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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?- Page 2

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latitudex1
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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#26
Posted: 6/5/20 at 2:50pm

SouthernCakes said: "I mean some of the most successful shows aren’t exactly about “white people” - Wicked, Phantom, Cats. Not saying Broadway isn’t racist but I’d say, if anything, they’re more “bodyist.” They have a certain look and keep to it. "

White folks truly need to get over their fear and aversion to the words "racist" or "racism." It'd be like being afraid to call an action out as homophobic simply because you don't like the way that word feels in your body.

And while I appreciate outside and an individual's internal perspectives, as we all do, unless you are an anthropologist or a sociologist, you are not capable observing things with full and complete clarity and frame-of-reference. You cannot even begin to identify what is or isn't racist until you listen to what the people that actually experience these things go through.

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#27
Posted: 6/5/20 at 4:39pm

Oh no. Someone started a change.org petition. 

SouthernCakes
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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#28
Posted: 6/6/20 at 12:15pm
What’s racist about my post?
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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#29
Posted: 6/6/20 at 1:31pm

SouthernCakes said: "What’s racist about my post?"

I mean some of the most successful shows aren’t exactly about “white people” - Wicked, Phantom, Cats. Not saying Broadway isn’t racist but I’d say, if anything, they’re more “bodyist.” They have a certain look and keep to it.

 

It's less racist, and more ignorant, I would say. 

The fact that you can name a few successful shows in which the characters' race isn't specified doesn't change the following: (1) that the casts of these shows are often cast with mostly white people anyway - not to say that they have all-white casts, but they generally favor white people disproportionately, especially in the leading roles, (2) that a big part of representation comes from writing roles specifically for black people, not just roles that they CAN play. Not to mention that all of those successful shows you listed were written, directed, and produced by white men. 

You're totally right that the theatre community is incredibly fat-phobic. But that's not really the issue at hand here. This thread, and this current movement, are targeted at racism, particularly anti-black racism. So to insert comments like "if anything, it's body-ist" only serves to distract from the current conversation. And putting one form of oppression in competition with another form of oppression doesn't really help anything.  

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#30
Posted: 6/6/20 at 2:25pm

I agree with JBroadway but in the interest of conversation exploring our racism, as we should, when you interject "bodyist" into the discussion at this moment, you are diminishing the import of BLM. The police do not beat and kill fat people in America. It's not the same, and to suggest it in the same breath is, yes, racist even if not blatantly (or perhaps even not obviously so to you) so. 

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#31
Posted: 6/6/20 at 8:13pm

Kad said: "This isn’t about “allowing” the Apollo to become a Broadway house, since there’s no indication there is interest on the part of the Apollo to become one.

The Apollo is an important and iconic African-American institution and platform. It doesn’t need to be volunteered to fix Broadway’s race issues.
"

Thank you Kad. 

And it seems there is now a petition to turn it into a Broadway venue. I suspect those that want this don't know the history of the theater or have ever been there. Making it a Broadway theater will take away programming that people (Black, white and otherwise) will likely not be able to see elsewhere. They have an upstairs cabaret where artists known within the black community, that are not mainstream, perform. (Great shows up there!) And as Kad said, it is an important platform for the community. Leave it alone OR, here's an idea, Don't take that history away and start a petition to raise money to make sure it stays that way. That would be doing more for the theater than making it a Broadway venue. And Black artists will still be represented. Try that.

 

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#32
Posted: 6/6/20 at 9:49pm

I can't see that happening.  The Apollo Theatre is a centrally located Harlem business that makes its own decisions about what graces its stage.  If it became a Broadway house, that central control would be wrested from the theater to the business of Broadway, with its unions, contracts and a business model that emphasizes tourists and middle-of-the-road fare.  Unless the Apollo Theatre developed its own properties, it would have to take what comes.  The cultural power of that theater would be blanded out.  Add to that ticket prices and its distance from the theater area and I think it would lead to disaster.  Their model works just fine.

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#33
Posted: 6/6/20 at 10:56pm
I’d agree! Clearly they’re doing fine and they host a ton of tours and stuff. I’d love to see more legit theater play there, but I don’t think it needs to host “Mrs Doubtfire the Musical” to give it any more legitimacy.
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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#34
Posted: 6/6/20 at 11:44pm

...is this the moment that Broadway will finally open it's doors and allow the Apollo Theatre to join the league?

Has the Apollo Theater ever expressed any desire to join the league? I can't find any evidence that they have any desire to do so or that they have approached the league in the past and the league didn't "allow" them. 

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#35
Posted: 6/7/20 at 12:22am
Much like Puerto Rico‘s century of ambivalence to statehood, the Apollo will always benefit from being Broadway-adjacent, enough that they will probably never want the compromise that full integration would mean.

But if it ever happens I think we need to retroactively classify “James Brown and the Famous Flames: Live at the Apollo II” as the greatest OBC of 1968.
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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#36
Posted: 6/7/20 at 7:37am

I think I would be more excited for a Black non-profit to be established to run the Liberty Theatre on 42nd Street, which has been vacant for years. And just let the Apollo continue to be the Apollo. 

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#37
Posted: 6/7/20 at 9:34am

Smaxie said: "I think I would be more excited for a Black non-profit to be established to run the Liberty Theatre on 42nd Street, which has been vacant for years. And just let the Apollo continue to be the Apollo."

I think a Black-run non-profit Broadway theatre would be a good thing (although it would require a large amount of philanthropy to establish) and I think "letting" the Apollo be itself (as rehearsed, not that anyone's permission plays a role in this), but the Liberty is not "vacant" (the stage and auditorium is an event space that has been modified in ways that would make it difficult to re-re-purpose as a theatre) and there may well be other options that would be better/easier to accomplish.

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#38
Posted: 6/7/20 at 9:43am

Smaxie said: "I think I would be more excited for a Black non-profit to be established to run the Liberty Theatre on 42nd Street, which has been vacant for years. And just let the Apollo continue to be the Apollo."

A major buyer has other plans for the Liberty. I'm not at liberty to say more at the moment.

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#39
Posted: 6/7/20 at 11:27am

Long post in two parts.

 

THE APOLLO PROBLEM

Even if the Apollo wanted to overhaul its programming model, it would be an absolute fool's errand to get the Apollo designated as a permanent Broadway house:

– There would be cries of gentrification. That area is already getting whiter, but this could take it to the extreme.

– 1500 seats = impractically large. Musicals require tourist audiences. Harlem would kill any tourist traffic and casual theatergoers who don't live on the UWS or above. Harlem is still (wrongly) viewed as a dangerous place to most tourists, especially at night...and a "clean up Harlem" PR campaign would again be viewed as gentrification.

– There's a huge difference (60 blocks) between the Apollo at 125th vs LCT at 65th (which is away from the theatre district but still walkable from Times Square). It would entirely re-define the meaning of "Broadway"...and within months, the Public would announce plans to add 201 seats to The Newman so it can also be designated "Broadway." (A slightly wider landscape isn't a bad thing, especially considering what Times Square has become, but there are limits.) Imagine getting the out-of-town Tony voters up to 125th?! It's hard enough getting them to attend plays at the non-profits!

– Few people have cracked how to convert new $75+ ticketbuyers in a sustainable way without a major star. Broadway house = Broadway costs.

 

BROADWAY'S WHITENESS PROBLEM

What's the solution to Broadway's whiteness problem? I would love to see commitment from wealthy people of color with platforms and ties to Broadway. Two possibilities:

– Broadway commitment:  Oprah, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Denzel, John Legend, Kerry Washington, and other MAJOR artists say "I understand Broadway has a race problem. I'm committing to starring in [or producing, commissioning, investing $1million in] a new work by an artist of color every 4 years." It wouldn't change everything, and the theater owners are still a roadblock, but it's a start. The involvement of a major celebrity can help reach new audiences (which is the big complaint about "black shows" on Broadway: majority POC audiences cannot sustain a Broadway show to recoupment with the current economic model).

– Non-profit commitment: Perhaps it's several prominent people of color –– Lin, Kenny Leon, George Wolfe, etc –– joining forces to create a new off-Broadway non-profit that can commission and produce works by artists of color. Prices are kept reasonable, and they do outreach to new POC audiences. And if shows are well-received, then commercial producing partners and theater owners can discuss a move to Broadway. But even if only a small umber of shows move to Broadway, it's an opportunity for underrepresented artists to be produced (and reviewed, and seen, and picked up by agents), which can create a pipeline for Broadway.

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#40
Posted: 6/10/20 at 12:15pm

I just want to point out, that Apollo would NOT lose anything. There would be no loss of 

- Identity

- Programming

- UNION front.... All negotiated like Roundabout, Disney and Lincoln Center

- Fear of long runs

The Apollo would remain in control of the content that hits their stage and on the dates that it would happen. Allowing all programming to continue.

 

What is AMAZING to me, as I read the response all well intentioned, not one response speaks to the "systemic racism" sitting and remain controlled by the Broadway League. Comprised of ALL WHITE OWNERS.


OWNERS that advocated for a world that we all live in. There is a moment to change that paradigm and yet, no support. That is pretty interesting to me..

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#41
Posted: 6/10/20 at 12:55pm

Troynow, I think, at least for me, it depends on if the Apollo even WANTS to become a Broadway house. If they came out with a statement, etc, sure I'm all for it. I'm not going to foist something on them with petitions and stuff if it's not what they wanted. 

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#42
Posted: 6/10/20 at 3:40pm

@troynow, one cannot operate as a Broadway house and continue the current programming. (I'm not sure what you are saying about the unions, but that is likewise not a case of not losing anything. This part of your post suggests that perhaps you should familiarize yourself with what it means to be a Broadway theatre before posting unfounded information. (The League, by the way, is more than just the owners, but your point about the primacy of the questions of systemic racism is well taken.

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Is the APOLLO finally going to be # 42?#43
Posted: 8/7/20 at 7:42pm

Kamilah Forbes, the Apollo's executive director, recently talked on a podcast called CI to Eye (link to her episide, skip to 13:24 for this particular discussion...) about the Apollo's programming and the pressure they've gotten to join the other 41. She talks a bit about the natural "comparative" that exists between Broadway and the Apollo in light of the recent change.org petition and especially considering the frequency at which they host commercial productions ala Blue, their role in NYC theatre in-terms of working with commercial producers. It's pretty clear it's absolutely not within the interest of their organization but still really interesting hearing about her perspective of it all. Also, definitely a great podcast anyways if you're at all into arts marketing.

Updated On: 8/7/20 at 07:42 PM

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