Sunday, May 8, 2016

Stage Diversity Shows Progress

The Guardian - New theater season once again shows lack of diversity on Broadway and Off
When this blog started, posts often touched on diversity on the New York City stage. That was not the intention for NYCSB. The focus was supposed to be the experience of going to the theater, not the lack of diversity on the stage. 

So, I stopped writing about diversity. 

Today though I want to revisit the topic for a moment, because it has been an exciting year of progress on the stage (especially when compared to the bigger Hollywood movie industry). 

Some exciting accomplishments:
  • The musical Waitress made history with the first all female creative team on Broadway and the play Eclipsed  made history as the first all-black, all-female show on Broadway.
  • According to the AAPAC's report - Ethnic Representation on New York City Stages,30% of roles went to actors of color, a new high and 24% jump from the previous year. Not earth shattering but progress nonetheless.
  • Pulitzer winning multi-ethnic Hamilton has undoubtedly added to the innovation of the Broadway musical! 
  • The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has an ongoing initiative to work towards a diverse and equitable cultural workforce (after surveys showed that while NYC's art groups are more diverse than other organizations nationally, they are far from reflective of the city's demographics).

At this exact moment, there is a wonderful array of diverse productions on Broadway. Two of my favorites in the past year - Hamilton and The King and I - have wonderful diverse cast. On Your Feet! (which I haven't yet seen) looks at entertainment powerhouse - Gloria Estefan and productions such as Allegiance (closed) and Eclipsed told us stories of the unseen victims of war. Finally, two of the most exciting playwrights now in my opinion are young, gifted and black - Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau.

The issue of diversity on the stage will never be solved. This year however shows us that progress can and is being made. And on that note, here is a link to Bleep Magazine's - Fall on Broadway – more diversity than ever before.   

Other Posts
Diversity in the Theater - Part III
Diversity in the Theater - Part II
Diversity in the Theater - Part I

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