"Indeed, an ancient queen
who has been everywhere
and known everyone
once told me that gay
was invented in a theatre,
in 1956. ... Nöel Coward was
an abundance of suave,
not a sexuality. No, the queen
tells, gay came about at the
City Center revival of
A Streetcar Named Desire
in which Tallulah Bankhead
played Blanche DuBois.
Everyone who attended that
production was
instantly struck gay,
the old queen says,
including the usherettes,
the candy sellers,
the stage crew, and
– on Tallulah's good nights –
even those who were
passing outside the theatre."

Ethan Mordden

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