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Dear Broadway, Honestly, Why the Fuck Am I Even Here?

Welp, internet. I’ve hit my limit. It’s finally happened.

After five years running The Craptacular, and more years loving theater than I can accurately tally, I just cannot take another minute of Broadway’s sexist, misogynistic bullshit and stay silent. Just cannot be done.

Because guess what? Women make up close to 70% of your audience. Theater as a commercial enterprise literally doesn’t exist without women. And yet, every time I turn around, it seems like Broadway is going out of it’s way to make us feel unwelcome. To tell us we’re worthy of little more than the opportunity to fork over our hard-earned cash to buy your tickets.

Sometimes you’re just mounting generally sexist musicals, like Wonderland and Bullets Over Broadway (and, I hear, Honeymoon in Vegas). Other times charmers like John Why-the-Fuck-Are-You-Still-Writing Simon go about insulting little girl’s looks for kicks (turns out Little Red just wasn’t little and lithe enough for that dirty old man), while lovely gentlemen like Michael Riedel publish lovely little bon mots like this one:

Female empowerment is fine for daytime television, but it’s flesh-crawling in a musical.

Still other times it gets even worse, and producers and casting directors hire men who are confessed sex offenders — with a penchant for teenage girls — to take leading roles on Broadway without batting an eye.

And I’m supposed to keep giving you my money?

More and more I wish I could say ‘fuck no.’ Because honestly. Sometimes I don’t understand why I’m even here. Why I keep coming back for more in a space that is openly hostile to me just because I was born with a vagina and, 32-some-odd-years later, I continue to identify as a woman.

And worse, I don’t know how to change it. Other than this. Then calling it out.

Because I’m tired of being silent about it.

Tired of watching people like James Barbour sexually abuse little girls and then get high profile Broadway gigs. Tired of sitting back while men publish sexist shit in some of the most circulated papers in the country — and the world — and get applauded for being so hilariously witty and contrarian and whatever the fuck else you fuckers think Michael Riedel is. Tired of being told to brush it off, like I’m being oversensitive, when if you swapped the word “gay” in there for “female,” there’d be uproar. Tired of reading articles in the New York Times where men speculate about why women aren’t coming to the shows they’ve mounted — without a single woman in a prominent place on the creative or production teams — without bothering to interview them for the aforementioned articles they are writing. Tired of sitting down in my seat at the theater only to hear Frank Wildhorn’s show tell me that it’s the woman’s fault her marriage fell apart because she emasculated her poor unemployed husband when she got a job to support her family (Wonderland). Or turning on my television to watch a supposedly satirical musical refer to women as ‘frigid’ and ‘bitches’ without any aim of actually subverting those stereotypes for productive commentary (Galavant).

I’m tired of keeping your fucking shows afloat with my hard earned money — even when they dismiss me, or don’t tell my stories, or demean me — while you laugh all the way to the bank without promoting women in the ranks around you, Mssrs. Producers/Theater Owners/Artistic Directors. I’m tired of buying your papers and valuing your opinions on theater when you couldn’t find a single fucking female to talk to in an article where you talk about women seeing theater, or a single fucking female to edit your writers so they don’t say disgusting misogynistic bullshit in their columns.

So I’m just gonna keep on talking about it. I’m gonna be that girl. And I know already that it’s going to be annoying and exhausting. It’s a banner I’m really not in the mood to bear. But clearly no one else is going to do it. So I’ll be here just making noise. Maybe someday someone will hear me.

I bet the comments section on this post is going to be a bastion of really intelligent conversation, too. Can’t wait for that, either.


Addendum: And Also One More Thing About the James Barbour Situation

{ 69 comments… add one }

  • Dori January 14, 2015, 11:08 pm

    PERFECT! PIN POINT ON TARGET! There needs to be SOME sense in casting. I wonder if people will picket that opening? They should…

  • Peg January 15, 2015, 12:21 am

    Why is a known pedophile on stage at all? In any venue? Why is he not in prison??
    I need clarification…….are you saying that people know this disgusting fact about this disgusting individual and they allow him to audition, then have the audacity to cast him?? If this is true, it sickens me.

    • Brad January 15, 2015, 6:00 pm

      If you’re referring to Mr. Barbour, he’s not a pedophile. Please look up the definition. As to why he isn’t in jail, it’s because he took responsibility and accepted a plea, was convicted and served his sentence in a state prison. And that was a very long time ago. The actual incident occurred more than 13 years ago. So he’s done his time and paid his debt to society. Which is everything asked of him. In addition, he hasn’t been accused of any wrong-doing since. I don’t demand you like it, but please take a step back and understand that holding people down causes a great deal more harm than does lifting them up – or at least allowing them to lift themselves up. When you don’t know all the facts, your spouting off may make it all the more worse.

  • Jacob January 15, 2015, 2:12 am

    How can you rag on HONEYMOON IN VEGAS if you haven’t even seen it yet? Watch the shows first before you accuse them of being sexist or misogynistic!

    • Eve January 15, 2015, 3:20 pm

      THAT’S your takeaway?

      • Jay January 15, 2015, 6:56 pm

        It’s a perfectly reasonable takeaway considering the show hasn’t fucking opened yet.

        • the mick January 15, 2015, 11:08 pm

          I was clear that I was merely sharing what I’ve been told by people who have seen it. I don’t think that’s unfair ragging.

          I also understand the plot of the source material and know that it is extremely problematic in terms of its approach to the autonomy of female characters, so I felt comfortable including a reference to some of the dialogue around the Broadway production.


          • PD January 16, 2015, 12:39 pm

            I’ve seen “Vegas” (reviewed it at Paper Mill Playhouse). It’s the worst of the lot.

  • Jenny O January 15, 2015, 3:16 am

    “Women make up close to 70% of your audience. Theater as a commercial enterprise literally doesn’t exist without women.”

    You know, if this figure referred to men, you’d be up in arms saying the industry needs to work harder to attract female consumers and how appalled you are.

    You’re a hypocrite.

    • Eve January 15, 2015, 3:24 pm

      um… so your hypothetical situation that doesn’t exist, leading to her hypothetical statement you made up, is your evidence of her hypocrisy, and not of any agenda/reaching/hostility on your part?

    • JJ January 15, 2015, 3:52 pm

      That doesn’t even make sense. At all.

      • Mila January 15, 2015, 6:39 pm

        Actually, JJ, it does. Read what Eve said veeeerryyy slowly, and maybe your brain will catch up.

        • Raggedy Android January 15, 2015, 6:58 pm

          JJ was replying to Jenny O, not Eve.

    • Jacqueline January 16, 2015, 1:10 am

      Haha Eve! My thoughts exactly. Some people just loooooove playing devils advocate. Go ahead Jenny– continue to defend all the men out there who are deemed more important than us “little ladies” simply because they have a penis. I hope that works out for you!

  • Haley January 15, 2015, 3:35 am

    As an actress/singer/dancer living in NYC trying her darnedest to catch a break, I could not agree more. At all the auditions I go to, all the girls are trying to be cardboard cut outs because that seems to be the only way to get work. And I would also love to not have to starve myself just to feel like I have a shot at a job… It seems the only “types” out there are the engenue, the character, and the rockette chorus girls. I would love some more strong heroines to be written for us women to play!!

    • mcm January 15, 2015, 12:49 pm

      When people ask me about how I made the (very difficult) decision not to pursue acting professionally after college, one of my kind-of-a-joke-but-actually-true responses is, “I knew I’d have to either lose 30 pounds to be an ingenue or gain 30 pounds to be a character actress, and I didn’t want to do either of those things.”

    • Sassy Broadway January 17, 2015, 5:40 pm

      Not to demean how you feel – but perhaps the reason there are so many cardboard cut out girls are at auditions is because they look for (at least potential) star quality, not just “the next pretty girl?” They’re auditioning, not working, for a reason.

      Some of the biggest stars on Broadway are females, and they have unique qualities that make them stand out. The next pretty girl is often relegated to chorus girls, if they even get a role in the first place. (Same with the men. So many chorus boys on Broadway, but stars are stars for a reason.) Many people will see King and I for Kelli O’Hara. She, Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Idina Menzel, Tyne Daly, Glenn Close, Estelle Parsons, Lilla Crawford, Patti LaBelle, Fantasia, Adriane Lenox, the Matildas, etc. (and many other roles in their respective shows) all were strong, powerful women in their productions. That’s why there is such a tough competition for the leading female in a musical/play awards in many seasons.

      I’m sure you’re talented. I’m sure your break will come if you stop trying to be like “every other girl” and actually give the director what they want to see instead of just lamenting that you’re not getting work (believe me, there are so many others in similar shoes in any gender and ethnicity).

  • Broadway guy January 15, 2015, 5:35 am

    So does this mean you will no longer go to Broadway shows? You said you were tired of many things, but you weren’t exactly clear about whether you were going to actually stop financially supporting Broadway or just continue writing about the sexism you witness. Additionally, I’ve seen about 50 Broadway shows in 3 years here, and would say the majority of them are not sexist or mysoginistic. You only give an example of a handful. In reality, of all the shows on Broadway today, how many fall into your shit list and how many are fine?

  • Raggedy Android January 15, 2015, 8:34 am

    As a communist it pains me to say this, but: the valid parts of your argument have already been made (and more effectively) by the invisible hand of the market, and the invalid parts are, well, invalid. There’s one exception, which I’ll get to.

    First: The sexist swill cited (Wonderland, Bullets) has flopped badly, and that speaks more loudly than any blog. The failures of The Last Ship and Side Show cannot reasonably be blamed on the lack of women on the creative or production teams. That said, while I’m sure there is some good work that is being kept from Broadway by sexist producers, I haven’t seen it, and I’ve been looking. Here are some of the best Off-Broadway plays of 2014: Straight White Men (Young Jean Lee), When January Feels Like Summer (Cori Thomas), Dry Land (Ruby Rae Spiegel), The Most Deserving (Catherine Trieschmann), Our Lady of Kibeho (Katori Hall), Grand Concourse (Heidi Schreck). Do *any* of these belong on Broadway? The only one with a Broadway-sized canvas is Our Lady, and the cast is so large and the subject matter such a difficult sell that it’s hard to imagine it recouping.

    It’s great that 2013’s Fun Home is going to get a shot, but unless they make some significant improvements it’s not going to run. (Too much dependence on nostalgic 70s references, and the final climax is an inauthentic gloss on “Rose’s Turn.”)

    Second: Yes, you are right that there should be more women directing.

    Third: the market has banished John Simon to the sticks, and most of us forget he exists except when somebody reposts his bilious offal. Vincentenelli is the Post’s critic, she’s good, Riedel is not a critic, he’s a gossip columnist. He’s also a hack, and acknowledges it; but in any case the point of his comment (in context) is that he *mistook* The Color Purple for a cliche adaptation of a trite subject, and now sees that he was wrong.

    Finally: judging by the timing of this post, it seems to be the Barbour case that has triggered the outrage. This is understandable, but is vigilante justice really what we want? Anybody who hires him has a lot to lose if he behaves badly (lots of potential liability), and it’s not like he’s going to sell out the house on the basis of his celebrity; so they must believe that he has changed for good. Is that so hard to accept?

    • mcm January 15, 2015, 12:59 pm

      While it’s true that the failure of sexist swill (love that alliteration, btw!) does speak to the market’s ability to represent what theatergoers want – when will producers learn the lessons of those failures and not put content like that up in the first place? How many millions do they have to lose before they start considering how women will react to a show’s sexist plotting, themes, or characters?

    • Ira Bourstein January 19, 2015, 12:15 pm

      Sex offenders have incredibly high recidivism rates, so Yes, the notion that he’s changed for good actually IS extremely hard to accept.

  • kid_notorious January 15, 2015, 8:46 am

    Just came back to add that, as a producer for almost ten years who has been primarily focused until recently on stage work, I find myself in hearty agreement with the need for a discussion of the issues addressed in this blog piece. This post addresses a dialogue that absolutely needs to be happening *right now* in the Broadway community. On my Tumblr, I have encouraged my readers to share this link, and to engage in discussion with regard to what it says. And I want to hear more as a producer, from them, from people posting in this space, and from the staff of the Craptacular, about what you think we can do in the entertainment community to address the issues raised.

  • James Ballard January 15, 2015, 10:01 am

    As a white, straight, male theater writer/composer, let me just say – YES!!! Even as someone who these types of shows are *supposedly* pandering to, I can tell you that there are a lot of us out there who are equally sick of this crap. I believe the biggest challenge for us to overcome at the moment is that of money – what productions Broadway producers choose to fund, and what productions a Broadway audience chooses to purchase tickets for. Many of us young theater writers, male and female alike, genuinely want to change the conversation and better represent women in our work, but most of us will be lucky to see a Broadway production in our lifetime, whereas Woody Allen can put up the mediocrity that was “Bullets Over Broadway” without much of a fuss because, you know, MONEY and MOVIES and CELEBRITY. The unfortunate truth is that most NYC theater-goers won’t look beyond what’s playing in the major Broadway houses, despite the fact that a lot of the best theater in the city recently (Jeanine Tesori/Lisa Kron’s “Fun Home”, Michael John LaChiusa/Sybille Pearson’s “Giant”, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s upcoming “Hamilton”, to name a few) has been happening Off-Broadway. If we really want things to change, we need to actively seek out the writers (and directors, and producers, and performers, and so on) who genuinely want to make that change happen, and not wait for an illustrious producer or big celebrity or whoever to bring those shows to us.

    • Raggedy Android January 16, 2015, 12:03 am

      The problem isn’t narrow-minded theater-goers. Fun Home and Giant and Hamilton all sold out their runs.

      The problem is that there are not enough theaters for smaller commercial productions. There are *lots* of plays (and musicals) which could sell 2400 tickets a week for six months; but there are almost no theaters in Manhattan where you can do that and still break even. Thus, if you can’t sell 8000 tickets a week, you get your six weeks at a non-profit and you’re over.

  • Alex January 15, 2015, 12:04 pm

    You’re a fan girl who drools over hot guys on Broadway. You would have been the one banging on James Barbour’s dressing room door as a teen, if given the opportunity. And I guess now you’re a feminist? Pathetic. Go away.

    • Bb January 15, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Wow, I didn’t know a piece of turd could type. Now, go home, your father is waiting for you in the tool shed.

    • Jessalyn January 15, 2015, 6:59 pm

      Fan girls can find men hot and still be feminists. It’s going to be a hard, rough life for you if you persist in seeing the world in such binary terms.

    • Tawny January 15, 2015, 11:04 pm

      Alex, she’s the one who wrote this blog. You go away.

    • mwm January 16, 2015, 11:17 am

      That’s cute, slut shaming a woman for challenging the patriarchal norm. Could you be anymore lowbrow and generic?

  • Shawnte January 15, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Keep it up. I want to hear more voices like yours, like mine.

    They tread on you because they are afraid of you.

  • Esther January 15, 2015, 1:46 pm

    Look at the list of producers for just about any Broadway show and you’ll find plenty of women. So why aren’t they putting their money behind works by and about women?

  • Corine Cohen January 15, 2015, 3:37 pm

    Sorry for the double post earlier. One thing I don’t agree about is James Barbour. People make mistakes in life and time moves on. We should forgive him as he is human.

    I do agree with the boys club though and do think since most women buy tickets to shows, the press reps should be nicer to press that cover Broadway. How many women photographers cover red carpets? I count two.

  • Dawn Johnson January 15, 2015, 5:10 pm

    I am want to say that on so many points I agree with some of your POV. But, as to hiring James Barbour for Phantom. When do you allow someone to be forgiven? He has served his time and he has the confidence of the producers. I believe when people come out of being incarcerated they should be given the opportunity to begin their lives anew. So, do not judge this performer on his past, see how he moves through his present and hope he can (and that we can) move forward. But, all of the entertainment world needs to hold up a big mirror and ask itself a lot of questions. Who are you doing this for and why? The obvious answer is money. So, when that stops flowing because those of us who want more aren’t going to be fooled any more and pay these extravagant prices for overprices tickets, food, drinks and very little entertainment. Then perhaps Broadway will remember it’s roots. The people.

  • Jeff Arnold January 15, 2015, 5:20 pm

    Hear hear.

    This is not a problem exclusive to Broadway either. Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Broadway are all producing mass media targeting an audience of predominately straight, moneyed, white males, and as one of those, I find most of it pathetic, regurgitated drivel, that even when it “tries” misses the point.

    There are notable exceptions that pierce the veil of insincere archetypes and messages, and draw forth the painful hypocrisies embedded deeply in our society, and they deserve kudos. But until they are funded at anywhere near the same level as major-label media, or until even more patrons vote with their wallets to support such shows, we’ll largely keep suffering through the same tired tropes, whether at the theater, the cinema, or on our various screens.

    Thanks for posting about this.

  • Prod January 15, 2015, 6:49 pm

    assuming it must be your time of the month

    • the mick January 15, 2015, 10:12 pm

      Darn. And you had about a 25% chance of being right, too.

      But thank you, for essentially proving my argument for me.


  • Michael J. Curtiss January 15, 2015, 7:14 pm

    You go, girl. Not really sure what you’re going TO, or FOR…. but you go.

  • Grace barnes January 16, 2015, 12:35 am

    I hear you loud and clear!!!! I’ve written a book about everything you say and more – How’s the Book of Mormon for misogyny??? Why is the leading lady role in Matilda played by a man??? Women are depressed because they’re hormonal and need a lobotomy sanctioned by their husbands if they are to have any chance of a normal ie passive, compliant character – Next To Normal. My book is published this year by McFarland and is titled “Her Turn Onstage – The Role of Women in Musical Theatre”. I have worked as an associate director for 25 years on musicals and believe me, it makes the Catholic church look welcoming towards women.

    • Seth Christenfeld January 16, 2015, 12:11 pm

      How’s the Book of Mormon for misogyny???

      I have no idea. You tell me.

      Why is the leading lady role in Matilda played by a man???

      It’s an explicit reference to English panto tradition.

      Women are depressed because they’re hormonal and need a lobotomy sanctioned by their husbands if they are to have any chance of a normal ie passive, compliant character – Next To Normal.


  • David January 16, 2015, 1:17 am

    Oh, just stop your whining and just don’t go see those shows. The whole point of theatre is that you can express whatever you want. You can make it go away by just not supporting it.

    • Cam (the female kind) January 16, 2015, 12:03 pm

      How very sad when the only solution is to stop participating in an industry and art infused in one’s bones, because its unwillingness to accommodate is greater than it’s open-mindedness… I don’t think idea idea is to just stop going to the theatre, or stop participating in it’s many forms, I think it’s to say, “look, I love this thing and want to be a part of it, but can we at least TRY to play fair?”

    • LRY January 16, 2015, 4:09 pm

      If you’re able to pour a bucket of water on a house that has a small fire in one corner of the room, wouldn’t you rather do that than let the fire take over the whole house and have to run out while it self-destructs?

  • Byrd January 16, 2015, 3:37 am

    It’s a valid point, presented somewhat impolitely. I don’t think it’s possible to make a hit show unless women and gay men love it. Gotta always check those demographics in the story stage of development.

  • Laurie Reid January 16, 2015, 7:13 am

    Hurray! It’s about time we say we won’t pay to be demeaned.

  • Pansy January 16, 2015, 10:55 am

    I’m impressed that you can afford a ticket to these over priced productions.

  • Stephan Casey January 16, 2015, 3:28 pm

    I understand your point to a certain degree but forgive me for sounding like another sexist man who just doesn’t get it but I feel like sometimes you have to take arguably sexist commentary with a pinch of salt because otherwise you just seem like a ranting perfectionist who needs to calm down.

    I’m not saying sex offenders should be starring on Broadway or that shows should make it seem like it’s okay to think certain ways about women but humor is somewhat rooted in stereotypes.

    What I mean is that you’re saying people have to stay away from gay people or women as stereotypes for humor but then if they use a male stereotype or a blonde stereotype for example that’s all of a sudden okay.

    There are actually a lot of people addressing this issue of where men fit in the sexism debate when you think about how they are affected as well.

    I don’t mean to offend you but I just feel like the best way to deal with sexism is to realize that you are born a woman and you live in a world where it may be easier to be a man (arguably) but that is the way it is and you need to fight a little bit harder to get what you want. You may think that’s unfair but consider the people who are born into poverty and realize that this isn’t a fair world. You make do with what you have and if you complain about everything, you piss people off that have a worse situation than you.

    • Raggedy Android January 16, 2015, 3:59 pm

      The fact that you seem well-read on the subject of sexism and yet say things which exemplify the problem is so horrible and sad it makes the baby Jesus weep.

      Reasonable people may disagree about every point Ms Craptacular is making, but there is nothing ‘perfectionist’ about her position. In fact, you have not actually pointed out where she might be wrong, simply complained that she is complaining at all.

      Here’s the thing about being the apex of the local food chain (a position with which you seem to identify): it’s indecent to tell the organisms further down to stop bitching and try harder. That men have little-discussed nightmares of their own to navigate is inarguable but irrelevant. That there are places in the world where being a person of any sex is far worse than being a woman in New York City is also inarguable, and also irrelevant.

      And just fyi, I’m saying all this not because I agree with the post that started this all, but just because Ms Craptacular deserves decent critiques, not your whining.

      • Stephan Casey January 16, 2015, 4:33 pm

        The whole article is about the fact that Ms Craptacular is tired of the sexism she experiences in and around Broadway. Correct?

        My point is that she should stop complaining about sexist comments in a Broadway show and start working harder than anyone else to either be in a show, be in the creative team of a show, be the person producing a show geared towards women or be whatever else she wants to see on the BWay.

        My point is that you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

        My other point is that stereotypes are an integral part of humor and I don’t think that can be refuted so it is unwise to criticize the negative female stereotypes in a show because following that idea we should just rid the world of humor in an attempt to please people. “Perfectionist” may not have been the right word to use but my point is that this approach is too theoretical and not very practical. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people and that’s what you’re going to see in a show.

        • Raggedy Android January 16, 2015, 5:24 pm

          >> My point is that she should stop complaining about sexist comments in a Broadway show and start working harder than anyone else to either be in a show,

          This is like saying that if the town dairy is watering their milk, you should [a] buy a cow and start your own farm [b] travel to the next village for milk [c] drink something else. How about [d] go up to the farmer in the marketplace and say “Would you please stop watering the goddamned milk, it’s disgusting.”

          For all you know, Ms C is an Ebola researcher who is busy saving the world by day and just wants a little entertainment for her evenings that doesn’t make her want to run screaming for the exits.

          And if you think she’s being too sensitive about stereotypes…have you *seen* Honeymoon in Vegas?

          • Stephan Casey January 17, 2015, 12:45 am

            You actually make some good points in there. I’m starting to follow what you mean..

        • LRY January 16, 2015, 5:30 pm

          Why should someone have to stop complaining about a problem in order to start working on fixing that problem?

  • Stanislava January 16, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Great article! Why is it not surprising that some ppl just come here and post troll comments, it still sucks. Keep at it & don’t stop writing!

  • Christian Fedor January 16, 2015, 4:26 pm

    I don’t even know why I read all this, because I am not a theater person, but my advice would be to stop trying to get the chauvinist men to do things your way, and start producing, directing, and performing your own shows. If you do it well enough, it sounds like 70% of the theater audience will come to your shows, and all of the men who you seem to think are so incompetent, will be out looking for work.

    • Cam January 16, 2015, 4:32 pm


    • Stephan Casey January 16, 2015, 4:36 pm

      This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Thanks for clarifying that in simple words.

    • JenMoon January 18, 2015, 4:06 am

      Really? Every woman, person of color, LGBTQ and theatre person in a bad financial place has tried this. It’s really hard. It may be why we all have day jobs. But thanks for the advice. Geez.

    • Miss Jay January 18, 2015, 2:44 pm

      Ladies! Quick! Come read this! A man just had a brilliant idea! We’re supposed to “start” producing, directing, and performing our own shows! OMG. I can’t believe we never thought of that!

      Christian, I bet you walk around advising unemployed people to “just get a job”.

  • Her January 16, 2015, 5:43 pm

    YEP! And try being a woman who is also black. Double whammy! Hardly EVER represented. *\o/*

    • Sassy Broadway January 17, 2015, 5:09 pm

      I know that bringing up a few examples won’t make you sway your feelings and it comes from what is I’m sure a very valid place. No sarcasm at all. But with Nikki M James in Les Mis, the female cast of BOM/Beautiful/Motown, the female cast and stars of After Midnight, Leading player in Pippin, the female cast of Raisin in the Sun, the librarian in Matilda (if I’m correct), LaChanze (who even portrays a black female lesbian teacher in an interracial relationship), the upcoming revival of The Color Purple, recent-ish productions of Trip to Bountiful and Clybourne Park…
      As well as non-Broadway “nontraditional” engagements like The Music Man in the recent NJ production…It’s not like roles don’t exist.

      Could there be more diverse characters and shows? Sure, but there’s more black female representation than, let’s say, Asians/Hispanics/American Indians/non-stereotypical LGBT/not “beautiful” characters.

  • jevin January 16, 2015, 5:46 pm

    Come see Defending the Caveman. It’s not on Broadway anymore, but it’s thriving in Las Vegas. Caveman promotes the idea of men and women being two people with different strengths who come together as a couple to make a partnership stronger than the individuals.

    We are more pro-woman than any hit in Broadway hustory.

  • Garrett January 16, 2015, 6:46 pm

    Yes, what Barbour did was unquestionably wrong. But remember, too, that what Barbour did pretty much describes the basic plot of the very show he was cast in (talented middle-aged performer obsesses about, seduces, and, eventually, forces, impressionable sixteen-year-old girl into relationship with him).
    Maybe the producers/casting directors intended it as some sort of ironic comment?

  • Julie January 17, 2015, 3:24 pm

    Thank you for this! Spot on.

  • dgm January 17, 2015, 5:23 pm


  • Theatre Guy January 18, 2015, 10:47 am

    Isn’t the real problem that 100% of the broadway audience clearly want to see what they are seeing? I’m a man. I don’t care much for 90% of broadway’s offerings because I find them to be pretty much the television of theatre, regardless of how many people of whatever gender or walk of life are involved. It’s aimed at the people who like top ten television, it seems to me. It is safe, dull, and over hyped. Yes there are some exceptions of course, but a fairly low percentage in my opinion. The best theatre in North America (I’m a Toronto boy myself and have performed on Broadway in a show I co created) is down the street from you, in a small dark room, costing a tenth of what Broadway does, and with fantastic actors, directors, designers who will never get their due but keep on doing it because they love it. Stop supporting these microphoned “movies on stage”. They suck! They really do! And they would still largely suck (there will always be a few great shows that manage to get done, it’s really an accident though!) if the whole cast was any gender, any race, any anything. Just my two cents! Stop giving Broadway the exclusive right to greatness it demands of people. It’s bullshit.

    • Raggedy Android January 19, 2015, 4:36 pm

      “Why bother with Broadway at all?” (which several here have said) is not really an answer. Off-Broadway is crucial to the cultural ecosystem in its own way, but that doesn’t make Broadway less important.

      What Broadway has, uniquely, is *scale.* Being among >1000 people grabbed and held by a brilliant piece of theater being created in real time is an experience most of us take for granted, but we shouldn’t. Having a real orchestra is also a very special thrill, for those who can feel the difference.

      Also, one reason to create art for multitudes is to have your ideas become part of the “great conversation,” and thus influence the course of society. Movies and television, even *bad* movies and television, do this routinely. That used to be true of Broadway, now not so much; small-scale theater, as life-changing as it might be for the individual (certainly Mabou Mines changed my life), almost never.

  • RL January 20, 2015, 1:31 pm

    Great of you to take on this issue. It needs to be addressed. But if you’re gonna do it, why not be specific? Your problem is not with Men. Your problem is with Gay Men. They run the Broadway world. And the shows they like, created by the people they hang out with, are the ones that get produced. And gay men are quite accustomed to criminalized sexual behavior, so hiring someone like who ran afoul of laws they never agreed with isn’t such a big deal for them. Also, they don’t really like women – they are jealous of them. But it’s their community, one of the only ones they have, so they call the shots, and they do the hiring. They are the “gate keepers”. Believe me, as a straight man in the theater, I’m having a much harder time than most women. I should be out at the ball game with the other straight men, but I’m hooked on theater. And I love my gay brothers, but, like you, they’re not so interested in what I have to say. So, feel free to not take it anymore, but if you’re going to fire back, aim at the right target and be specific. Blaming all men for what a select few are responsible for is just venting and changes nothing.

  • panopticon January 23, 2015, 2:58 pm

    Hell. Yes. Sing it, sister. The level of both misogyny in theater and apologist crazy in theater is rising, and talking about it is NOT overly sensitive. There are so many excellent women in the business trying to change tone and visibility and content… My only hope is that we can as effectively change the conversation ABOUT all these things. Beyond everything else, I am scared by the messages we are sending to the middle and high school aged girls who come see our shows. In what world shouldn’t that be a priority?

  • Erin February 5, 2015, 2:07 pm

    Thank you for writing this. As a NY actor, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  • Fed up with women March 18, 2015, 9:53 am

    I am sick and tired of women and their poor poor me, men pick on me all the time bullshit. The only way that women ever thing they can be equal is by knocking down men as if the benefit pie is limited. It does not stand to reason that fucken women only progress at someone else’s expense i.e. men. Go fuck yourself, women. Go fuck yourself.

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