What better place to start ending the systemic discrimination of women in theatre than in how we tell women’s stories? If we allow a man to tell this story, particularly one who traditionally is not supportive of women, have we learned anything at all?
If you are like me and unable to travel to New York City to see your favorite shows, you delight when television networks produce live musicals (Hairspray, Grease, The Sound of Music, and the upcoming A Christmas Story).
It is much more difficult, however, to see plays. Two of the four plays nominated for Best (new) Play in 2017 were written by women, an honor not often seen on the Great White Way. Pulitzer Prize winners Paula Vogel and Lynn Nottage debuted their plays (Indecent and Sweat, respectively) on Broadway just last year, despite their many accolades. This distinction was noted by many in the aftermath of a presidential election fraught with sexual assault allegations and in a culture of gender inequity. While Indecent and Sweat were well received, they both closed shortly after losing the Tonys. This is not uncommon for plays - Oslo (the winning play) received a few more weeks of good ticket sales and subsequently closed.
But, what to do when the play or musical you're desperate to see closes before you have a chance to travel to the Big City?
You'll be delighted to know that PBS holds a program called Great Performances, presenting concerts, musicals, drama, and even dance. The videos appear online for streaming for a short time, so make sure to use your time wisely.
Personally, I plan to catch Indecent, performed on Broadway, before it expires on December 1st, 2017.
Title image: (l-r): Richard Topol, Mimi Lieber, Tom Nelis, Adina Verson, Katrina Lenk, Steven Rattazzi and Max Gordon Moore, the company of INDECENT, a new play by Paula Vogel, co-created by Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman, and directed by Rebecca Taichman, at the Cort Theatre, 138 West 48th Street. Credit: © Carol Rosegg
I sit at a table with five other women and one man. I fidget with the papers in front of me, aware that no matter how prepared I am, this meeting might not go my way. I had told them, the other board members at this community theater, that I had something to discuss. Their eyes turn to me, and suddenly I’m nervous among friends.
The Illyria Project, written and directed by Jackson Doran and Postal Pringle, is an entirely hip-hop spoken word reimagining of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The story follows Viola, an aspiring rapper who lands a role in rap musical by pretending she's a man. Conflict rises when the leading lady falls for Viola, who is crushing on the producer, who is obsessed with the leading lady, in this comedic love triangle.