As of yesterday, I am 27 days shy of (finally) turning 21, that magical age when I will legally be allowed to go to all the clubs, bars, and major parties of the gay world. However, my boyfriend was determined to not allow those measly 27 to deter us from having a little fun while in NYC.
One of the only perks of living in suburban Connecticut is the proximity to the city (as in Manhattan, the only urban city close by that is worthwhile and deserving of the vague nickname “the city”). So, on a whim, my boyfriend and I decided to drive to the city for some shopping, dinner, and a comedy show. However, the highlight of the night was a post-show trip to a gay bar in Greenwich Village.
He had told me about these bars before. I had heard about them. I even planned on going to some on my 21st birthday. But last night I was in for a surprise, I successfully got into one of the bars (does this mean I finally look 21? Probably not). My boyfriend, who knows me oh-so-well, decided to take me to Marie’s Crisis, a gay piano bar where everyone casually drinks and sings show tunes in all their gay glory.
Unsurprisingly, I was in heaven. Walking into a gay bar in itself felt awesome, it made me feel old (enough), legitimate, and cool. I felt like I had finally earned my gay rite of passage and was entering into a new world of gaydom…and I loved it right away.
After walking down the stairs I entered a small room with a ceiling covered in (classy) rainbow Christmas lights. Although this may sound tacky it is the perfect décor: gay, adorable, low-key, and fun. As soon as I entered the room I heard a (semi-intoxicated) throng of people (mostly gay men) belting out “Skid Row” and “Suddenly Seymour.” Although I did not even notice, I instinctively started singing along.
I just stood there for a moment, smiling, singing, drink in hand…just looking around. I was so happy. I was where I belonged. This was what I have wanted my whole life. Since I was about 7 I have been involved in singing, dancing, acting, piano, and musical theater. I grew up seeing Broadway shows, taking classes, and performing in community theaters and school programs. Musical theater has always been part of my life. For as long as I can remember I have always had a group of friends that were my “theater friends” and when we got together, we sang show tunes. I’ve been playing piano for that past 16 years, and whenever these friends and I were around a piano, I’d bang out any show tune I knew and we would all belt our hearts out. Whether it was at my house, at school during study hall, at a rehearsal, at a restaurant, or on the bus, my friends and I often end up singing show tunes. Singing Broadway songs around a piano is a pastime very familiar to me and is very dear to my heart.
So obviously, Marie’s Crisis was everything I’ve ever wanted out of a gay bar. My boyfriend and I drank, sat at the literal piano bar, and sang with other gays some amazing show tunes, including “Magic to Do” and “My Corner of the Sky” from Pippin, “Till There was You” and “76 Trombones” from The Music Man, and “We Are What We Are” from La Cage aux Folles. My experience there was, in a word, magical. It made me feel so at home. It was a door into a community, a world, and a culture that I’ve been waiting to join all my life. Now that I have finally entered the amazing, twinkling, belt-tastic world of Broadway gays I have found my corner of the sky, and I cannot wait to go back.