Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s “Unbreakable”

"Unbreakable" pays tribute to key LGBTQ figures throughout 20th-century America, honoring "the perseverance of people who would not be defeated."

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC: Unbreakable
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC

Promoted as “a musical about queer history,” Unbreakable pays tribute to key LGBTQ+ figures throughout 20th-century America, honoring “the perseverance and power of people who would not be defeated and could not be broken,” to quote the official release.

Next weekend, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington presents the East Coast premiere of the epic choral work from Andrew Lippa, which comes nearly a decade after his I Am Harvey Milk, another epic choral work that paid tribute to the titular trailblazing LGBTQ politician and gay martyr from San Francisco, originally commissioned by a collective of seven gay choruses from all over the U.S. (Lippa is also known for his Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning work as a musical composer and lyricist for The Addams Family and The Wild Party.)

In addition to the full chorus, the Unbreakable premiere will feature two lauded soprano soloists, the Helen Hayes Award-winning vocal dynamo Nova Y. Payton (Signature Theatre’s Hairspray, Ford’s Theatre’s Ragtime), and in-demand local classical and chamber soloist Amy Broadbent of the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters. Dance routines and period costumes will be used to further enhance Lippa’s work.

The approximately 75-minute show, which will be performed without an intermission, incorporates different music genres and covers multiple eras for a century-spanning survey of seminal LGBTQ figures and events, ranging from Harvard’s “Secret Court” of 1920, to the mid-century federal persecution of gays known as “The Lavender Scare,” to the AIDS epidemic, and from the largely unheralded civil rights mastermind Bayard Rustin, to Stonewall-era trans-Latina activist Sylvia Rivera, to turn-of-the-century social reformer Jane Addams, a founder of sociology and social work and the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Saturday, June 4, at 3 and 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW.

Tickets are $25 to $65.

Call 202-293-1548 or visit

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