Last month, Playbill and the Times Square Alliance kicked off NYC Pride weekend with a fun-filled Saturday, packed with main stage performances by the casts of The Prom and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a panel with the Tony Award-winning musical A Strange Loop, and more.
Our final event of the evening, The Big Broadway Disco, transformed Times Square into a giant dance party. The event welcomed performances from DJ Ari Grooves, DJ Duggz, Orfeh, Anthony Wayne and the cast of Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, and Off-Broadway Titanique star Courtney Bassett.
We caught up with Wayne to reflect on Pride weekend and how to carry the joy in July.
"The experience performing at Playbill's Pride Disco was like an out of body experience, and I was so excited for us to be a part [of it]," shares the performer. "I remember first coming to NYC from Norfolk, Virginia with my children’s theatre group Centerstage, Inc., and saying 'This is gonna be home one day.' To go from that moment to performing something so iconic as Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical in Times Square was like a full circle moment and a dream come true."
Wayne is currently starring as Raymond in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and previously held roles in Tootsie, Once on this Island, and Pippin. He cowrote the Sylvester musical, which made its off-Broadway premiere in 2014, and stars as the title character. "Looking out into the audience, I could feel the love, unity, excitement and joy that Pride provides. As I was performing “Mighty Real” with Jacqueline B. Arnold & Storm Marrero, I felt elated to know that Sylvester’s infectious spirit and joyful music filled Times Square with joy. It was amazing."
When it came to preparing for his Pride Disco performance, the performer dedicated himself to getting to know his subject. "I made the time to understand the power of the 1970’s Disco singer Sylvester’s mission which was to live out loud free without apologies. He wasn’t able to do that during the time he was alive, but as my director, Kendrell Bowman, and I began to collaborate, we discussed what would it mean for Sylvester to be here today."
But, now that Pride month is over, how can we carry the good vibes into July? Wayne says, "Continue to find your true self and do all you can to keep people around you will pour light, joy and happiness into you. Remember to do if for yourself first and then back to them. It will come back tenfold."
Anthony Wayne will be performing in Tina: the Tina Turner Musical until it closes August 14 and you can follow t his musical at @MightyRealSylvester on Instagram.