Gay Century Songbook

Music by Larry Grossman
Libretto by Michael Korie

Full-Length Concert Work for
New York City Gay Men’s Chorus

Carnegie Hall, June 2000
Conducted by Barry Oliver
Directed by Christopher Ashley
Choreography by Brett Oberman
Vocal Arrangements by Nina Gilbert
With Joel Grey, John McMartin
Joyce Castle, Theodora Middleton


“Michael Korie, a lyricist, has nothing against the plaque in Greenwich Village marking the site of the Stonewall Inn where gay men battled police in June 1969 and began the modern movement for lesbian and gay rights. But when Mr. Korie walks the streets of New York, he sees many other places where gay New Yorkers gathered in the decades before the now-legendary rebellion. There is no plaque on Columbus Circle to commemorate a Childs Restaurant where gay men created a “cafeteria society” in the 1920s and 30s. No engraved words mark the Bowery’s turn of the century “fairy resorts.” In fact, few New Yorkers realize such places ever existed. A new work with lyrics by Korie and music by Larry Grossman will try to do what the history books could not — a collection of songs that traces the evolution of lesbian and gay culture in New York during the first half of the century.”

–Marcia Biederman, The New York Times

“Composer Larry Grossman’s rags, waltzes, and ballads are lilting, instantly hummable, and true to the melodic period. Barry Oliver briskly moves the chorus the program, and the recording has a crisp concert hall sound. ”

–Gerald Bartell, New York Blade

“An endearing and historic valentine. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus couldn’t have chosen a better celebration of its 20th anniversary than commissioning this winning work.”

–Andrew Velez, HX Magazine

“This Songbook is musically strong. “We Have a Boston Marriage,” “Nothing is as Open as the Road,” and “The Old Hall” are lovely, “Lavender” a real beauty.”

–Ken Mandlebaum, On Stage!

“One of the most satisfying and astute aspects of the Songbook’s progression is its movement between celebration and terror, between the hilarity of our grandparents’ generation finding secret societies of comrades, and the proximity to exposure, ridicule and jail. The power of Grossman and Korie’s achievement leaves no doubt that this historic premiere will have been the precursor to an historic success.”

–Christopher Millis, In Newsweekly

“A rich gay life in New York going back more than a century. Both fun and sad.”

–Andrea Bernstein, National Public Radio

“We can identify with men whose struggle to survive in situations we can see. Heartbreakingly lovely. “

–Perry Brass, Gay Today

Further Reading

“Journey to an Overlooked Past,”  The New York Times