand. However, Paul continually bumps into a fan who has developed romantic feelings for him, and after a series of disastrous one night stands, he starts dating Michael at the end of the musical's opening night. Eddie's religious parents, on a different note, decide to attend the musical because of a promise they made to their son, even though they are appalled by homosexuality and the theme of the show. As the play goes on though, they begin to believe that maybe they judged their son too harshly, and come to accept the fact that he is gay. Eddie's parents make up with him at the end of the show's opening night.
- Lena Hall as Wife / Eve
- Daniel Robinson as Paul / Adam
- Joey Dudding as Eddie / Steve
- Jeff Metzler as David
- Casper Andreas as Usher
- Liz McCartney as Patty-Maye
- Brian Spitulnik as Michael
- Andre Ward as Jose
- Steve Hayes as God
- Jim Newman as Bruce
- Michael Schiffman as Charles
- Marty Thomas as Dorothy
- Kate Pazakis as Herself
- Michael Musto as Himself
- Jack Aaronson as Himself
- Brent Corrigan as Hustler
- Rick Crom as Drunk
The directors chose to cast openly gay Broadway actors for all the film's key roles. Principle filming began October 24, 2008. Cast includes theatre veterans, Liz McCartney, Jim Newman, Joey Dudding, Marty Thomas, Andre Ward, Daniel Robinson, Jeff Metzler, Brian Spitulnik, Josh Cruz, Lena Hall and Steve Hayes, and features the choreography of Shea Sullivan with songs written by Rick Crom. It was the first feature film for stage actors Daniel Robinson and Joey Dudding. The two leads were at first concerned with the manner in which sex scenes were to be handled in the film, with Robinson originally turning down the role. He is reported as stating, "It was a little too over the top for me. I wasn't comfortable with the sex scene[s] and the nudity. It was too nude and gay for me." He expanded, "A huge reason why I didn't take the film in the first place was that I didn't want to be seen as a gay actor. Big Gay Musical was like putting a tattoo on my body." He eventually decided the film was a good opportunity, and in looking back on the production, acknowledged that the sex scene "was harder to read than to do." Another of his early concerns were fears about having his naked body exposed on film forever. Robinson and Dudding both offered that the most difficult aspect to their respective roles was portraying two different characters with different story lines and motivations within the same film.
In speaking about the film, Variety wrote of one of the film's many segments, and made special note of one dealing with Genesis, by writing that "Seldom has blasphemy been so entertaining, and if only Caruso were capable of sustaining such wit (and energy, as agile lensing and editing keep things lively), the movie could have stuck to documenting his stage show." They expanded on flaws by writing "subsequent numbers stall, with lame caricatures of Tammy Faye Bakker and long stretches at an ex-gay conversion camp offset by an eye-candy male cast parading about in hot pants and angel wings." The added that to the film's credit, "the directors insisted on casting openly gay Broadway actors in all the key roles, trading the usual daytime-soap-caliber cast of equivalently low-budget, L.A.-produced gay fare for multitalents with real singing and dancing chops." They concluded that the film was "more than adequate for festival and DVD consumption."
After Elton shared that the film's structure is "a little unusual" in that after the prologue the film opens with "a rather extended musical and dance number from a preview performance of a stage play, Adam & Steve Just the Way God Made Em, which tells the story of the Bible from a decidedly gay perspective." They called the film "a surprisingly pleasant romp," writing that "this little gay musical has what seems to be about two full months of flawless preview performances!"
New York Cool reviewer Frank J. Avella wrote that his first response was negative, but when he read of the involvement of Casper Andreas in the project he became more interested in the film and learned, contrary to his original impression, "no one breaks into song without a good reason." Avella made special note of how the storyline revolves around the players and cast of the stageplay Adam and Steve Just the Way God Made Them, a musical production within the film itself which presents the Genesis creation narrative from a gay perspective. He wrote "The film continuously and cleverly returns to the stage show, using it as a framing device of sorts" as a means to underscore the film's greater story of acceptance-of-self. In summarizing, the reviewer offered that "production values are terrific and the ensemble is, for the most part, admirable". He wrote that Daniel Robinson was "quite impressive" and his slut song "brings down the house", but expanded that Joey Dudding playing a "sweet and sensitive Eddie" truly moves the audience by giving an accurate portrayal of a guy on the cusp of coming out.
The film first screened July 20, 2009, at the Philadelphia Q Fest and had its official theatrical premiere August 9, 2009, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, before screenings at multiple LGBT film festivals through 2009 and 2010.
The soundtrack of the film was scheduled for release on July 14, 2009. The CD includes all the original music from the film as well as some contemporary tracks that were also featured in the movie.
- Debruge, Peter (January 17, 2010,). "review: The Big Gay Musical". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Gans, Andrew (October 23, 2008). "McCartney, Newman, Thomas, Ward and More Cast in "The Big Gay Musical" Film". Playbill. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- staff (October 23, 2008). "Filming Begins on New Feature Film BIG GAY MUSICAL Featuring Broadway Stars". Broadway World. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- "Iris Prize Festival". Western Mail. October 2, 2009. "Six new feature films are being screened as part of this year's Iris Prize Festival, which celebrates the best in gay and lesbian film from around the world. Leading actors and directors will be travelling to Cardiff to introduce each screening. One of the films, as voted for by the Friends of Iris, will also walk away with pounds 1,000. These are the offerings...The Big Gay Musical (European Premiere) Cineworld - October 9"
- Avella, Frank J. (September 17, 2009). "The Big Gay Musical". New York Cool. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Hartinger, Brent. ""The Big Gay Musical" Deserves to Take a Bow". October 8, 2009. After Elton. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Kramer, Gary (1 April 2010). "The Big Gay Musical Comes to DVD". San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Gans, Andrew (August 9, 2009). "Big Gay Musical Premieres in Provincetown". Playbill. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Bacalzo, Dan (April 30, 2009). "Big Gay Musical Soundtrack to Be Released July 14". Theater Mania. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- staff (May 18, 2009). "THE BIG GAY MUSICAL Soundtrack Released 7/14". Broadway World. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- San Vicente, Romeo. "At Last, The Big Gay Musical." San Francisco Bay Times. November 13, 2008. Accessed 01-21-2009.
- Lipton, Brian Scott. "Cruz, Hayes, McCartney, Newman, Thomas, Ward, et al. Set for The Big Gay Musical." TheaterMania.com. October 23, 2008. Accessed 01-21-2009.
- "At Last, The Big Gay Musical." Gaydar Nation. October 4, 2008. Accessed 01-21-2009.
- Padva, Gilad. Uses of Nostalgia in Musical Politicization of Homo/Phobic Myths in Were the World Mine, The Big Gay Musical, and Zero Patience. In Padva, Gilad, Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Pop Culture, pp. 139–172 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, ISBN 978-1-137-26633-0).