Stage and screen star Jim Parsons, who returns to Broadway later this month in Matt Crowley’s The Boys in the Band, accepted the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards April 12 in Los Angeles. Watch his speech in the video above.
Prior to taking the stage, Parsons was honored by Ryan Murphy (who produces the revival alongside David Stone). As Murphy spoke, he surprised Parsons and the crowd by welcoming to the stage Parson’s The Boys in the Band co-stars: Tony nominees Andrew Rannells and Robin De Jesus, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Brian Hutchinson, Charlie Carver, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkin.
Parsons began his speech with a shout-out to Britney Spears, who received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award at the event. He continued, paying tribute to the award’s namesake, the casting director who dedicated his later years to raising awareness of the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV.
“It is an irony, if not quite a sad irony, that I am free to live openly as a gay man working in Hollywood today without even having to know about Steven and those like him,” Parsons said in his speech, “for the very reason that these people did fight, struggle, and make ripples that turned into waves of progress that I surf on today.”
Parsons, a four-time Emmy winner for The Big Bang Theory, has previously appeared on Broadway in An Act of God, Harvey, and another seminal queer-themed work: The Normal Heart.
The Boys in the Band, which explores the relations of a group of gay men in 1960s New York, will begin performances April 30 at the Booth Theatre, where it is scheduled to officially open May 31.