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I See Promises, Promises and Decide the Newsweek Writer is an Idiot

Sean_Hayes Last week newspapers, television, and pop culture at large was all up in arms over Ramin Setoodeh's opinion that openly gay Sean Hayes should not be playing a straight man in the new Broadway musical Promises, Promises. I saw the show this weekend. He's wrong.

The article caused quite a stir.   Besides insulting Sean Hayes, he also insulted Jonathon Groff, another openly gay actor playing a straight man, who plays Jesse on Glee.  He also implied NO GAY MEN CAN PLAY STRAIGHT CHARACTERS. Kristin Chenoworth, who is in both Glee and Promises, Promises issued a scathing response. And the original author responded with this statement: We, the public, weren't getting it. He's gay. He's not homophobic. And then Newsweek issued the best statement ever. "Hey we love Glee!" (Sound a little bit like "all our friends are black?")

Newsweek is loving this. 4 people read Newsweek last year probably, in total. This scandal probably tripled their subscription rate. The Glee producers invited the Newsweek staff down for a taping. If I insult Glee will they invite me?

Saturday night I saw Promises, Promises. The theater was all a buzz with the scandal. "Will Sean Hayes performance be different?" people whispered.  "Will the pressure crack him?" Tony voters were in the audience because it is Tony season and Sean Hayes had been nominated (which clearly demonstrates how bad his performance is.) He was the first person on stage and the applause began before the curtain went up. Maybe that happened before the scandal. But the audience was clearly on his side.


In my opinion, Sean Hayes was completely believable as a straight man. The problem is, it is not a good show. Is that his fault?  No. Also, it is hard to see him as anything other than JUST JACK! It is also hard to see Debra Messing as anything but Grace and Jennifer Aniston as anything other than Rachel.  That is what happens what you play one character for a long period of time.  Remember when Neil Patrick Harris couldn't get a job because he was Doogie Howser?  Now he is an openly gay man playing a womanizing schmuck.  Believably.  

The Newsweek writer clearly has his own issues and his own axe to grind. The article he wrote was damaging to an entire community. A community that is already discriminated against in a profound and prolific way. A community he is a member of. Sean Hayes is a perfectly fine actor. I had no idea he had such a good voice, had such a commanding use of physical comedy, or could command a Broadway stage. The issue with Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises is the material he was given, not his sexuality.

I also did not know Jonathon Groff was gay until I read the article.  But I'm pulling for Finn in that love triangle anyway

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Had I not read that the other day about the actor who plays Finn I would have had NO IDEA. I thought he came off as the perfect mix of high school bravado and worry... I just can't get behind what Ramin wrote


Natalie, do you mean Finn or Jesse? Groff plays Jesse, and he is out from everything I have read. But Cory Monteith plays Finn, and I have not seen anything about him being gay, not that it matters, just wondering. He plays a stupid, hormonal, teenage boy wonderfully either way.


NPH is the perfect example of gay, straight, whatever, it's people playing a character. (Of course the counterargument to THAT is that Barney is so over-the-top that it's not really playing a straight guy, but rather a cad in his own category.)

Hurrah to your post.

Sarah Lena

Straight men, imho, can be intimidated about homosexual men convincingly playing straight men. Because then their squash partner or guy that they meet at the bar or friend who they have down-low relations with might ALSO be gay AND THEY WOULD NEVER KNOW.

I'm so upset about this crap.


Aaron Sorkin wrote an AWESOME piece on the Huffpo arguing that the true argument should be not whether people play "gay" or "straight", but whether they can be convincingly "masculine" or "feminine". He argues that you shouldn't be able to just look at an actor playing a role and see GAY or or HETERO, but the characteristics that the actor is projecting. And even by that definition, there are a helluva lot of brilliant actors who are letting you see only what they want you to see, whether they are on stage, on tv, in the military or living down the street from you.


I'm so all up in arms over this. It's called ACTING. Saying a gay or straight person can't play a convincing straight or gay (respectively) person is like saying a cantelope can't be a pumpkin. In other words: You sound like an idiot saying it. Shut up, Newsweek Guy (I'm so mad, I can't be bothered to scroll up and get his real name straight. HA! Straight.)!

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