Meet Reuben Lewy, a bass who has been singing with CGMC for 18 years. Although he’s been a CGMCinger since 2001 (omigod you guys that’s the same year that Legally Blonde hit the big screen), he had attended shows as an audience member for 7 years prior to that. It is his notable appreciation of the audience that plays an important role in Reuben’s outlook on the Chorus.
While reflecting on the shows that he has sung in, Reuben remembers, “At my first show, mom brought ten of her friends.”
Reuben describes CGMC as a family of singers that performs for advocacy. He considers it an honor to represent the LGBTQ+ community for people who may not know us, such as when the Chorus performed Broadway Our Way in Rockford, IL. “Through our performances, we show that Queer people are nothing to be afraid of.”
It was during Sidetrack IV that Reuben first dressed in drag. “You Gotta Have a Gimmick” from Gypsy was the song. Reuben remembers worrying about how the audience would react to his *cough* sheer costume, but his face lit up when he told me that the audience roared after that number. *goosebumps* In another show, Btown, which was about putting together a gay boy band in Chicago, Reuben again commented on how he had never heard an audience react in the way that they did.
It’s to no surprise that the line that stood out to Reuben in Stonewalled: 50 Queer Years comes from “Quiet No More Movement VI.” “The crowd went wild!” the lyric reads. In context, it refers to the people who rioted on the night of the Stonewall Uprising. Even out of context, the lyric can inspire a clear message that any crowd—any participative audience—can have an impact on whatever it is that they gather for.
To Reuben, the awareness that the audience loves what we do makes all the weeks of rehearsal worthwhile. “Our audiences demonstrate that even though our community is often hurt by hate, we have people on our side.”
I have goosebumps. Don’t you?