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Broadway's Queer Community Shines in Musical Album, Place & Time

by Ben Nelson 12 months ago in Identity
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The New Production from the Team Behind Award-Winning Show, TL;DR Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix

EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn

Musical theater is often called "so gay", and while EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn, the writing team behind the 2021 Richard Rodgers Award winning musical, TL;DR Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix, believe it to be true, they argue it's not very "queer."

Their new album, Place & Time, shines a spotlight on the under-represented segments of the LGBTQ+ community: theys, enbys and transgender and people of color.

“We are here too,” says Ms. Chary, a queer woman, “and like everyone else, we experience a range of feelings and circumstances that aren’t all centered on our trauma or our othe”

The album features an all-star cast of Broadway performersBroadway artists including Tituss Burgess, Amber Gray, Telly Leung, and Tony Award Winner Daisy Eagan, singing about emotions that all can relate to. Songs are fun, flirty, emotional and nostalgic; sung by characters who are revved-up, spiced-up and sometimes fed up.

Tituss Burgess in recording booth with Brandon James Gwinn

“We hope listeners will relate to the characters and maybe even see themselves reflected in the canon,” says Brandon James Gwinn. As a young gay man, Gwinn says he always had problems fitting neatly into the cis and straight culture at large. Today, he identifies as queer and gender fluid.

“There are a lot of us who don’t feel beholden to any one label or identity," continues Chary. "We exist on a spectrum. A big part of my coming out has been trying to decipher what part of the LGBTQ puzzle I fit into.”

Place & Time is a culmination of Ms. Chary and Mr. Gwinn’s musical and gender awakening. Developed over ten years of working together, songs are mostly queer-themed with emotional surges that are character and story driven. They include “Always Heard, Never Seen,” written from Ella’s own experience of being a woman in queer spaces dominated by cis white men and “Why I Chose,” about feeling somewhere in the middle between male and female, much like Brandon’s real-life story.

Tony Award winner Daisy Eagan sings "Gal Who Gets The Gig", a gender bending, feminist, musical theater charm song and Tony Nominee Amber Gray and Amy Jo Jackson (The Brass Menagerie, Company XIV) sing the album’s cover track, a lesbian love duet.

There are solid influences from folk and protest songs throughout the album, as well as pop-rock radio and 70s era tracks. Also featured on the album is “The Things I Don’t Say,” the first song Chary and Gwinn ever wrote together, sung by Telly Leung (Aladdin, Glee).

EllaRose Chary is represented by ICM Partners. Brandon James Gwinn is represented by WME. The writing duo are Dramatists Guild Fellows, Ars Nova Uncharted, and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat Triple R Residency alums and were recently featured in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's 33rd Festival of New Musicals. Their shows have been produced at City Center, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, Theatre C, The Tank, UArts’ Polyphone Festival, All For One Theater, Prospect Theater, and more. They created Tank-aret, a monthly cabaret series at The Tank featuring underrepresented artists. Their immersive, soundscape driven theatrical experience THE SÉANCE MACHINE was part of the Tank’s 2019 Obie-Award winning season.

Place & Time was recorded in New York City, at John Kilgore Sound and Recording, with engineers M.P. Kuo and Jabbath Roa and at MPK Recording and Teddy Kitty Studios. It is co-produced by Kimberly Hyacinthe.

EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn

The pair are working on a new musical called Queer. People. Time. Currently in development, it’s a time-travelling queer rom-com about queer history. "I believe musical theater has the capacity to change people and help them see the world beyond themselves and also see themselves more clearly," says Ms. Chary.

"We have many, many songs at this point and a flurry of ideas and even a handful of full length shows," adds Mr. Gwinn of his writing partnership with Chary. "The Richard Rodgers Award gave us a pat on the back as well as a light kick in the butt. I think we’re more energized to keep creating now, which means Place & Time is just the tip of the queer iceberg."



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Ben Nelson

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