How many women do THIS on Broadway?

There has been a lot of conversation in the past few years about the disproportionate number of women writers on Broadway, women directors on Broadway, and even strong central female characters on Broadway.

(And a lot of this discussion has happened on my own podcast:  Just listen to Jeanine Tesori, Lynne Meadow and Lynn Ahrens talk about the subject.)

Since like-attracts-like, one of the greatest lessons I got about this subject was from Lynn Ahrens, who said “Ken, you’re a guy . . . whether you know it or not, you may feel naturally inclined to go to another guy, especially if the biggest pool of applicants are men.  So before you make a decision about staffing any position, just take another beat to set aside any habitual instinct and consider anyone and everyone for the job.”

Pretty amazing advice, don’t you think?

This got me to thinking about the like-attracts-like concept.  I’ve written about a similar phenomenon before, in this blog about how to get more stories about people of color on our stages (which involves getting more writers of color opportunities to write those stories).

So back to how to get more women directors, more women writers, etc. represented on Broadway.

I’m not sure I have the answer, but I can tell you for sure what one of the problems is.

I had my research team (led by my Associate Producer Valerie (yes, a female) Novakoff) dig into the trenches of IBDB.com and they came back with this statistic.

In the last 5 years, only 28.46% of all Broadway commercial plays or musicals had female Lead Producers.

Although this is better than the 6.4% of CEOs that are women on the Fortune 500, it’s still tremendously disappointing.

Not only because we need more equality in the folks leading shows, but because if there were more women Lead Producing shows, there would, I’d bet, be more women directors, more women writers and more female stories on Broadway.

Now, that’s the easy part.

The hard part is, as always, what to do with the data once we have it.

Do we offer young Associate Producer scholarships . . . giving qualified applicants the title credit without requiring a money-raise to get them started?

Do we ask high schools around the country to assign a Producer to their high school musicals, and encourage them to choose a young woman?

How do we leverage the accomplishment of that 28.46%?

What are your ideas on how we level the producing field?

 

P.S. Want to learn how to produce a play? Click here for all the tips, tools and training you need.

 

Podcast Episode 146 – Tony Nominated Director, Sheryl Kaller.

In 2010, the beautiful little play entitled Next Fall came out of nowhere, earned a rave from Ben Brantley, signed Elton John as a Producer and opened on Broadway where it was nominated for Best Play.

It was one of those great surprises that happen every few years in the theater.

And one of the best results from Next Fall‘s rise to the top was that people started to take notice of one of the top female Directors we have in our ranks, Ms. Sheryl Kaller.

Sheryl has become known for directing intimate dramas like Next Fall (she helmed Mothers and Sons on Broadway with Tyne Daly, which I co-produced), but can handle anything you throw at her (a stage version of Frozen has been on cruise ships for the last year or so . . . guess who put that sucker up?).

That’s why I was eager to talk to her, and as usual, Sher didn’t disappoint, and told me her story and gave me her perspective on all things including:

  • What Bob Fosse “fought for” in his direction, and how that inspired her.
  • How she never felt like a female Director while she was in school . . . but only when she got into the business, and how that has changed (or not) since then.
  • The day she got scolded by an Actor for being too prepared.  And how that has affected her style since.
  • How she got back into the business after deciding to take time off to raise her family (and how that made her a better and more successful Director).
  • The process of pitching herself for a job . . . what she says to playwrights and Producers in order to earn their trust.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the 146 podcasts we’ve done here is that there is no one way to do anything in the theater.  There is only your way.

Listen to how Sheryl reached her goals and how she’s working her butt off to reach her new ones by clicking below.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Sheryl!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

 

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