Nine brand-new plays are coming to Broadway this fall, and seven of them are by Black playwrights!
It marks a timely achievement in diversity, with five of the playwrights making their Broadway debut, NPR reports. These include:
- The comedy Chicken & Biscuits by Douglas Lyons, which will preview in September at The Circle in the Square Theatre. This play will also feature Broadway’s youngest Black director as of yet, 27-year-old Zhailon Levingston!
- Pass Over, written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu. The three-person play recently reopened the August Wilson Theatre.
- Lackawanna Blues, written and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, will open at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
- Thoughts of a Colored Man, written by Keenan Scott II and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, will open at the Golden Theatre in October
- Trouble in Mind, written by Alice Childress and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, will open at the American Airlines Theatre in November
- Clyde’s, written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Kate Whoriskey, will open at the Helen Hayes Theatre in November
- Skeleton Crew, written by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, will open Samuel J. Friedman in January 2022
Of course, industry creatives are hoping the efforts of inclusion won’t last for a mere season, but are only the start of a much-needed change that has been long coming for the world’s most iconic theatres.
Founder and creative director of organization Broadway Black Drew Shade told NPR that the number of plays by Black playwrights is “unprecedented,” but was cautious about the industry following through. For instance, none of the plays that have thus far been scheduled for the 2022 season feature Black playwrights.
“It’s what we would like to see, especially after the racial reckoning we’ve had in this society over the past year, and more specifically in the theater industry,” he commented. “But we also have to be realistic about the placement of the shows. We have to be realistic about what this may mean for Black artists going forward.”
Douglas Lyons, writer of the comedy Chicken & Biscuits, added:
“I think people are going to be refreshed to be back in the theater, but also refreshed with the stories they’re getting in the theater. There’s a whole generation of artists that have not been seen, and I feel like this COVID thing stopped the world and gave Broadway no excuse to not see us.”