Blue Strawberry | It Must Be Him: A Genderful Musical Memoir | Michael Kearns

Michael Kearns

Blue Strawberry presents Michael Kearns’ sixteenth solo show, It Must Be Him: A Genderful Musical Memoir. The iconic artist-activist extends his unerring commitment to self-discovery that is delicately placed within the expansive LGBTQI+ experience. Kearns’ latest memoir follows a tradition of expressing that which provokes, reveals, and questions while capturing the zeitgeist of his generation with a unique voice defined by hope, reality, desire, tragedy, and promise.
After three decades of defining performances, Kearns returns with a new musical memoir directed by Ryland Shelton with piano accompaniment by Leigh Anne Gillespie. Consultant: Brian Clarke.

It Must Be Him explores the role of gender from the consciousness of a community elder whose story began in 1968. Kearns and many of his peers could admit outloud—in song—that which was forbidden by expressing themselves through the lyrics and performances of emotionally-charged female singers/songwriters.
“We didn’t have a Sam Smith,” Kearns says, “so we changed the pronouns, substituted male names for female ones or—if you dared—sang the song straight. The songs of longing and brokenheartedness provided a soundtrack for the hidden feelings that were waiting to come out; the exterior theatricality of Judy, Dusty or Barbra mirrored the interior emotional life of our secretive awakenings. But what It Must Be Him posits is that the stance many young gay men of my generation adopted has followed us into adulthood.”
Throughout the past-half century, Michael Kearns has woven his work as an artist and social activist into the fabric of Los Angeles (and beyond). It would be virtually impossible to chronicle the theatre scene in Los Angeles, the AIDS crisis that shocked Hollywood, homophobia’s insidious hold on The Industry, the artistic response to homelessness in L.A., the teaching of underserved populations within the city without mentioning his name. Michael Kearns: trailblazer, role model, visionary, innovator, mentor who has generated controversy, spoken openly, defied homophobia, celebrated sexuality, listened to those in peril, raised hundred of thousands of dollars to combat HIV/AIDS, explored issues surrounding the intersection of racism and homophobia, taught the homeless, represented the LGBTQ+/HIV communities in the media, founded organizations with a mission–all with a profound love for the city he calls “home.” For more on Kearns, please visit