Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

Pride Season is in full swing and, last week, Queerty marked our favorite time of the year with our annual Pride50 celebration at New York City’s iconic Chelsea Piers.

The evening was queer joy personified as some of our favorite stars, activists, drag performers, and more turned up to toast our 50 LGBTQ+ honorees who have made a difference in the past year.

Among the night’s highlights was our special honor to actor Michael Urie, who was on hand to receive this year’s esteemed Catalyst award.

Sure, the world may know him best as Marc St. James, Willhelmina’s loyal assistant on the television hit Ugly Betty, but in real life, Michael Urie’s the one running the show.

For 20 years, the Juilliard trained actor has been celebrated for his work on stage and screen, with TV credits like this year’s critically acclaimed Shrinking, film roles in Single All The Way and the highly anticipated biopic Maestro, and an impressive theater career including his Drama Desk awarded performance in Buyer & Cellar, and the Tony-nominated revival of Torch Song.

Through it all, he’s been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ voices, and a beacon of hope and progress for our community, which is why he was honored with this year’s Pride50 Catalyst Award.

After last call at the event, Queerty caught up with Urie to recap the amazing night and to hear more about what the Catalyst Award means to him.

Watch his acceptance speech at the event below, then scroll down for our Q&A, and check out some exclusive behind-the-scenes photos Urie shared with Queerty as he got all dressed up for the big event!

Photography by creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado • Hair & Makeup: Chelsea Gehr • Styling: Michael Fusco

Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

Congratulations once again on your Catalyst Award honor! What does it mean to you to be considered a “catalyst” of the LGBTQ+ community?

Thank you so much! It was such a cool night, I was blown away by the clip reel your staff created for the honor, I kinda couldn’t believe it was me! To be considered a catalyst by the community I love and revere so much is overwhelming. I got into all of this showbiz stuff to tell stories and play make believe, being a catalyst was so much about being in the right place at the right time—I hope that the work I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of has helped people. We continue to be marginalized and pride continues to be our super power. 

Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

In your speech, you mentioned that when you were just beginning your career, there was still a lot of concern around actors taking on “gay roles”—what gave you the courage to do so anyway? In what ways have you seen the industry change since then?

It might’ve been courageous, but in the moment all I could think was that the roles were too good to pass up and the gay Hollywood stigma was silly! These days we have many, many out LGBTQ+ actors and so many LGBTQ+ roles that are played by those out actors! It’s exciting to look back on the evolution of the biz.

Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

In what can feel like especially dark times for queer folks, how can we all be catalysts for change in our day-to-day lives?

I think we all have to be available to each other—no two coming out stories are the same and we’re still in a society where we all have to come out—every day. That takes a toll even when it goes well. We have to hold each other close and listen.

Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

Do you have any specific favorite memories or moments from the Pride50 event? Was there another honoree or guest you were particularly excited to meet and chat with?

I’m a massive fan of James Ijames and his play Fat Ham, I was so happy to see him on the list. Some friends like Ryan J. Haddad and Roberta Colindrez and Colman Domingo are doing incredible work. Personal heroes like Nathan Lane and Pedro Almodôvar. I met Drew Tarver years ago at an audition and am loving his rising star!

Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

What’s next for you? What can you tell us about what’s ahead for the rest of 2023?

I look forward to the WGA getting what they deserve and going back to work on season two of Shrinking!

Michael Urie getting ready for Pride50
Photography by: Creative duo Chelsea Gehr & Bri Alvarado

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