Queer Places:
Chico Cemetery Chico, Butte County, California, USA

Harold Richard Lang (December 21, 1920 – July 26, 1985) was an American dancer, singer and actor.

Jerome Robbins had an intimate relationship during the 1940s with Fancy Free's scene designer, Oliver Smith. Although details are limited, suggestive traces exist. In the notebook of ideas for Fancy Free where Robbins lists possible composers, he mentions Smith on one page, simply naming him. Another page features a drawing of a nude male dancer, in midleap and with an erection. An arrow from the initials J.R. (written upside down) points to the drawing. A separate document—a letter from Smith to "Jerry" dated August 8, 1944—chronicles their romantic involvement several months after the ballet's premiere. The opening paragraph is unambiguously addressed to a romantic partner, with sexual references and direct affirmation of being in love. The rest of the letter migrates between romantic gestures and details of "a layout for the show," which at that point meant On the Town. Greg Lawrence, a biographer of Robbins, speculates that Robbins had affairs with John Kriza and Harold Lang while Fancy Free was emerging. In interviews with Lawrence, various dancers associated with Ballet Theatre attested to these romances, although many were sharing hunches. Kriza was "the real love of Jerry's life then," asserted dancer Shaun O'Brien, and Lawrence quotes others who also believed that Kriza and Robbins had an affair. Janet Reed inserted Harold Lang into the mix, recalling that he was bisexual and suggesting that a romantic tie to Robbins would have been strategic. "Lang was very ambitious," Reed stated, "and it seemed to me that any homosexual relationship he had was for getting ahead. But Jerry didn't have anything to gain, whereas Lang and Kriza had everything to gain from him." Fellow dancers also suspected a romantic relationship between Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. "They had a kind of brief encounter," declared the dancer Richard D'Arcy, "an affair just in that early period when they were doing Fancy Free." D'Arcy believed it happened "when the score was being written."

Lang began his professional career as a ballet dancer, making his professional debut with the San Francisco Ballet in 1938 and then going on to perform with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo two years later and American Ballet Theatre (then called Ballet Theatre) in 1943. While at ABT, he originated rôles in Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free and Interplay, in addition to performing in ballets by George Balanchine, David Lichine, Léonide Massine and Antony Tudor. Beginning in the late 1940s, Lang moved from ballet to musical theater. He made his Broadway debut in the short-lived Mr. Strauss Goes to Boston (1945), then had more success as a soloist in Three to Make Ready (1946) and Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'! (1948). Lang's first major rôle, however, was as Bill Calhoun/Lucentio in the original production of Kiss Me, Kate (1948) — although he did not always get along with composer Cole Porter.[1] His second major Broadway rôle was Joey in the 1952 revival of Pal Joey. Other Broadway appearances included Make a Wish (1951), Shangri-La (1956), Ziegfeld Follies of 1957, and I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962). Lang also toured as the Jester in Once Upon a Mattress. In the long-running Kiss Me, Kate, Lang (as Bill) performed his showstopping solo number, "Bianca", and also performed "We Open in Venice" (as Lucentio) with Alfred Drake (as Petruchio), Patricia Morison (as Katharine) and Lisa Kirk (as Bianca). Lang also performed "Tom, Dick or Harry" (as Lucentio) with Edwin Clay (as Gremio), Charles Wood (as Hortensio) and Lisa Kirk (as Bianca). Although he appeared on television in the early 1950s, Lang made no commercial films. It was reported 20th Century-Fox wanted him for the role of Vera-Ellen’s boyfriend Mike in Three Little Girls in Blue (1946) but he had to refuse because of a stage commitment in Three to Make Ready (1946). A great loss because he would have introduced the now-classic song "You Make Me Feel So Young." His replacement was non-singer/dancer, minor-player Charles Smith (actor). The New York Public Library has archival films of Lang's work in Fancy Free and Interplay. He also portrayed John Sappington Marmaduke "Bubber" Dinwiddie, the brother of Martha Dinwiddie Butterfield in the Patrick Dennis mock-bio First Lady. Both Arthur Laurents and Gore Vidal reported having affairs with Lang.[2] From 1970 to his death in 1985, Lang was a professor of dance at California State University, Chico.[3]

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