Vancouver
3 min

The most happy fag

David Blue returns to theatre with his own musical

RAVING THEATRE. David Blue is well-known to Vancouver's gay community as a singer, actor, and founder of Rainy City Gay Men's Chorus. Now he's returning to his first love, the stage, with a musical, The Most Happy Fag in the World, and his own production company, Raving Theatre. Credit: Robin Perelle

David Blue says he didn’t set out to write a musical, it just kind of happened one night when he was walking his dog in Nelson Park.



That’s when the song for the end of act one first popped into his head, orchestra and all. It was nice, he smiles, so he went home and wrote it down. And The Most Happy Fag in the World was born.



“It’s just one of those things,” Blue says now, sipping chai tea in his hair salon (an oasis of gay colour in the historic Vancouver Block building on Granville St). “You get halfway through and you realize: ‘Oh my god, I’m writing a musical!'”



Now, almost five years after his initial epiphany, Blue’s first full-length musical is about to open Aug 9 at the Roundhouse Theatre.



Of course the musical’s title, The Most Happy Fag in the World, is not grammatically correct, Blue quickly confesses. “But life’s not correct,” he laughs. Besides, it’s more lyrical this way, he says-the happiest fag just doesn’t have the same ring to it.



Happiest or most happy, the fag in question is the star of Blue’s new romantic, musical comedy, following a young man’s search for true love. The play opens as the lead character’s relationship with his lover, Carlos, comes to an abrupt end. Mark, the lead, turns to his group of very gay friends to help him through his “romantic recovery.” It doesn’t take long before he meets Mr Right, who “pursues him full throttle” only to discover that Mark has been burned so many times he’s reluctant to try it again.



It’s loosely autobiographical, Blue confides, harkening back to his own youth and its “tragic” romances 25 years ago. There really was a Carlos, for example. He’s the “oaf that breaks Mark’s heart in the beginning and has an evil return in the end,” Blue reminds me. But his own romance with Carlos didn’t last nearly as long as Mark’s did. It lasted “like a week, tops,” he says.



Despite its tragic romantic twists, Blue insists that his new play is a fun and fabulous comedy.



Just don’t tell him it’s deeply symbolic.



Blue still remembers the time he wrote and directed a short film and presented it at a local gallery. After the screening, a couple approached him to tell him how much they loved his film’s “deep, esoteric symbolism.” Blue couldn’t believe it. “I was profoundly amazed,” he laughs. It was really just an excuse to sit in a room, smoke cigarettes and drink coffee for three days, he insists.



And this time? “It’s just a cheesy excuse for 17 fun songs,” he grins.



“And it’s an excuse for me to stretch outside what I’ve been doing [with the Rainy City Gay Men’s Chorus and] return to my theatre roots,” he adds.



As the chorus’ founder and artistic director, Blue has played an important part in shaping its popular song-and-dance shows for the last nine years. Now, he says, he wants to pour more energy into his early passion, the theatre.



Blue first got involved in the theatre when he was eight years old. His parents enrolled him in theatre school because “they thought I was shy and in a shell,” he says. “Lord knows, they’ve been trying to push me back into that shell ever since!”



Blue soon caught the dancing bug and began training in professional programs with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. But his career was cut short by a horrible fall in 1983, when he came out of a jump badly and “smashed the crap out of my kneecap.



“So I did what any normal human being would do: I hopped onto a plane with my crutches and moved to Vancouver.”



Soon he met his partner, discovered a day job he loves (styling hair), and settled into a non-theatre life-with, in recent years, a significant splash of Rainy City pizzazz.



Now, that splash is growing. When Blue opened his new hair salon on Granville St just over a year ago, he did so with the intention of dedicating more of his time to pursuing his theatrical interests. He founded his own theatre company, Raving Theatre (“because I’m a big, raving fag!”), and began working on a series of new shows.



He’s hoping to use his new company to help develop emerging gay playwrights and artists. That doesn’t mean every piece Raving Theatre produces will necessarily be gay-themed, he notes, because gays and lesbians don’t always write about gay issues. But the company is “very gay.”



How fitting then that its inaugural show will be Blue’s own The Most Happy Fag in the World, which he wrote and choreographed himself. (If the title sounds familiar, some may remember it from its one-day workshop in November 2002, when Blue gave audiences a sneak preview-and a chance to respond. Armed with their suggestions, Blue changed the opening number and “re-tooled” a couple of things.)



Now, on the almost-eve of his new theatrical debut, the auteur says he feels nervous and elated. And happy and psychotic, he adds with a laugh.



“You can’t do anything unless you take a risk,” he says, in a rare, serious moment. “I don’t think there is ever failure. I don’t think there is ever 100 percent success. There’s just life.”



So is Blue the most happy fag in the world? “I have my moments,” he smiles.



THE MOST HAPPY FAG IN THE WORLD.

Aug 9-15.

The Roundhouse Theatre.

Tix $12-$50 at Little Sister’s and

www.ruundhousetheatre.ca