Pride 2023 was one for the theatre lovers. At Playbill and the Times Square Alliance's weekend-long Pride in Times Square celebration, Broadway cast members, drag queens, the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, and even acrobats showed up to celebrate Pride with singing, dancing, flower crowns, and endless amounts of confetti (we're still picking all the glitter out of our hair). One of the most special performances of the weekend occurred when the cast of Parade took to the stage in Times Square for the Anthems of Pride concert (presented by American Express). There, the opening notes of the song "The Old Red Hills of Home" began playing.
But it was a version no one had heard before. Instead of singing about fighting for the South, the song featured completely new lyrics about fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and against hatred. The performance opened with an audio clip of rightwinger (and Daily Wire host) Michael Knowles saying, "transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely." The song featured in its climax Howard McGillin singing, "And I will never close that closet door again!" See the video of the performance above.
The performers of the song included Jay Armstrong Johnson, Beth Kirkpatrick, Jackson Teeley, Darius-Anthony Robinson, Mika Kauffman, Micki Hardenberg, William Michals, Erin Rose Doyle, Danielle Lee Greaves, Caroline Fairweather, Tanner Callicutt, Nicole Anadyme, and Hassan.
Read the lyrics of the song, called "(Pride) Parade," below.
Farewell my children
I miss you already
I’m leaving for now
But I’ll be back you’ll see
Hello to freedom
In a world that denies me
I dream of the day where our children can be
Persons 1 & 2:
In a home safe from fear
Where we all can be free
Person 3 & 4:
We paved the way, from Stonewall to Shelby
Who fought–and fights–for home?
What will they say of the marches and riots?
Do we have to go to war?
What’s the home we’re fighting for?
To hold my lover’s hand in public
(The soft thrill of a first kiss)
To choose and keep my name!
To wear the clothes that make me happy
(And gender euphoria)
Callin’ Callin’ Still!
And I will never close that closet door again!
We bless the sight of the queens in their glory
You’ll never march alone
(We’re with you)
Praise those who fight
For the kid with a story
For our proud and valiant friends
Stand together to the end
For the allies down in Georgia
(And the libraries and teachers)
And in Tennessee and Florida
(And the baby gays)
Who give everything for freedom
And to call this place our home!
Other memorable moments from Pride in Times Square included Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee singing a disco-fied "I Am What I Am" Wicked's Mary Kate Morrissey singing "Defying Gravity," and the Big Broadway Disco. See photos from day one here and day two here.