Broadway Power Brokers Commits to Changing Diversity As Theaters Reopen
“This is a movement that is going to bring about change, and we are happy to be a part of it,” said Robert E. Wankel, president and CEO of the Shubert organization.
The document’s signatories pledge to make changes that would affect many aspects of the theater industry, from casting to hair care. But Broadway is a heavily unionized workforce, and the only unions that have signed the deal are those representing actors, stage managers, makeup artists, and hairdressers.
That leaves obvious gaps – there is a pervasive concern about low levels of diversity among stagehands, musicians, and Broadway design teams, for example – and Black Theater United management has said that although the group has the support of individuals working in these areas, it will continue to work to gain more organizational support for the document.
Actress NaTasha Yvette Williams said she expected more groups to join the calls for change. “It’s only a matter of time before they return,” she said.
Director Kenny Leon admitted his frustration that his own union, the Society of Directors and Choreographers, was not a signatory. “I am disappointed that my union director has not yet signed,” he said. “But as a black member of this union, I will continue to fight for this.”
Union executive director Laura Penn said the organization was “deeply committed to the principles” of the agreement, but chose not to sign because much of it is “beyond the scope of the agreement. union “.
Jeanine Tesori, a songwriter, said she hopes the variety of professions represented in a show’s music department will jointly engage in creating more opportunities in what can be a difficult field to break into. “We need to invite newcomers,” she said.