Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

AAPAC Releases Report Analyzing Ethnic Representation on NYC Stages

AAPAC Releases Report Analyzing Ethnic Representation on NYC Stages

The Asian American Performers Action Coalition has taken on the task of breaking down ethnic representation in the New York theatre community, analyzing how ethnic groups are making gains and losses on the city's many stages between 2016 and 2017.

This year, the report includes playwrights, composers, lyricists and directors. The AAPAC hopes that "tracking statistics on all creatives employed may have a direct impact on the employment of actors of color, while also providing a more accurate picture of the inclusivity within our industry."

For the full study, click here.

Specifically on Broadway:

Minority actors suffered a 7-point drop in representation down to 29% from 36% the previous season, which had been a record breaking season for diversity on Broadway. 58% of actors cast this season were male, 42% were female, and 0% were non- binary.

Latinx representation saw the steepest decline on Broadway, dropping to
2.9% this season from 8% during the 2015-16 season. African American
performers represented at 18.6%, Asian Americans at 6.7%, Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) at 0.9%, American Indian/Native/First Nation at 0%, and performers with disabilities came in at 0.3%. Caucasian performers saw the biggest increase to 71% of all available roles on Broadway, up from 64% the season prior.

95% of all plays and musicals produced on Broadway this season were written by Caucasian playwrights. Minority playwrights represented at 5% in total with African American Playwrights at 4.1%, Latinx and Asian American Playwrights at 0%, MENA playwrights at 1.4%, and American Indian/Native/First Nation playwrights and playwrights with disabilities at 0%. 89% of playwrights produced on Broadway were male, 11% female, and 0% non-binary.

95% of all Broadway plays and musicals were directed by Caucasians. Minority directors represented at 5% and were comprised entirely of African American directors. 0% of directors were Latinx, Asian American, MENA, American Indian/Native/First Nation, or were directors with disabilities. 82.5% of all Broadway directors were male, 17.5% were female, and 0% were non-binary.

In the overall industry:

33% of all available roles on New York City stages went to minority actors, a drop from 35% last season. Despite this slight decline, this marks the third consecutive year of exceeding a 5-season average of 29.4%, suggesting the continuation of an upward trend in the casting of minority actors. 57% of actors cast this season were male, 42.8% were female, and 0.2% were non-binary.

African American performers saw the steepest decline at 18.6% down from 23%, while Asian American performers saw the biggest increase to 7.3% up from 4%. Latinx performers represented at 5.1%, Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) at 1.7%, American Indian/ Native/First Nation (AI/N/FN) at 0.1%, and performers with disabilities (DIS) at 0.5%. Caucasian performers filled 66.8% of all available roles and continue to be the only ethnicity to over-represent compared to their respective population size in New York City.

Caucasian playwrights wrote 86.8% of all plays produced this season. Only 13.2% of all plays produced in New York City were written by minority playwrights in the 2016-17 season. African American Playwrights represented at 7.8%, Latinx playwrights at 2.5%, Asian American Playwrights at 1.5%, MENA playwrights at 1.5%, and American Indian/ Native/First Nation playwrights and playwrights with disabilities both at 0%. In addition to the industry's inclination to produce predominantly white playwrights, there is also a significant inequity as far as gender parity goes. 75.4% of all playwrights included in our survey were male, 24.6% were female, and 0% were non-binary.

87.1% of all productions this season were directed by Caucasian directors. Only 12.9% of all productions in New York City were directed by minority directors in the 2016-17 season. African American directors represented at 6.1%, Latinx directors at 2.3%, Asian American directors at 3.0%, MENA directors at 1.5%, and American Indian/Native/First Nation directors and directors with disabilities both at 0%. As far as gender goes, female directors fared a little better than female playwrights, representing at 31.1%. 68.2% of all directors were male and 0.8% were non-binary.

Following the release of the report, the American Theatre Wing shared the following statement:

"I'm grateful to AAPAC for their continued partnership in collecting, analyzing, and presenting the data in this essential annual report - the only of its kind. Understanding this information is an essential first step in achieving our shared goal of a fairer and more inclusive theater ecology.

"With the help of the Wing's Diversity Committee, led by our chair David Henry Hwang, this report has been expanded to include playwrights, composers, lyricists, and directors, thus providing a much more expansive view of the state of our community vis-à-vis fair representation.

"This issue is central to the Wing's mission, and we look forward to our continued work with the theater community in order to make lasting progress across our industry, on stage and off."

-Heather Hitchens, CEO & President

To view the full study, click here or visit

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Regional Awards

Related Stories

From This Author - Julie Musbach