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The stereotype that if a man is gay, he must love theater, especially musical theater. He'll know every play worth knowing in a given season, will be familiar with every Broadway leading lady (living and dead), and owns the soundtracks to his favorite musicals that he sings with gusto. He'll religiously attend the plays in his hometown's biggest theater or theater district.
As one can imagine, this trope extends all around. If a man is a stage actor or is in any way employed by a theater company, or simply enjoys watching plays and/or listening to showtunes, questions of his sexuality will rise quickly. This can be a Pet Peeve Trope, though the degree of which varies. Most heterosexual stage actors and fans are secure enough that this sort of thing doesn't bother them (unless they're teenagers), but gay men who don't enjoy theater tend to chafe at being grouped with screaming queens who argue over whether Jennifer Holiday or Jennifer Hudson played a better Effie in Dreamgirls.
There is some element of Truth in Television, as a good portion of stage actors and fans are indeed gay, however this only really means that men who enjoy theater are more likely to be gay compared to other mediums, not so much that every gay person enjoys theater or every person who enjoys theater is gay.
See also Performance Artist, for gay men who perform theatre.
- Actually popped up in Samurai Champloo, of all places - a Dutch ambassador (or possibly just an important representative of a major Dutch trading-company) is maniacal about Noh Theatre - and after finding out that all the actors are male, he likes it even better. Turns out he's gay, and came to Japan to find a culture that was somewhat more open towards such thing.
- Noxeema from To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, has a love for musicals.
- Parodied viciously in Team America: World Police.
- In Philadelphia, Andrew Beckett loves Opera, and plays a particularly poignant number to get Joe Miller on his side.
- The Camp Gay theater director Corky in Waiting for Guffman.
- Brenden Fraser's character in the remake of Bedazzled when he is loudly denying he is gay (deal with the devil 4th wish), the guy he lives with gives him a quick quiz ending with "What was the original Broadway cast of Pillow Talk?" He names off 3-4 characters in as many seconds before catching himself "Oh crap, I AM gay!"
- Several characters on Glee: Kurt stands out the most, though Rachel's gay dads are stage queens as well, and are the reason for her talent and diva behavior.
- Maxxie from Skins is a variant of this, as he is more interested in dancing than theatre, but wants to try out for musicals in London. Otherwise fairly Straight Gay.
- Jack from Will and Grace
- Referenced in the first episode of Northern Exposure, when Maurice tells Joel about his love for musicals - "But I'm no fruit if that's what you're thinkin'."
- Played for laughs in The IT Crowd, which features a gay musical about gays called "Gay!".
- That's quite gay...
- To elaborate, Jen was quite into a certain guy, and everyone else was convinced he was gay. When he invited Jen to see a musical with him, this trope was discussed, only to Description Cut to "Gay! A Gay Musical"
- Occasionally invoked on Modern Family in respect to Cameron. Once Mitchell tells a story about having to sit on a plane sitting next to a crying baby... the revelation being that the "baby" was really Cam upset that he couldn't see Billy Elliot on Broadway.
- It's invoked quite frequently. "The Musical Man" in the second season has Cam directing Luke and Manny's school musical. In another episode, Mitchell says someone can't come to an event because they're in Chicago:
Cam: Oh really? What part is she playing?
- Referenced in the Doctor Who episode "Daleks in Manhattan", where a minor character uses "into musical theater" as a euphemistic suggestion for why the Doctor might not be interested in Martha.
And yo, I kinda like your natural scent (NO HOMO!)
- Mentioned when Bender uses his Gaydar to identify a prospective date for Leela as "coming from a planet that's big on musical theater".
- On "I Dated A Robot", the Educational Short shown to Fry argues that all of mankind's endeavours (Art, Politics, War) were attempts to impress members of the opposite sex... "and sometimes members of the same sex" (Drama).
- Subverted in the Larry 3000's case. While he is gay, he prefers sleazy novels to theater and strenuously tries to censor Shakespeare's plays because he considers them unsuitable for children.
- The Simpsons: In "Three Gays of the Condo," Homer's gay roommate informs him that "anyone who’s ever written, starred in, or even seen a play is gay."
- Infamously, one of the questions other soldiers asked of linguist Bleu Copas, who was discharged from the U.S. Army for being gay, was whether he was "involved in community theater."
- Comedian Russell Peters has a joke where his father asks if he knows some random gay people they saw on TV.
Russell: "Dad, why would you ask me that?"
- The producers of Monty Python spin-off musical Spamalot witnessed a hitherto un-heard of phenomenon in musical theatre. The one demographic that musical theatre had previously utterly failed to reach was now flocking in its droves, and buying bums-on-seats time to see Spamelot. Heterosexual men aged 18–40, a group so normally engrained in the belief that musicals were such a gay male art form that you could catch it just by walking past the stage door, were actually buying tickets. And coming back for repeat performances.