BWW Blog: Life Imitating Art, Or Is Art Imitating Life?
Over the last decade alone, we've seen so many important pieces of theatre presented on Broadway, The West End, and even Off-Broadway that have dealt with some of the major issues that our society deals with daily. From the severity of sexual violence presented in shows like "Jagged Little Pill" to Systematic Racism in shows like "American Son", these shows have plots that reflect the intense issues that our society faces consistently. Theatergoers attend live theatre to experience the art that's presented on stage. And while I wish every person could afford or even want to watch live theatre, the fact of the matter is that theatre is oftentimes presenting the major issues that our society is facing. And this is why there is nothing more magical, or truly important than live theatre.
I believe that our generation will be the ones to change the world. We all see it coming, and what better way than to change the realm of theatre which is enveloped in the roots of America's entertainment culture. The entertainment industry is known for being one of the cruelest, and most difficult workplaces for many different reasons, but it's our duty as actors to change this common stereotype. Step by step, obviously, but theatre is one of the realms where we need to start developing stronger inclusivity in the workplace. Theatre is universally accessible, through platforms like BroadwayHD or the god-forsaken bootleg on Youtube, generations of all ages need to come to terms with the subject's modern musical theatre presents, as they're just as much in our real world, as they are on stage. Theatre can be presented in so many unique, and inclusive ways. With the opportunity to cast people of various backgrounds including race, body type, sexual orientation, and disability, casting should be one of the most inclusive places in the entertainment industry, and sadly it's not. And it shouldn't stop at Broadway. Theatre companies, universities, and programs across the globe should look into promoting more inclusivity and diversity in their productions. It only takes one small droplet to make a giant ripple. Take a look at productions like the revival of "Oklahoma!", where the show's plot and music composition were the same, but the creators modernized the music and show and cast a Tony Award-winning performance by Ali Stroker, playing Ado Annie in a wheelchair. Theatre that's presented in unconventional ways should be Broadway's new normal.
Productions like these that promote inclusivity and diversity in casting will allow Broadway to become a platform for all artists. By opening up roles to people who may not conventionally play them, it's time for casting directors to make this the new normal in the theatre industry. Everyone is always taught that NYC is the melting pot of the world, and by creating this artistic platform for artists of all colors, creeds, sexual orientations, and ways of life, Broadway too will become a melting pot.