Richardson was born to William F. and Amanda Richardson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father worked in the meat-packing industry and his mother operated a beauty parlor in their home for more than 30 years. He had one sister, Vickilyn Reynolds, and two brothers, the Reverend W. Franklyn Richardson and Raymond Lloyd Richardson. Richardson was highly influenced by the music at his family's church where he started singing at age 4. In high school he began studying singing seriously and performed in choirs and dinner theater musicals. He also studied music composition. After highschool, Richardson entered the University of the Arts (Philadelphia), where he studied voice and played roles in classic musicals such as Show Boat, Camelot, and Man of La Mancha.
In 1977, Richardson played Sportin' Life in the Houston Grand Opera production of Porgy and Bess. Richardson's first role on Broadway was as the Chief of Police in the 1978 musical Timbuktu! Over the next several years, Richardson appeared in several regional theatre and opera productions and was in the 1983 National tour of Dreamgirls, but it wasn't until his award-winning performance as Jim in the 1985 Broadway musical Big River that Richardson became widely known. After Big River closed in 1987, Richardson toured London, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Japan in concerts and in singing roles. He appeared at The American Place Theater in Leslie Lee's Ground People and starred as Husky Miller in the Old Vic revival of Carmen Jones. Richardson also appeared in two more Broadway productions during the early 1990s, Oh, Kay! and The Boys Choir of Harlem and Friends.
Richardson died of an AIDS related illness at age of 43 in Bronxville, New York.
Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality
The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.
Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.
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