Which gay theatre people have made the Who’s Who of world power gays this year?
The World Pride Power List 2014, produced bu Square Peg Media, was published in the Guardian this Saturday, 28 June 2014.
The list of the 100 of the most influential gay people on the planet (well, mainly the UK and USA) was published in time for London’s Pride celebrations last weekend.
We’ve taken the list and shaken out the most influential people in theatre today to get a snapshot of who’s making waves, and who is missing from the list.
Our top shock is that Sir Cameron Mackintosh is nowhere to be seen, despite being one of the richest (worth over a billion pounds) and most successful (Miss Saigon, Phantom, Les Mis…) theatre producers and owners in the world. And he has recently announced that he is to name his fourth West End theatre after a prominent gay man (he has already renamed West End theatres after John Gielgud, Noel Coward and Ivor Novello, and plans to rename the Ambassadors Theatre after Stephen Sondheim).
It also seems insane that Jerry Mitchell is nowhere to be seen. Instrumental in creating the Broadway Bares charity event raising money for HIV and AIDS, and sister event West End Bares, the choreographer and theatre director is responsible for a succession of big hits including current West End show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, massive Broadway smash Kinky Boots, and past glories including Legally Blonde and Hairspray.
We also think that John Tiffany might have got a mention given that he has directed one of Broadway and the West End’s biggest current shows – ONCE The Musical, and has Let The Right One In playing at the Apollo. Kinky Boots’ Billy Porter, choreographer and dancer Chris Wheeldon and David Hallberg, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike writer Christopher Durang, Cinderella and The Little Dog Laughed writer Douglas Carter Beane, Buyer and Cellar writer Jonathan Tolins, Wicked director Joe Mantello, Broadway and movie actor Victor Garber, director and choreographer Rob Ashford, choreographer Matthew Bourne and musicals supremo Stephen Sondheim also seem like omissions.
But enough of our griping – here’s the list!
World Pride Power List 2014 – Theatre People
1. Stephen Fry, polymath and TV Presenter (overall World Pride Power List rank of 4)
The extraordinarily busy writer, presenter and actor has had a slightly chequered history with the stage. He was theatrically most famous for the show he didn’t quite make, leaving a production of Simon Gray’s Cell Mates one cast member down. But that is behind him and in the last few years he has mended bridges in the acting world by throwing himself in to a number of stage projects. The highlight has been his recent part as Malvolio in Mark Rylance’s production of Twelfth Night, which started at Shakespeare’s Globe, moved to the West End’s Apollo Theatre and ended on Broadway with Fry getting a Tony nomination for his performance. We hope more West End presence from Fry over the next year (even if the much gossiped-about production of The Importance of Being Earnest with him playing Lady Bracknell turned out to be red herring).
2. Sir Ian McKellen, actor (5)
Lest we forget that Ian McKellen is a stage actor first and foremost, and a super-hero second, he has taken to the London and New York stages in recent years with fellow thespian Patrick Steward to play Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The pair added in Pinter’s No Man’s Land for good measure on Broadway – something we hope they will bring back to London. Rumours of more West End work remain just that at the moment, but we live in hope.
3. Elton John, musician (9)
The pop star still finds time within his hectic touring calendar to write the odd musical, with Disney’s The Lion King and Billy Elliot The Musical both still going strong in the West End. There’s no further news about his planned biopic Rocketman – a movie musical about his early life, through his film company Rocket Pictures, which could also make the move to the stage.
4. Jane Lynch, actor (12)
The Glee star added to her numerous theatre credits last year by playing Miss Hannigan in Annie on Broadway. Expect more stage work to follow.
5. Neil Patrick Harris, actor (29)
Winner of this year’s Tony Award for Best actor in a musical for his extraordinary performance in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Neil Patrick Harris has reminded us all that he doesn’t just present Tony Awards, he sometimes wins them. It is a relief that the How I Met Your Mother TV star has carved out some stage time, and even though he leaves Hedwig on 17 August, we hope more theatre projects follow. And if you get the chance, watch the DVD of him playing Bobby in Company – it shows you how great he can be.
6. Stella Duffy, writer and performer (38)
Theatremaker Stella Duffy continues to write, direct and perform for the stage including her performance work with Improbable and Spontaneous Combustion, and her play writing which includes The Book of Ruth (and Naomi) staged at the Bush in 2011 under Josie Rourke. She directed Murder, Marple and Me for the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh in 2012 and on a 2013 tour.
7. Zachary Quinto, actor, film producer (43)
Quinto may be most famous for movie roles including Star Trek, but his 2013 performance as Tom Wingfield in the American Repertory Theatre’s production of The Glass Menagerie, and subsequent Broadway transfer, proved a stage sensation. The show was nominated for 7 Tony Awards, and was directed by John Tiffany (see above!)
8. Russell Tovey, actor (46)
More driven by TV and film these days, it was great to see Tovey back on stage (albeit a tiny one) in John Donnelly’s The Pass at The Royal Court theatre upstairs last year, playing a gay premiere league footballer. Directed by John Tiffany (see above, again!), it’s a shame the play didn’t transfer to a larger theatre. That must primarily be due to his schedule, with current projects including new Jimmy McGovern drama Banished about British convicts in Australia in the 18th century.
9. Sophie Ward, actor (47)
Daughter of West End stalwart Simon Ward, Sophie has had a 40-year-long career in theatre and on screen. In 1996 she was one of the first mainstream female actors to come out as lesbian.
10. Craig Revel Horwood, TV personality (87)
It’s slightly ungenerous of the List people to bill Revel Horwood as a “TV personality” as it’s as a choreographer and director that he really shines. Despite a slightly odd cameo on Channel 4 musical doco The Sound of Musicals, where he swished in to Amy Anzel’s Happy Days Musical as director and then swished out again, Craig Revel Horwood has forged a major stage career alongside his Strictly Come Dancing duties. His musical revivals include Chess and Sunset Boulevard.
11. Cynthia Nixon, actor (90)
In a post-Sex and the City world, Cynthia Nixon has covered off numerous TV, movie and stage projects. Not least was her 2012 Tony nominated performance in Wit on Broadway and 2006 win for Rabbit Hole – a play that is being revived in London this year.
12. Jonathan Harvey, writer (92)
Jonathan Harvey may spend most of his time writing for Coronation Street, but he will also always be the man that wrote Beautiful Thing, possibly one of the greatest gay coming out stories ever written. The show celebrated its 20th anniversary last year with a production that starred Suranne Jones. With other credits including Pet Shop Boys musical Closer To Heaven, we would like to see him have another stab at a musical.