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Five Underground LGBT Musicals You Have To See

Have you ever watched Hamilton and thought, "I wish the Founding Fathers were gay?"
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When you’ve watched Rent and Hedwig one too many times, here’s what you should see next.


1. Normativity

Don’t you hate it when your favorite gay and lesbian characters die? For no reason?

Young lesbian Taylor has had enough of the #BuryYourGays media trend – and Emily, a book character who has come alive, needs to convince her author not to spare her life. Love, hijinks and plot twists abound. If you’re straight, you won’t be after seeing Madeline Wolf do a stunning performance as Emily.

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This meta musical will send your head spinning as you question the line between reality and fiction. Are you actually a book character? Or are you secretly an author? Can you be both? This philosophical bender is paired with a hilarious, upbeat score that will stick in your head for days.

Where to watch it: Normativity premiered July 2016 in New York at the New York Musical Festival. More NYC dates will be added soon.


2. Straight Outta Oz

A cross between The Wizard of Oz and Beyonce’s Lemonade, this haunting retelling is darker, funnier and more honest than anything L. Frank Baum had in mind. Broadway star Todrick Hall created this musical to detail his personal journey as a gay artist.

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The tone of the show varies wildly. One minute, you’ll feel goosebumps as a deranged Wizard sings, “Pay no attention/To the man behind the curtain/He’s a brainless, heartless coward.” The next, you’ll be dancing with drag queens to electronica: “Hello, I’m rich, nice to meet ya/I got a new friend and his name Mr. Visa.”

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This creative show will keep you on your toes, and is hilarious from opening to closing curtain.

Where to watch it: Online for free on Todrick’s official YouTube channel. Or see it live in Los Angeles in September.


3. Liberty’s Secret

What if Sarah Palin realized she were a lesbian? Then she’d star in Liberty’s Secret. Liberty, the running mate to a floundering conservative presidential candidate, is an all-American girl. She could not be more American unless she were born on the fourth of July.

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But then she falls for her female spin doctor…

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Love wins.” But will Liberty’s political campaign?

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Where to watch it: This show premieres Sept 22 in Ann Arbor, Michigan at Michigan Theatre.


4. Were the World Mine

Since scholars debate Shakespeare’s possible bi- or homosexuality, you’d think his plays would have more LGBTQ characters – Were the World Mine, a gay retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, fills that gap. It tells the tale of Timothy, a small town gay teen who uses a potion to win the heart of his rugby jock crush.

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The show doesn’t necessarily tread any new territory, but with songs like “Dodgeball Daydream,” it’s a fun romp through a fantastical world.

Where to watch it: Rent it from Vimeo for $3.99.


5. Fun Home

Okay, so Fun Home won Best Tony in 2015, so it’s not exactly underground. However, it’s so good that it can’t not be on this list. When you see it, you’ll know why. This comic book-turned-Broadway musical features an astounding cast, a heart-wrenching score and relatable lyrics – “I’m changing my major to Joanne,” sings Allison the protagonist, after kissing her first girl in college.

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This show tells Allison’s coming-out story parallel to her father’s. Her father remained a closeted gay man for his entire life, and eventually committed suicide. The show’s title, short for Funeral Home, seems eerily fitting. This is a show of family, of grief and, most of all, of acceptance.

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Where to watch it: On Broadway eight times a week until mid-September, and on a national tour starting October 2016.

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Author
J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer--dreams she's now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She's passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment's notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

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