ore than 2600 years of lesbian and gay history was performed in “ICONS:
The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1” last Wednesday night by
Jade Esteban Estrada.
Estrada performed his one-man musical in the Lay theatre, portraying famous gay and lesbian historical figures of the last 3000 years for Wayne State students and faculty.
Estrada, who wrote, produced and performs “ICONS,” took various homosexual historical figures he looks on as his icons and portrayed them in his musical describing the contributions each has made to history.
“History was everything magical in the world to me,” said
"ICONS." The show was inspired from
Estrada’s youth as he chose historical figures as a child to look up to and has now brought them to the stage.
Estrada chose his historical
"ICONS" from about 3000 years of history, starting with Sappho, a Greek lesbian who wrote poetry and songs and opened a school for girls. Sappho was described by Plato several hundred years later as
"the tenth muse".
He sang several songs as Sappho, including “The Tenth Muse” and “All Around the World.”
Estrada finished his musical performance, he changed costumes on stage transforming himself from a woman into Michelangelo, the famous Italian artist.
Through Michelangelo he discussed the changing climate of the middle ages to the Renaissance, with the killing of
heretics and homosexuals in the inquisitions between these two periods. He also spoke on the beauty of the human art form and some of the main reasons homosexual people were not known in the Middle
“The difference between the Medieval history and Renaissance history is no one wrote anything down,”
Estrada said. “During the
Renaissance, documents on people began to appear.”
Estrada maintained an interactive performance with the audience throughout the show, and with his portrayal of Irish writer Oscar Wilde he brought the play to the audience as he began asking questions and cracking jokes with willing participants.
From the wily and flamboyant Wilde,
Estrada transformed himself into the solemn American feminist writer, Gertrude Stein, speaking on human rights.
“Pink triangles is how the Nazis marked the Homosexuals in concentration camps,” said
Estrada as Stein in “ICONS.”
One of the lesser known icons was Sylva Rivera, a transgender activist and Stonewall rioter. Rivera was a transgender prostitute in the 1970’s and helped partake in a protest/riot against police busting the transgender
bar, the Stonewall Inn. As Rivera,
Estrada took his performance to a new level as the fast talking Puerto Rican transgender hooker and challenged the audience to try and remember who she was and the Stonewall riots.
Estrada chose Ellen DeGeneres as his final icon. He discussed the how DeGeneres was dropped by the networks later to be picked up again because she was a homosexual and other trials and tribulations the comedian endured in her career.
was created in Columbus, Ohio in 2002 at the National Columbus Gay
and Lesbian Theater Festival and Wayne State is Estrada’s 110th
performance of “ICONS.”
“It’s timeless and beautiful,” said
Estrada. “It’s been a pleasure seeing people all over the world in 2005.”
Estrada was born in San Antonio were he began to become involved in theatre and dancing. He has written two previous one man shows prior to
"ICONS" and has appeared on television shows such as “Sex and the City” and “The Graham Norton Effect.” He has also done music for the FX show “The Shield.”
Estrada has won numerous awards including 2005 induction in the GLBT Hall of Fame and Grand Marshal for San Antonio Pride 2002.
Estrada has also released four musical recordings.
The Nebraska “ICONS” tour is benefiting the Nebraska Pride 2005, the 20th anniversary of Nebraska Pride.