Ten LGBTQ+ Plays for the Queer Performer

Written by Ryan Showland

July 23, 2019

Pride season may be over, but we have you covered. We have compiled a list of some of the best LGBTQ+ material for queer performers to add to your repertoire.

1. Neaptide by Sarah Daniels

This play was the first full-length written play by a female to be performed at the National Theatre. Neaptide by Sarah Daniels tells the story of a lesbian teacher and mother who defends two female students who will be expelled for their sexuality while battling her husband for custody of her daughter.

2. The Homosexuals by Philip Dawkins

The Homosexuals by Philip Dawkins moves backward through the life of Evan, a gay man from small-town Iowa, and his group of friends as they navigate life as chosen family.

3. Angels in America by Tony Kushner

A timeless classic, Angels in America by Tony Kushner (subtitled: “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes”) is a supernatural look at the AIDS epidemic and homosexuality in 1980s New York.

4. The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter

The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter tells the story of a six-hundred-pound recluse, Charlie, trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter and mending his broken heart after losing his partner to AIDS.

5. Stop Kiss by Diana Son

Best friends Sara and Callie are brutally attacked when they share their first kiss, putting Sara into a coma. Stop Kiss by Diana Son is a look at the different relationships in Sara’s life, and Callie doing her best to help when it all seems futile.

6. Charm by Philip Dawkins

Charm by Philip Dawkins follows Mama Darleena Andrews, an African-American transgender woman, as she teaches an etiquette class at an LGBTQ youth center.

7. Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet by Tarell Alvin McCraney

The third in his The Brother/Sister Plays, Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet by Tarell Alvin McCraney (of Moonlight fame) tells the story of a young teen named Marcus who has dreams and visions of his dead father. Throughout the play, Marcus explores his sexuality and finds that he and his father may not have been very different.

8. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

It wouldn’t be a complete list without a classic. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is probably the queerest of all his works. Viola is shipwrecked in Illyria and decides to dress as her twin brother Sebastian, who she believes was lost at sea. Hilarity ensues when Viola is caught in the middle of a love affair between Duke Orsino and Lady Olivia. Meanwhile, Sebastian is saved by a pirate named Antonio, who is debated to be Shakespeare’s only queer character.

9. Bent by Martin Sherman

Bent by Martin Sherman is a gruesome historical drama depicting the persecution of homosexuals by Nazis during the Holocaust.

Ryan is an actor, director, and theatre teaching artist originally hailing from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Vermont and an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College. Ryan is currently finishing his fourth year teaching Drama at Kinsella Magnet High School of Performing Arts in Hartford. ryanhowland.weebly.com
@ryanshowland @kinselladrama