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Here's what I saw tonight: REPRESENTATION. Especially from people of color and women That was thrilling.
Last Edit: GrumpyMorningBoy 12:08 am EDT 06/10/19
Posted by: GrumpyMorningBoy 12:05 am EDT 06/10/19

I was terrifically happy to see so many non-white performers who were killing it on that stage tonight. I feel like in a typical year, the casts of AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG and CHOIR BOY would kind of fill Broadway's typical 'diversity quota,' -- whereas, this year, we're seeing non-white performers in diverse ensembles like HADESTOWN and THE PROM, not to mention playing roles that might have typically gone to a white performer, in OKLAHOMA!, KING KONG, KISS ME, KATE, TOOTSIE...

That's exciting. That's really exciting. And it's been a long time coming. I was especially exhilarated to see Asian dancers front and center for THE PROM (my god, I had no idea that show was so dancey), and it was thrilling to see so many talented black men onstage in one season. With Billy Porter having a breakout moment of his own, far beyond the lights of Broadway.

For me, remembering how I felt while watching the Tony Awards far from NYC, I think America saw a COMMUNITY of people who clearly value diversity and have finally learned how to walk the walk. The fact that André De Shields and Audra McDonald are cherished members of this community -- and feel embraced by it -- is the sort of thing you can feel when you watch these shows. When Mr. Porter, Brian Stokes Mitchell or Cynthia Erivo take the stage, we don't feel like we're pausing for a 'diversity moment' the way things often feel at the Oscars or the Emmys. The community actually FEELS integrated. In a nation that is still absurdly fucked up by racism, I was really proud of the way that the NYC theater community shines an example for the rest of the nation to see. Yes, we really CAN all get along. Celia Keenan-Bolger's lovely and moving acceptance speech set the tone for a moment of honesty that played out throughout the night.

It was a great night for women, too. Rachel Chavkin's speech was my favorite of the evening. She powerfully delivered a message that said that yes, women and minorities are READY; they just need the OPPORTUNITY. Great speech. Sharp, incisive, crucial. She wasn't alone; I loved the fact that the telecast directors chose to air the moments when winners called for MORE diversity from women, non-cisgender, etc. artists, too.

And thankfully, tonight's diversity also included a historic win for Ali Stroker, who became the first person who uses a wheelchair to be nominated for and win a Tony Award. (according to the NYT)

And... I almost forgot. Two women kissed live on TV in a moment that will certainly not make headlines tomorrow.

Is this the best Broadway season in forever? Probably not. But for a night when all of America's theater fans nationwide tune in to see what's happening in NYC, I was very proud of what we showed them.

- GMB
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