12/18/2019

Queer History at the Bar

Did you know that Dante called gay men “queens” back in the 14th century? Or that Ma Rainey recorded a song about lesbian love after she got arrested for hosting a Sapphic house party?  Those are just two of the delicious facts you can learn when you grab a drink at The Inheritance.

In the downstairs bar at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where The Inheritance is currently enjoying its Broadway premiere, patrons will find a series of 15 cocktail napkins printed with facts about LGBTQ history. Each touches on a different aspect of queer life – from trans rights in the Midwest to the creation of a bear magazine in San Francisco – and each serves as a conversation starter.

Those conversations are key. While The Inheritance tells an epic story of love and community, it also stages an urgent discussion about queer history’s impact on modern-day American lives. No matter who we are, the show wants us to consider how we’re affected by the struggles and successes of the LGBTQ community.

Talking about that history can be liberating and joyous. That’s why the producing team and AKA created the cocktail napkins, with AKA team members leading the research, writing, and printing. The series’ casual tone – not to mention its proximity to booze – signals that everyone is invited to dig into the play’s themes. This echoes the lively energy of the play itself, which welcomes audiences to get deeply invested in its epic, unforgettable story.