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My Gay Toronto - MGT Hot Topic

Bruce Dow hosts the magnificent beast that is the Dora Awards

By Drew Rowsome

"It's an honour to be asked, that goes without saying, and I've done a fair amount of hosting at various events but this one is big and it's a bit scary," says Bruce Dow of his gig hosting the Dora Awards. "There are 50 awards in various categories of theatre, opera and dance. I'm a little overwhelmed. It's one of those things where you go, 'That would be cool,' and then you go, 'Oh my god, I actually have to do it.' I panic and think I'll never work in this town again. I'll just wear a big diaper and hope not to embarrass myself."

Dow, despite all his stage experience, explains his lapse into stage fright, "This is a whole new beast. A Broadway musical is scripted and you're in character, with a cabaret it's personal, it's yourself but it's fully your voice and what you want to say in context. But this is, you're juggling, it's kind of my own voice, but I'm also speaking for the Dora Awards. So it's trying to be yourself while being yourself as presented by somebody else. God, I did just pee my pants."

And there is another elephant in the theatre, the Tonys aka the gay Olympics were subdued by the massacre in Orlando and, though time has passed, the wounds are still fresh. "We are trying to figure out how to put something in that doesn't sound like lip service but doesn't also crash the entire evening. But I'm really looking forward to Pride this year. With the shit going on this year, I think there's a tone of we're not there yet by a long shot: there are still people who want us dead. Or sterilized, or sent off to camps or whatever. It sounds extreme but a guy shot 50 people because they were gay. I think it was a wake-up call, particularly for the younger generation, 'It's a big gay party,' no it's not, there's a reason we do this and it's still not finished. We've become complacent and when you go to a gay bar it's usually people feeling safe and relaxing and it can be the most welcoming, joyous place in the world. And that someone would bring violence and death into that just shows how still ostracized we are."

On a cheerier note, Dow can't help but enthuse about the nominees, "The season was incredible last year. It's like the '70s all over again with the amount of people saying, 'I want to put on a show so I've rented a storefront and I'm doing it in that.' It was really a year of blossoming for a whole bunch of people in a whole bunch of different areas. The results were excellent yet spoke to everyone's unique voice, it was like a firecracker went off in everybody's pants, it was kind of great."

And Dow knows about blossoming, he's gone from Broadway and Stratford to the intensity of Of a Monstrous ChildSextet and particularly the searing and daring Pig, "God, I'm so proud of that one! I've had a weird career. I'm in the middle of my life, the middle of my career, and things are hugely changing. I trained as an actor in a conservatory style program, then I came out and the first thing I got cast in was Les Miz because I could also sing. But then somehow I was pegged in the musical theatre, musical comedy, sort of classical theatre end of things, which I love, but it's only in the last few years that I started doing the stuff that is exciting me and driving me crazy."

And now host of the glamorous Doras, "It will be fun when I get over my nerves," insists Dow. "If I ever get over them . . ."

More from Bruce Dow at drewrowsome.blogspot.com

The Dora Awards are on Mon, June 27 at the Harbourfront Centre's Concert Stage, 235 Queen's Quay W. tapa.ca


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