The Broadway Husbands, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna, provide a safe and welcoming space for creative entrepreneurs, new parents and members of the LGBTQ+ community to exchange ideas, celebrate art and strengthen their talents. In P&E, they talk about their platform, fatherhood, and representation.
Let’s start with your life on Broadway. Many dream of the experience. What was it like?
For Bret, it was a lifelong dream realized. “I knew I wanted to be on Broadway at six years old,” Bret said. “I remember taking a bow at the curtain call of Beauty and the Beast and thinking, ‘I’m the person I always imagined I could be.’”
Stephen had been a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, so Broadway was an unexpected stop. “When Bret and I started dating, I loved meeting his friends on Broadway,” Stephen said. “I never thought I would eventually be dancing there so soon after Billy Elliott. The Broadway experience was so different from the ballet world, plus we both got to walk each other to our stage doors and meet up between shows. It was our little gay dream come true.”
Was being a father always in the picture for both of you?
We had been dating for about two years when we started talking about having a child. “I just looked at Stephen one day and said, I think raising a kid with you would be fun,” Bret said. “We had no idea how we would go about it with our crazy performance schedules and freelance income. We explored adoption and learned about surrogacy. After a while, we decided on a biological attempt.”
“We thought, ‘let’s try and see how far we get,’” added Stephen. “It took us four years to get to this place, so I guess all those years of persistence as an actor paid off to become a dad.”
It will be three months in June since the birth of your child. How has it been?
It has been exhausting, fun, loving, frustrating, and adventurous. A lot of old relationship stuff comes up again to work through, and new family things come up as well. Navigating our immediate family and how to set boundaries, sleep training, and work schedules is a whole other thing. Maverick, however, is so sweet and cute. We pinch ourselves every day that we are lucky enough to get to be his parents. Having worked so long to get to this point, we are just grateful to have a healthy baby. Next up, we’ll be navigating the real world as gay dads living in Texas while making a living as artists.
Tell us about Broadway Husbands and the goal of the platform?
We started the account to help show LGBTQ+ people that you can love who you love and love what you do. Our success in our performance careers is possible for anyone no matter where you are from. There was no example of a same-sex couple raising a family in the arts and we want to show people that it can happen — you don’t have to sacrifice your sanity or your happiness. The goal would be to make supporting the arts just as trendy as Kim Kardashian’s makeup line. We were tired of seeing perfectly curated content from influencers and so much consumerism around products. We want to show people how awesome theater, music, and art can be for your feed as well.
What does the future hold for both of you?
Because the only way to end oppression and fight for the rights of marginalized communities is to help lift them up. I don’t need to speak for anyone. I just have to amplify their voices. I am born in oppressed communities, but I also have many privileges. It’s important to help support ALL the marginalized people out in the world, not just the ones you relate to.
P&E - After Print
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