NEW YORK, NY— With less than two weeks to election day, protests continue to rattle the country and theater gays, just like the young artists in the punk rock musical RENT, are promising to fight systemic racism for a symbolic Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes (One Year).
Tap dancing their way down city blocks with harmonized chants of “Fuck The Police,” people who spent $140K on a performing arts degree say they will occupy the streets for at least as long as Cynthia Erivo was in The Color Purple on Broadway. While theaters are shuttered and piano bars outlawed, these enthusiastic theater gays have had no choice but to pour their need for attention into activism.
“The state of police oversight is worse than Cats!” Said Andrew Boehmer (Emerson, BFA ‘19), marching down Broadway holding a copy of his headshot with “BLM” written on the back. “You never know who you’re going to run into at one of these callbacks for justice.”
After a summer rocked by a pandemic, police brutality and a brewing economic collapse, the gay community seems to be leading the charge for systemic societal change. Furloughed Broadway singers have used this time to post acapella renditions of Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech to TikTok. At home, dancers are choreographing sexy “Justice For Breonna” routines for Instagram Live. Hamilton streams on Spotify are at an all time high.
Even recent Tisch School of the Arts grads are more unemployed than usual. White twink Harper Nevins (AMDA, class of ‘22) has taken up political drag while his school remains closed during the pandemic. “Art has the power to change lives! This is a time to use my fine arts degree for public good and my commitment to activism has inched up my follower count past 5K,” said Nevins, whose stage persona “Rachel Justice” performs mostly on Zoom. Her signature act involves death dropping repeatedly as the names of Black Americans slain by police violence are played over a loudspeaker. It has over 6 million views on YouTube and comments are for sure disabled.
Other activists have been bewildered by this newfound support from Broadway’s tightest and whitest. “I’ve been protesting since we invaded Iraq in ‘03,” said Nancy Robinson, who expressed reservations about the effectiveness of “a bunch of spoiled idiots recreating Gus Van Sandt’s Stonewall.”
Time will only tell how successful this inspiring, short-lived movement will be, but activists are determined to solve police brutality before 54 Below reopens in Manhattan. “I’m not sure if you knew this, but the first Pride was a riot,” said Rachel Justice, “be sure to follow me on Instagram for updates on the coming Revolution.”