Who Are Romanovsky & Phillips?
Singers/songwriters Ron Romanovsky & Paul Phillips played an integral part in the gay rights movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s, performing at hundreds of gay pride events and community and AIDS fundraisers, and headlining at dozens of music clubs, theaters, and concert halls throughout the country. Often they were the first gay act to get mainstream press coverage in dozens of Mid-American cities and towns,
These pioneering activists/entertainers were the first openly gay male musical act to tour extensively throughout the United States and Canada from 1982 to 1999. This music and comedy duo released six albums of their original songs on their own Fresh Fruit Records label, performed sixty to ninety concerts a year at the height of their career, and appeared in concert in over one hundred cities in forty-four states and five Canadian provinces, as well as on the main stage at both the 1987 and the 1993 National Marches on Washington for LGBT Rights.
They’ve frequently been left out or marginalized in mainstream narratives of gay history due to the fact that much of their career was made in the Heartland of the U.S., rather than in New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. R&P’s music and influence inspired thousands of ordinary, everyday folks throughout the country to come out, get involved, and live proudly as GLBT people.
My R&P Dreams
Regular readers (and followers of my various social media accounts) know that I’m an uber-fan:
# They’re mentioned in a great number of posts here;
# I run their Facebook page;
# And the only official merch shop (t-shirts, mugs and more);
# I updated their website;
# Oh and I published 1 Out of 10 Therapists: The Poetry of Romanovsky & Phillips Lyrics.
But that’s not enough. I have some ideas about how to really celebrate and honour their work:
W I M P: Featuring the music of Romanovsky & Phillips
“Wimp” tells the story of one man’s journey from lonely, nonathletic loner to out and proud gay young man in 18 songs. The total run-time for these songs, as recorded, is about 60 minutes.
This is not a work in progress. Rather, it’s an outline that a more qualified person can use to make a proposal to Ron Romanovsky for a musical theatrical production using the music and lyrics of Romanovsky & Phillips and Ron Romanovsky‘s solo albums.
It might also be a concert play list for a choral group or glee club- check with Ron for permissions and if he’s done any choral adaptations.
Visit this page for suggested songs and more information.
Family of Lovers: Celebrating the Music of Romanovsky & Phillips
The real BIG DREAM is to have the music, the legacy, of Ron and Paul celebrated the way the recording industry does things- their works performed by a ‘cavalcade of stars’.
A truly major tribute would be a live concert later released as a concert DVD. In light of how many folks are resistant to taking COVID seriously, such an event is unlikely for years. A collection of multiple individual sessions is probably more doable. Having a CD of R&P covers by a mix of new and established singers (heavy on LGBT/Queer representation and activist performers) would still be a dream come true.
Who would I like to see? Well, I don’t really listen to many new ‘underground’ artists, but I’ve no doubt there are plenty of great singers who could do R&P’s catalogue justice. I do have a list of 14 songs and singers in this post.