Richard Gere Reflects on Playing Gay on Broadway

Courtesy of Photofest

As Martin Sherman's groundbreaking 1979 play 'Bent' gets revived at the Mark Taper Forum, the actor, who starred in the original Broadway play featuring gay sex, remembers breaking taboos: "I did not think it was dangerous for me at all."

This story first appeared in the August 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Martin Sherman's groundbreaking Bent -- the 1979 Tony-nominated play about gay men trying to survive Nazi Germany -- has been revived at the Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum in L.A. This was news to Richard Gere, who starred in the original 1980 Broadway production that featured a sex scene between two male actors.

Gere (center, with David Dukes) in 1980's 'Bent.'

"For me, it was a brilliant play about the human yearning for love and how irrelevant it is if you are a man or a woman or an insect or a dog," recalls Gere, who often is cited as one of the first big names to act in a gay role. "Because it was two gay characters, I did not think it was dangerous for me at all. I've never thought about it in career terms."

The L.A. production is directed by Moises Kaufman and stars Patrick Heusinger, Andy Mientus, Charlie Hofheimer and Scissor Sisters star Jake ShearsBent's opening night was July 26.

Gere recently received the highest honor from the Karlovy Vary Film Festival: the Crystal Globe, honoring his artistic contributions.