Someone, somewhere, is keeping count of all the movies turned into Broadway musicals. We aren’t, though we see what’s going on, and therefore we will call 2020’s Mrs. Doubtfire the official umpteenth film-to-the-boards production Broadway has hosted to date. With early plans for a movie sequel scuttled after the untimely death of Robin Williams, this all-singing, all-dancing version is a way to keep the property alive and remind people of the sweetly strange ’90s family comedy about a man who performs in elaborate professional drag as nanny to his own children in an effort to subvert family court visitation rules. 2013 Tony Award nominee for Chaplin Rob McClure is going to take on the title role (he also co-starred in another movie-to-stage adaptation, Beetlejuice, the Musical) and all the heavy lifting of prosthetic makeup and padded body-suit costuming that goes with it. Directed by Jerry Zaks, the show begins previews in November through the end of the year, with its Broadway run kicking off in April 2020 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. And call us sentimental, but unlike so many of the other movies that have found themselves suddenly saddled with show tunes, we’re kind of rooting for this one.
The road trip movie is a tricky one to pull off in the world of independent cinema. It’s a go-to form and it’s been done to death. But then along comes news of a film in which Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a longtime gay couple confronting the uncertainties of aging, and we’re giving it the spiritual green light to fill our hearts. It’s called Supernova, the second feature from filmmaker Harry Macqueen, and it’s set in England as a gay couple travel around the country in an RV, visiting friends, family and places from their shared life together. The catch is that Tucci’s character has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, so in many ways, it’s a farewell tour. Queer stories on film, though still a minority, are far more plentiful in this new century than at any other time in movie history. Even so, stories of elder queer couples and the way they navigate the challenges of that stage of life are rare, and we’ll be buying opening weekend tickets, carrying a box of tissues. Also, call us shallow or thirsty or whatever, but we’re also more than a little enthusiastic over the idea of watching Tucci and Firth being homo-romantic. 2020 can’t come soon enough.
Put this man in the One To Watch category. His name is Brian Michael Smith, and he’s a transgender actor whose name you understandably might not know quite yet. Smith’s been in that dues-paying part of an actor’s life, working his way through occasional recurring roles in series like Queen Sugar, where he played a trans police officer. But he’s about to become much more visible, with not one but two new shows waiting in the wings. Smith will be a featured recurring character on the upcoming Showtime series, L Word: Generation Q, where trans character storylines are reported to be a more substantial and thoughtful part of the mix than on the original series. Smith will also be a series regular on Fox’s upcoming 9-1-1, spin-off, 9-1-1: Lone Star. It’ll be the same premise as the original show – people barely surviving enormous natural and mechanical disasters – only in Texas. That means more guns, probably? Probably. LW: GQ hits Showtime in December, while 9-1-1: LS is slated for sometime in 2020.
It’s a producer’s life for Jim Parsons lately, as he and Greg Berlanti (Love, Simon) prepare to bring Equal, a new LGBTQ-focused docuseries, to HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service due to launch in the spring of 2020. The four-part series will cover highlights of the queer civil rights movement, both the landmark events and the significant, if sometimes unsung, figures who worked to make history. Through a combination of re-enactments and previously unseen archival footage, Equal will explore the lives and activism of Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay; Christine Jorgensen, the transgender woman who publicly transitioned in 1951; gay rights and African-American civil rights leader Bayard Rustin; and the lesbian civil rights group Daughters of Bilitis. There’ve been some imperfect – and in some cases, such as the recent feature film Stonewall, thoroughly embarrassing – attempts at presenting queer history to contemporary queer audiences. But in between seasons of The Great British Bake Off we live in hope for good television of any sort, so if it also happens to be queer then we’ll call it a double-win.