A season of diversity on Broadway

Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Broadway celebrates a season of diversity
Those looking for more diversity on Broadway have reason to be optimistic given the musicals and plays that feature diverse casts this season. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Those looking for more diversity on Broadway have reason to be optimistic given the number of musicals and plays that feature diverse casts this season.

New voices are being heard and classics are being revived in ways that better reflect different cultures.

In the early part of the 20th century, the theater district came to be known as "The Great White Way" - a reference to its bright lights, but in time that phrase took on a different meaning due to Broadway's lack of diversity.

This season there are some reasons to be encouraged.

A production of Death of a Salesman brings new life to a classic play and the same can be said of another revival, The Piano Lesson, which marks the Broadway debut of John David Washington.

"This play, this is some of the best writing I've ever gotten a chance to bite and chew into," he said.

Between Riverside and Crazy marks the Broadway debut of Common.

"The discipline in theater, I love it," Common said.

Co-star Stephen McKinley Henderson sees greater diversity in theaters.

"It's great to be part of this Broadway season," he said.

A Strange Loop takes you by surprise in the best sense, and after the show earned five Tony Awards, including one as best musical, you might have expected it to have a long run, but instead it will close in January after what the New York Times calls "an unusually short run" which points to the challenges of selling an unconventional musical.

Ain't No Mo got another week on Broadway after posting a closing notice less than a month after it opened.

"We are really just ripping up the ground of the stage and you know breaking the convention of what traditional theater and traditional Broadway is," writer Jordan E. Cooper said.

Setbacks are perhaps inevitable on the front line of a revolution.

"I think what's important is to take the leap, and you know go for it: write things and create things, and have them play Broadway," Marchant Davis said.

Any Broadway production is a risky venture so we can only encourage all those involved with the commercial theater to keep rolling the dice in favor of diversity, and encourage all of you to support their efforts with your dollars whenever possible.


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