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“Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.”― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

This is the Mirror’s Winter Arts Guide. We are a free, glossy, magazine, surviving in a digital age.

First, we are here again only because you have supported us.

Once again, the South Florida Gay News is fortunate to have been supported by a lot of advertising from South Florida’s theatrical community.

Second, I would like to think we are here also because you believe in us; that we conscientiously deliver credible content in an aesthetic, presentable, readable format.

We don’t just throw together a bunch of ads and try to wrap it in a cover. Our stories feature our community personalized and professional. We illuminate our lives and our losses, our champions and our contemporaries.

This month we feature this season’s hottest tickets, several in-depth news features and a celebrity interview with William Shatner.

Theater has always been special to the culture of LGBT life. It is a forum for individual expressiveness and creative achievement. But it is also the vehicle that gives our lives inspiration.

‘Newsies’ tells the story of young boys standing up for their rights not to be discriminated against in the workplace.

‘Kinky Boots’ tells the tale of two young men trying to be proud of their lives while defying the traditions of their birthplace.

‘The Book of Mormon’ musically showcases young elders finding their place in an ever-changing world.

The musicals showcased in our theaters this season also mirror lives in the LGBT community. We have learned to buck the odds; to stand up for what we believe in. We find our own way against tides that might otherwise buffet us backwards.

Theater captures the spirit of independence, from retelling the magical and defiant story of the von Trapp family in ‘The Sound of Music,’ to a new production of ‘Phantom of the Opera.’

We have each climbed many mountains to get to where we are today. We have each worn masks in our lives, many of us for too long. We have overcome what we were supposed to be and become what we wanted to be. There have been surprises along the way.

In 1965, I wanted to grow up and play center field for the New York Mets. If you had told me then that that I would be writing editorials for a gay paper 50 years later, I would have punched you in the nose.

Our lives emerge. Our values develop. Our goals are accomplished though our dreams may be altered. Some of us wind up as firefighters or astronauts. Some of us wind up on stage. Some of us are run out of town on it. Life can be unpredictable.

The future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not beyond our control. There is beauty and bounty everywhere, if we explore and cultivate it. It can be found in the aesthetics of a magazine or by witnessing the artistry of a live performance.

There is no doubt thought that Broadway life has given the LGBT community a unique forum to express its uniqueness, individuality, and creativity. We are proud to showcase the culture and commitment of our times in the Mirror for you. Share a copy with your friends. Leave it on a coffee table. Post an article on Facebook. Find a place for it in your home and heart.

As you may know, this New Year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It will be commemorated and celebrated nationally and internationally. Many of his words will be re-spoken, some critically, others caustically, many more creatively.

Ultimately, though, it is up to each of us to make sure that life is more than “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It is up to us to make dreams matter, visions count, and beauty happen.