It's funny because every time I think of this show, I think about when I flew up to Seattle to see the out of town preview for Hairspray, and I was talking to Marc Shaiman and Trey walked up and talking to us. So, I had Trey sign my Hairspray poster and made him draw a South Park character with a big 1950s bouffant hairdo, and Marc Shaiman told him that they got that job because of working on the South Park movie. But Trey was still like, but why am I signing a poster? I didn't write a Broadway show. And Marc just told him, "Oh, you will someday..."
And Trey just looked at him like, 'You're absolutely out of your mind...' And now here we are.
That's crazy, what a great story.
And it seems like the nature of your show and your character's story seem to dovetail nicely as far as an 'It Gets Better' message?
Absolutely. It's huge for this character. By the end, this show isn't about coming out of the closet, but it's definitely about being Ok with yourself, finding acceptance and finding acceptance within faith. So it's certainly a bold statement to say 'It can get better even within your church,' that 'It can get better and you can still believe in what you believe in.'
For me, that means stop praying for God to change you and start accepting how God made you. And while that is not exactly what is said in our show, at least in terms of being gay, it is what is said about all the characters, about accepting people for who they are and inspiring hope instead of hate or fear.
And through my group Broadway Impact, most of the outreach we've done through that, it's a pleasure to be able to be working on something that has such a positive character for the gay community, and a comedic character for the gay community, and to have Broadway Impact that really does come from the Broadway community. It is really so active in making it get better for bringing marriage equality about, and that is a huge passion for the Broadway community, and I see them acting on that passion every day.
Was there ever a moment professionally where you decided to stay professionally closeted until you tested the waters?
No, that was never a concern for me. It's not like 'No, I wasn't afraid.' I just didn't think about it. The only thing that I can say is that being in the closet was such an awful thing for me, I hated it, so I never wanted to go back to that place in any way, shape, or form.
I don't see any need for it. I don't see any job that's worth it. And I feel that to be an actor, you have to give up a lot. There's a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard work, and trying to hide who I am for fear of some bigoted person in this industry is just not going to be one of those things that I give up, my sense of self.
And there are romantic leading men out there, and for them it is more difficult decision. I respect everyone's decision about coming out, because it's a personal decision. It's a journey. Just like everyone faith is a journey and you can't judge people for their faith, you can only judge people who perpetuate hate.
I think the same can be said about coming out. And for me it was a no-brainer. I started a marriage equality organization, so you're not going to get too far in the closet if you do that! (laughs)