So it turns out that the entire gay bar scene is an homage to an earlier musical. A sexed-up, rocked-up homage, but it’s an homage to Lauren Bacall’s show 1970 Applause nonetheless.
There are way, way, way too many similarities for it to be a coincidence She skips the cast party! Her gay assistant Duane (!) knows a place to go! Even the layout of the weirdly empty club in this filmed performance looks like the club they go to in “Opening Night.”
It’s just delightful that they threw in this deep cut musical theater reference. Nobody in their target audience is going to get it. I didn’t get it until I read the comments at the AV Club review. But someday someone who got started on musical theater with Glee is going to watch this version of Applause and go ohhhhh!
This is incredible - there is no doubt in my mind it was a reference. The moment where she is recognised is so similar (though not exactly the same) to the extent that Rachel literally says the same dialogue before the music cuts in “I’m here for the night!”
And the swinging too, love it all.