As a child, my ultimate dream was to be on Broadway. I grew up creating my own plays, dancing, and being fanatically obsessed with Chicago and Moulin Rouge. At the age of 18, I saw In the Heights on Broadway, my first real life broadway show experience. This only reaffirmed my dreams with a renewed fervor, because I witnessed multiple roles on stage that I saw myself going out for….then life happened, and I grew and learned and changed and really lost interest in the notion of Broadway because it has only gotten more and more commercialized since 2010. I had given up on the idea of Broadway as a dream because the Broadway I see right now does not fit the dreams I have set for myself now a days. My dreams involve bringing new works to life, and telling under told stories which is happening more on the off-broadway and off-off broadway realm.
Then, I had another late night conversation with bae about how penetrating the Broadway system is impossible because it has ascended into the world of completely financially inaccessible and commercialized to the point where literally only rich white old people, and international tourists can afford to get a ticket, so therefore the content and aesthetic of these shows MUST cater to these audiences. I went to bed discouraged because we did not come up with any ideas about how we could change things but rather analyzing out loud how fucked the system is.–this is still valuable I must say, but still.
AND THEN, today I received a text from bae: A New York Times article “Two Female Playwrights Arrive on Broadway. What Took So Long?”. This article is about Lynne Nottage and Paula Vogel, two extremely well known and widely produced playwrights whose plays are about to make their Broadway Debut. The journey was long and hard for these women but finally Broadway producers picked up their work and are putting their stories up in the commercial limelight of theatre. The severe imbalance that exists between the amount of male playwrights being produced on Broadway and the amount of female playwrights being produced is very infuriating to say the least–as well as the types of stories being told. Reading this article made me realize that Broadway needs stories like Nottage’s and Vogel’s and it my hope that this is the beginning of changing the face of what Broadway can look like. So now I am thinking, well. If I work and work and work and try my luck and connections tirelessly, maybe my story can make it to the broadway limelight next to these women following a legacy of female playwrights telling the important stories of the world. It is of course a lofty dream, but I’ve always been a woman who dreams big. The next huge goal on the list is to make these stories financially accessible. I have no idea how to financially restructure the commercial Broadway system but hey, I can keep thinking and learning and having conversations. And maybe as a community, we can come up with something.