Hot Story: Marc Shaiman on Equality, Facebook, Daily News HAIRSPRAY

Broadway World
Hot Story: Marc Shaiman on Equality, Facebook, Daily News HAIRSPRAY Story & More!
July 6, 2015

7-6-2015 12-33-46 PM

As BWW reported earlier today, Tony winning composer Marc Shaiman used Facebook to ‘unfriend’ actress and longtime friend Charlotte Crossley Fortier, who portrayed Motormouth Maybell in the Broadway production of HAIRSPRAY, following her recent disapproval on social media of a marriage between two mutual male friends. (Read story here)

Referencing the moving song ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ from the show, but leaving out Fortier’s name, Shaiman posted, “How sad that she sang that song so beautifully and yet never listened to what she was singing. I hope she continues to sing it and always remembers it was written by two gay men [Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman] who love each other.”

Today, The New York Daily News featured an article on Shaiman’s remarks and shared Fortier’s response to him in an email she had written. Following the article, Marc Shaimanposted the following comments on his official Facebook page:

Ugh, I am not happy that The Daily News wrote an article about the Facebook postings by me and my good old former friend regarding her position on gay marriage. I want to say that I did not, in any way, court this reporter. My constant anything-but-humble-humblebragging here on Facebook makes it clear that I get my name online and in the papers quite enough, I don’t need to – and didn’t – go looking for some extra publicity!

Ah well, just another lesson to be learned that when we post online, we aren’t just laughing or crying or shouting out to our little communities, it might get read by any and everyone. In this case, although I pleaded with the reporter that this should remain a personal story (albeit one I won’t shut up about on Facebook, clearly!), The Daily News felt this was “an entertainment story that’s particularly topical right now” and I have to admit, I understand that. But on the other hand, although I am an egomaniac, I really don’t think my Facebook posts are newsworthy! Fabulous maybe, but newsworthy? And if you’re gonna write about my Facebook posts…gimme the front page!

I did my best to never name her (but gave enough clues that it’s probably bullshit for me to make that claim), and I wish they hadn’t named her, but I don’t regret speaking of how the loss of this particular friend was a sad consequence of the SCOTUS ruling. And I’m no fool, I know there are MANY, MANY like her around us all. Much less loving than she.

I read and hear some people saying “you have to give people time to come around to all this, it’s all so very new” and on the one hand, I get that. On the other hand…gay people have been BULLIED, SHUNNED, BEATEN, TORTURED and MURDERED for THOUSANDS of years just for BEING BORN different from the majority. We in America have finally been given a true blessing with the SCOTUS ruling, and so a bunch of folks like me are finding strength in this and saying “Um, you’ve had a few THOUSAND years to understand this…TIME’S UP, GET OVER IT!”. Cause when it comes to me being treated as less then equal just because I was born liking boys and 16 Magazine, I am simply done. And just be thankful I came of age in the 70’s cause if I was a teenager NOW with Channing Tatum out there vogueing on my Facebook page, I’d be redefining gayness for a generation!

Then there’s that old standby “Oh look, those asking for tolerance are being intolerant of other people’s views”. No, I am intolerant of something people have been TAUGHT as opposed to those who are being intolerant of THE WAY I WAS BORN. I think there’s a difference. And by the way, I don’t WANT to be “tolerated”! I did a play in Jr. High about society where we all played dogs (I wish YouTube existed back then!) and I had a line that went something like “I’d rather be hated than tolerated, I’d rather be despised then patronized”. I’ve never forgotten it!

So PLEASE, go ahead and shout your views to the high heavens (no pun intended), no one is asking you not to, it is important to know who you are!

I’d rather people just went “Ewww!” cause that’s really what it’s all about. Putting the concept of love aside for a moment (something Jesus never did), and turning to sex, something either turns you on or doesn’t, and what turns on a lot of people simply makes other people go “Ewww!”, it’s just natural (especially if you’re 10 years old) to have that response, I get it. And so, a few thousand years ago, a bunch of Old Jews (hell, it’s even called The Old Testament), armed with dramatic words like “abomination”, sat on a hill and made up all sorts of rules about what made them go “Ewww!”. It must have looked like the biblical-times version of the writer’s room at “The Dick Van Dyke” show. I just wish they had been even half as funny, although the passages about wives as slaves, two kinds of garments and shrimp are pretty hysterical. Personally, I find The Golden Rule takes care of everything that is important. And oh, by the way…I bet at least two of those old Jews were closet queens.

So, ok, I understand that there are millions of people who have trouble with this, from generations of being taught what they’ve been taught. I just know that no matter who they have been to me in my life, I will not “agree to disagree” with ANYONE about the fact that I am equal to everyone else on God’s green earth. Equally a jerk, equally a sweetheart and equally able and allowed to love.

x Marc

Marc Shaiman has earned five Academy Award nominations, a Tony Award and a Grammy Award for his work on the musical Hairspray, and an Emmy Award for co-writing Billy Crystal‘s Academy Award hosting performances. Along with partner Scott Wittman, he composed music for Broadway’s CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and NBC’s SMASH.

His film credits include Broadcast News, Beaches, When Harry Met Sally…, City Slickers, The Addams Family, SisterAct, Sleepless In Seattle, A Few Good Men, The American President, The First Wives Club, George of the Jungle, In & Out, Patch Adams, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Team America: World Police and HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon, and 61*.

He frequently works on films by Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, and Trey Parker, and has also appeared on screen in many of these films. He also wrote the viral media sensation PROP 8 THE MUSICAL which became a massive hit on and received a live Broadway premiere on Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at the Gershwin Theatre as a special part of the “Defying Inequality- The Broadway Concert, A Celebrity Benefit for Equal Rights.

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One thought on “Hot Story: Marc Shaiman on Equality, Facebook, Daily News HAIRSPRAY

  1. Thank you Marc, very well said. I find this former Harlette’s attitude sad. She was one of my favorite Harlette’s, but no more. So sad.

    Ms. Jenifer Lewis joined the Celebration on that wonderful Friday in West Hollywood singing this same song. Thank you Jenifer!!!

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