New TV Series ‘Pose’ Makes History With Largest Cast of Transgender Actors
The new FX series “Pose” boasts a cast with an unprecedented number of transgender performers, depicting gay and transgender club culture in late 1980s New York.
Produced by Ryan Murphy of “Glee” and “American Horror Story” fame, the series begins in 1987 when an aspiring dancer named Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) is thrown out of his house after announcing that he’s gay.
Damon heads to the big city, New York, with quintessential big dreams of stardom and prestige. He’s then taken in by Blanca (MJ Rodriguez), part of a colorful family that participates in lavish “drag balls”, where performers relish the opportunity to cut loose and be themselves, a respite from the open discrimination they face by day.
Given the time frame, the larger premise of the show will certainly touch on the still-early days of AIDS and the cultural silence surrounding it.
Inevitable storylines will include troubled relationships and first love as well — heightened by the heady atmosphere of the New York underworld and augmented by exhilarating dance sequences.
“It’s our moment to become a star,” says Blanca, whose determination to chart her own course puts her at odds with the imperious Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson). Meanwhile, Angel (Indya Moore) enters into a relationship with the married Stan (Murphy regular Evan Peters), an employee of the Trump organization who doesn’t fully understand why he’s drawn to her. (Other recognizable players in the vast ensemble include Kate Mara and James Van Der Beek as Stan’s wife and unctuous boss.)
Born in the mid-1960s, openly gay producer Ryan Murphy has cited a strong personal connection to the show, which he created with frequent collaborator Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals.
“Pose” ultimately enforces the common theme that family is what you make of it, with the various ballroom groups providing “homes to all the little boys and girls,” as Elektra puts it, who would otherwise be left to fend for themselves on the streets.
Despite series like “Transparent,” LGBTQ talent has rarely been afforded this level of opportunity and emphasis. The production announced that they had assembled the largest transgender cast ever for a scripted series.
Those transgender actors included in the main cast are MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar, and Angelica Ross. The series is expected to include over 50 transgender characters in total.
“Pose” premieres June 3 at 9 p.m. on FX.
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