As loathe as I am to admit my love for any musical ever, I must admit that Harvey Fierstein's pet project, a YouTube musical that pokes fun at Russia's anti-gay laws, was pretty darn on point. I laughed as I recognized Michael Urie, Johnathan Groff, Fierstein, and countless other Broadway talents. After all, what was not to love about a video that features Michael Urie talking about touching up a woman's boobs, and pretty much everyone on Broadway in large fuzzy hats?
Much like Marc Shaiman's "Prop 8" musical, this collection of original songs and bright stars was put together off the cuff to protest the absurdity of anti-gay laws, and the devastating effect the law would have on Russian Broadway, or as they call it, "The Great Red Way." The unusually long twelve minute mini-musical has lyrics such as "glitter and be sexually conventional," which will immediately and forever win my heart.
However, as I watched I couldn't help but feel that my laughter was almost canned, expected, as I was right in the sweet spot of the niche-audience that would be amused by this type of thing. I'm a liberal New Yorker, incidentally with a gay brother who studies Russian, so the subject matter was close to home to begin with. Add that to song-and-dance numbers in a play called "Love and Punishment," (like Crime and Punishment! Get it? AHAHAHAH RUSSIAN LITERATURE JOKES ARE SO GREAT).
I stand with all the oppressed Russians who are having their basic human rights stolen by Putin's ludicrous laws: Gay rights are absolutely non-negotiable to me, so yes, when I see Broadway stars doing jazz hands in winter hats in the name of raising awareness, I laugh and toast to their bravery. But the ideal audience for this would be the population of Russia, and if this isn't meant to be watchable by Russians, and really only makes an obvious appeal to American fans of Broadway, isn't it already preaching to the converted?