Today, I’m re-starting my Putting it Together blog. I’ve been using this blog series to share thoughts that arise from creative projects, like the Fringe Festival.
For the Minnesota Fringe this year, I wrote a show called “Top Gun: The Musical.” The show was very successful and my writing got an amazing assist from a talented cast, great choreography, and really good music co-written with Chad Dutton. Most of the feedback was positive and I felt like the audience really enjoyed what we put on stage.
When I was writing the show, I spent a lot of time watching the film and as I watched, I was taken with all of the homoerotic subtext. I mean, there are dozens of Youtube videos on the topic but I hadn’t watched any of them. Yet. To me, the romance between Maverick and Charlie was not at all interesting and there seemed to be more chemistry between Maverick and Iceman.
When I wrote the script, I wrote it with those thoughts in mind. I told the actors that as far as I was concerned, every pilot in the show was a closeted gay man.
The serious subtext was the idea that in the 80’s, you couldn’t be an openly gay man in the military. It was hard to be an openly gay man at all. It is remarkable how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Now the show wasn’t at all serious and the idea that these characters were in the closet was played for laughs. That made me nervous.
Because while I wanted to make fun of the fact these characters were in the 80’s closet, I didn’t want it to come off as making fun of the fact that they were gay. I wanted it to be very clear that it was OK they were gay.