GMCLA’s Latest, ‘Bette, Babs & Beyoncé,’ Showcases the Gay Community’s Favorite Chanteuses

Frontier Media
GMCLA’s Latest Concert Showcases the Gay Community’s Favorite Chanteuses
‘Bette, Babs & Beyoncé,’ GMCLA’s 37th spring concert, spotlights the oeuvres of Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and Beyoncé, among a slew of other songstresses


The Gay Men’s Chorus Los Angeles is getting girly. This April in Glendale’s Alex Theater, Bette, Babs & Beyoncé, GMCLA’s 37th spring concert, spotlights the oeuvres of Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and Beyoncé, among a slew of other songstresses.

“GMCLA wanted to create a concert that celebrates our favorite pop divas, from Garland to Gaga, Minnelli to Madonna, Aretha to Adele,” says GMCLA Artistic Director Joe Nadeau. “Growing up as gay men, if you could capture the soundtrack of our lives, you would find a list of songs from pop divas. Their music resonates with our life experiences–falling in love, breaking up, struggling to find our place in the world, friendships and family, overcoming obstacles, owning our uniqueness and individuality, celebrating our successes.”

The parallel trajectories of the LGBT community and these superstars form the spine of GMCLA’s concert. Spanning eight decades of popular music, Bette, Babs, & Beyoncé highlights the symbiotic relationship between gays and their diva idols. It’s widely acknowledged within gay culture that the death of Garland sparked the Stonewall Riots, igniting the modern LGBT rights movement. Since then, pop stars have been some of queer culture’s most vocal proponents. In fact, at one point The Advocate coronated Madonna as our “Greatest Gay Icon.“

“They’ve supported the LGBT community since the beginning,“ says Nadeau. “These female icons have been there for us, whether you’re talking about the death of Judy Garland, Bette Midler and her humble beginnings as ’Bathhouse Betty,’ Madonna pushing the envelope of LGBT equality or Lady Gaga cementing the idea that we are all ’born this way’–they’ve been there for us, and with this concert we pay tribute to this amazing music.”

The show’s concept was crystallized back in 2010 when GMCLA invoked the spirit of another dominant female force, Grammy winner and LGBT activist Cyndi Lauper by performing her iconic “True Colors“ in a music video for Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign. Their rendition quickly evolved into an anthem for the anti-bullying movement, and will be featured in this concert’s lineup.

GMCLA will break new artistic ground as well, with an cappella edition of Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy,“ performed by the entirety of the 250-plus-member chorus. The number resonates strongly with Nadeau, who anticipates it will make an impact with trans audience members: “In this song, Beyoncé tries to work out a difficult breakup by offering what she would do differently if she ’were a boy.’ By imagining herself as a different gender, this song takes on a deeper meaning in the LGBT community as we strive to honor and support the transgender community. It will be a remarkable moment in the concert.”

Bette, Babs & Beyoncé
Alex Theatre
April 9-10

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