A Newsweek writer has a problem with openly gay actor Sean Hayes‘ portrayal of a heterosexual man in the Broadway play, “Promises, Promises.” Despite the fact that Hayes has been nominated for a Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and a Tony for his performance, the Newsweek writer finds Hayes impossible to believe as a straight man.
In fact, the recent Newsweek article raises the question about whether any gay men can ever convincingly play straight, Neil Patrick Harris notwithstanding.
Kristin Chenoweth, Hayes’ costar and love interest in “Promises, Promises” has her own problem — with Newsweek’s article.
]]>comments about the critical article titled “Straight Jacket: Heterosexual actors play gay all the time. Why doesn’t it ever work in reverse?” written by Ramin Setoodeh, is gaining a lot of support from equally outraged readers on the Newsweek website. Here’s Kristin’s full comment:
I’d normally keep silent on such matters and write such small-minded viewpoints off as perhaps a blip in common sense. But the offense I take to this article, and your decision to publish it, is not really even related to my profession or my work with Hayes or Jonathan Groff (also singled out in the article as too ‘queeny’ to play ‘straight.’)
This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian. For example, there was a time when Jewish actors had to change their names because anti-Semites thought no Jew could convincingly play Gentile. Setoodeh even goes so far as to justify his knee-jerk homophobic reaction to gay actors by accepting and endorsing that ‘as viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker room torture in junior high school.’ Really? We want to maintain and proliferate the same kind of bullying that makes children cry and in some recent cases have even taken their own lives? That’s so sad, Newsweek! The examples he provides (what scientists call ‘selection bias’) to prove his ‘gays can’t play straight’ hypothesis are sloppy in my opinion. Come on now! Openly gay Groff is too ‘queeny’ to play Lea Michelle’s [sic] boyfriend in GLEE, but is a ‘heartthrob’ when he does it in Spring Awakening? Cynthia Nixon only ‘got away with it’ ’cause she peaked before coming out? I don’t know if you’ve missed the giant Sex and the City movie posters, but it seems most of America is ‘buying it.’ I could go on, but I assume these will be taken care of in your ‘Corrections’ this week.
Similarly, thousands of people have traveled from all over the world to enjoy Hayes’ performance and don’t seem to have one single issue with his sexuality! They have no problem buying him as a love-torn heterosexual man. Audiences aren’t giving a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.
Lastly, as someone who’s been proudly advocating for equal rights and supporting GLBT causes for as long as I can remember, I know how much it means to young people struggling with their sexuality to see out & proud actors like Sean Hayes, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon succeeding in their work without having to keep their sexuality a secret. No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams. I am told on good authority that Mr. Setoodeh is a gay man himself and I would hope, as the author of this article, he would at least understand that. I encourage Newsweek to embrace stories which promote acceptance, love, unity and singing and dancing for all!”
What do you think? Is Kristin right? Or do you agree with the Newsweek writer? Follow Zap2it on Twitter on Twitter and Zap2it on Facebook for the latest celebrity news and buzz. More dish: GLAAD supports Chely Wright’s coming out
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