I saw Falsettos on my second-ever trip to Broadway, the summer before I started high school. I don’t know that there’s ever been another show — or ever will be — that spoke so directly to me.
I had just returned from a six-and-a-half-week cross-country summer trip with USY on Wheels, a Jewish summer program that combined seeing the country with learning about religious Jewish living. For the first time in my life, I was starting to really grapple with what being Jewish meant to me. I was also 14, with all that entails.
Something about seeing Will Finn work out his own sexuality in such a Jewish milieu helped something click in my brain. Although I still had a lot of coming out to do, I more or less knew where I stood with regards to my sexuality. But I could work out my Judaism in a homosexual milieu. And, well, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last twenty years.
This coming Saturday I’m going to be the guest speaker at Pride Shabbat at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, MA. If you’re local, come hear me tell this story and more as I talk about “what’s Jewish about gay pride.”