“Happy Pride!” shouted the stage full of Tina Landau’s friends, capping the free two-hour concert that featured Bill Irwin rapping and Tony Yazbeck tapping with Jared Grimes, to lots of clapping. For “Tina & Friends: BYOB (Bring Your Own Beautiful)” Landau’s instructions were simple: Bring something you find beautiful to the concert at Little Island, the public park and outdoor theater built in the Hudson River that opened last month. Since Landau is a playwright (“Floyd Collins”) and theater director (“Spongebob Squarepants”), her friends are performers, and so they brought songs and dances. But that was also her instructions to the audience, some of whom responded….creatively.
The night itself was going to be beautiful, Landau told us at the start, as the sun began setting behind her.
“After 15 months of being separate and being scared and being unable to work and be unsure of when we could again, we are here tonight in person in a theater about to make music and a little joy together
“Tonight is also beautiful because we’re celebrating the opening of this beautiful island. New York City and the world now has a new park full of art and nature and the Hudson River and the sky. It’s really beautiful.
“And lastly, not least, we are here to celebrate one of the things I consider most beautiful in the whole world, which is pride. Tonight we will remember the trials the community has endured, the fights we’ve won and those yet to come. And we celebrate the spirit of pride for me the joy of living freely and authentically and with ever greater equality and visibility. I wish you all happy pride.”