Producing Diverse Playwrights’ Work Should Be the New Normal
By Chris Peterson, Founder, OnStage Blog
It was recently announced that, when Broadway reopens this year, all 7 of the new plays being produced are written by black playwrights.
The 7 plays are as follows:
Chicken & Biscuits (Douglas Lyons)
Pass Over (Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu)
Lackawanna Blues (Ruben Santiago-Hudson)
Thoughts of a Colored Man (Keenan Scott II)
Trouble in Mind (Alice Childress)
Clyde’s (Lynn Nottage)
Skeleton Crew (Dominique Morisseau)
Given the lack of diversity and producers’ obsession with reviving all the works, this is a monumental change. I just hope it’s something that can be permanent, normalized, and not performative given the events of the past two years.
For many BIPOC artists, this is the sort of attention they’ve been asking for decades. It is great to see producers and theater owners take notice. What cannot happen is for this to become a one-year thing, and then revert back to business as usual.
With all due respect to white playwrights who have been dead for decades, many of the intricacies and nuances of their work have already been discovered. We know their stories. It is time for something new. It is time for new perspective and lives being seen on the stage. That can only happen with a diverse pool of playwright work being presented.
I am looking forward to the future as long as this is something we can count on year after year.