While this won’t be a blog exclusively about lost musicals, this particular work has been bugging me for a while because it unsettles so many fixed ideas about narratives of musical theatre as a homogenous, heterosexual place. This is true if you concentrate only in certain locations of production – but not if you think a little bigger about the other kinds of places musical theatre happens.
The indefatigable resource that is Queer Music Heritage brought it to my attention: while I’d come across Gay Sweatshop Theatre in narratives of contemporary theatre practice I had never read anything about the women’s movement within it, or that there was even a slight hint of musicals being a thing that happened. While you can read lots of the lyrics and see amazing photos over on QMH – Sharon Nassauer and Angela Stewart Park’s musical celebrates not only the existence of lesbian love stories but also a sense of personal contentment.
The musical is at turns funny and deeply upsetting, it addresses the topic of loss and brutality towards women – of sexual and physical violence to be found in domestic bedrooms and outside of pubs. But the audacity to love oneself, to be oneself, and for that to be celebrated, is extraordinary:
I like me like this
I could almost give myself a kiss
This is very definitely bliss
That I like me like this