Photo Coverage: Women Playwrights & Directors Panel
The Drama Desk held a panel on February 25 titled "Women at Work: Directing and Writing for the Theater," moderated by BroadwayWorld's Adrienne Onofri. Four directors and four playwrights discussed their experiences as women in these male-dominated fields, and talked about the challenges, breakthroughs and gratifications of their work.
The director panelists were Susan H. Schulman, Tony and Drama Desk nominee who's directed four Broadway musicals, most recently Little Women; Sheryl Kaller of Next Fall, which opens March 11 on Broadway; Pam MacKinnon, director of Clybourne Park, which was just extended at Playwrights Horizons; and Karen Carpenter, who's helmed the off-Broadway all-star hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore. The playwrights on the panel were Rinne Groff, whose latest play, Compulsion, has been running at Yale Rep, starring Mandy Patinkin; Annie Baker, author of Circle Mirror Transformation and the upcoming The Aliens; Sheila Callaghan, author of Lascivious Something (which opens in New York this spring) and Dead City; and Christina Anderson, whose play Inked Baby ran off-Broadway last year, starring LaChanze.
It was noted that last June the New York Times reported that 8 plays on Broadway during the 2008-09 season were directed by a woman, which was a record high, but this season's total should come to 14. Furthermore, last year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Ruined) was written by a woman, and the two Pulitzer finalists were also written or co-written by a woman. Nonetheless, only about 20% of plays produced at theaters around the country in recent seasons were by women. The panel talked about the 2008 meeting requested by a group of female playwrights, led by Julia Jordan, with representatives of off-Broadway companies to address the disparity and other actions taken to advocate for women theater artists, including the new 50/50 in 2020 campaign by the League of Professional Theatre Women. The panelists also told individual stories about working in the theater. The panel took place at BMI's offices on 57th Street and was hosted by Drama Desk President William Wolf.
Photo Credit: Monica Simoes
Pam MacKinnon, Annie Baker
Susan H. Schulman & Christina Anderson
Christina Anderson & Karen Carpenter