When I was going to theatre school New York in the 70s, I’d go to gay bars on the weekend and more often than not there’d be an older guy or two at a table or at the end of the bar telling tales to a big group of starry-eyed kids. (I’ll note that when you’re in your early 20s, all guys 40 and up are “older.”) Those cool storytellers were referred to—affectionately, if not lovingly—as show queens.
Show queens knew the lay of the Broadway landscape. As dance captains, stage managers, costumers, and publicists, they were working in the business, and seemed to have an endless supply of stories about the stars who worked on the Great White Way. In bar parlance, when they were telling stories, they were “holding court.”
These theatre storytellers all had a few things in common—they had a twinkles in their eyes, great smiles, and infectious laughter.
I was reminded of all of that last week when I discovered Gary Gunas and Billy Rosenfield and their website, Old Show Queens.
Gary and Billy have been together for 42 years are both celebrated Broadway veterans. Gary, a producer/general manager, and Billy, a recording executive/playwright, are currently regaling visitors with stories about the shows and people they’ve been involved with over the course of their long careers and life together. And, it”s an absolute joy to watch them. I’m certain you’ll agree. Here’s a sample: