'Glee' tour embroiled in gay/straight debate
Article about openly gay actors 'playing straight' sparks creator to call for Newsweek boycott
While the young stars of Fox's 2009 breakout hit "Glee" prepare to open the "Glee Live! In Concert" tour with a two-night stand at Phoenix's Dodge Theatre this weekend, show creator Ryan Murphy published an open letter calling for a boycott of Newsweek magazine Wednesday on EW.com.
Murphy joins "Glee" guest star and Broadway veteran Kristin Chenoweth in responding to an article Newsweek published Friday on its website.
In "Straight Jacket," writer Ramin Setoodeh argued that Chenoweth's current Broadway hit, a revival of musical "Promises, Promises" ultimately fails artistically because co-star Sean Hayes, who most famously played Jack on "Will and Grace," "comes off as wooden and insincere, like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is."
Setoodeh called the casting decision "the big pink elephant in the room." He then proceeded to discuss another openly gay actor being cast in a heterosexual role, Broadway star Jonathan Groff's recent turn as star Lea Michele's love interest on "Glee."
Chenoweth responded to the article with a scathing comment, calling the article "horrendously homophobic," and reminding its author that Hayes was nominated for Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Tony awards for his performance. She pulled no punches: "This article offends me because I am a human being, a woman and a Christian."
In a response posted Monday, Setoodeh defended his piece, declaring that he was merely a messenger, and not "a conservative writer with an antigay agenda." He pointed to the coded ways in which such discussions were being held in other publications. "The point of my essay," he wrote, "was not to disparage my own community, but to examine an issue that is being swept under the rug."
Murphy's announcement Wednesday takes an even more vehement stance than Chenoweth, not only against the article but against the editors of Newsweek and the magazine itself:
But what is the most shocking of all is that Newsweek went ahead and published such a blatantly homophobic article in the first place…and has remained silent in the face of ongoing (and justified) criticism. Would the magazine have published an article where the author makes a thesis statement that minority actors should only be allowed and encouraged to play domestics?
Newsweek is in the process of being sold by the Washington Post. Rumored possible buyers include Politico and Thomson Reuters.
"Glee" premiered in 2009 and was an instant critics' darling and cult favorite. The show has received many awards, among them a Golden Globe for Best Comedy for Musical Television Series. Its talented young stars have sold millions of downloads for their renditions of Broadway classics, current hits and classic rock. Their four-city tour ends with a three-night stand at New York's Radio City Music Hall.