Cox Appeal

Deborah Cox's musical pursuits continue to have significant gay appeal

For the record, Deborah Cox does not think she’s a gay man trapped in a straight woman’s body.

”I’ve never looked at myself like that,” Cox laughs. ”I really don’t know what the connection is with me and the gays. I know the songs that I sing for some reason have resonated with [LGBT fans], and helped them to either change their life or come out and be who they really are.”

Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox

(Photo by courtesy Kennedy Center)

Actually, it’s not just the powerhouse singer’s empowering dance anthems over the past decade or so, or her regular presence supporting gay pride and gay-related causes. It’s that her musical pursuits line up nicely with gay interests, too. For example, Cox is now back working in musical theater. After a stint in Broadway’s Aida a decade ago, Cox is set for the Great White Way again next year, starring in a revival of Jekyll & Hyde by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse. The show stops for a short, pre-Broadway run at the Kennedy Center over Thanksgiving.

”[The show] is something that can resonate with [gays],” Cox says, ”because I think in many ways we’re all sort of living a facade at some point, when we try to hide or try to be something that we’re not.”

Cox plays Lucy, ”a very sexy, sultry, provocative woman” – a prostitute who falls for Jekyll, played by Constantine Maroulis, the American Idol finalist and Tony-nominated star of Rock of Ages. ”To be playing a part that’s so overtly sexy is kind of liberating,” Cox adds. Furthering its gay appeal: Her big number in the show is a fun, rousing tune called ”Bring On The Men.”

In fact Jekyll & Hyde isn’t the only Broadway-bound musical in the works for Cox. A musical starring Cox as Josephine Baker, in development for a few years, is expected on Broadway in 2014.

Obviously, Cox has a full plate – which also includes raising three toddlers with her husband and manager. ”I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I get really bored quickly,” says Cox. ”I like to keep it moving and keep it interesting.”

Jekyll & Hyde runs from Tuesday, Nov. 20, to Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $25 to $115. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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