Has real change arrived?! The Founding Members of Black Theatre United announce the release of their historic ‘New Deal For Broadway,’ establishing industry-wide standards and reforms around Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Belonging (EDIAB) with a focus on Black people in the theatre.
The founding members of BTU, which include the star power of Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Anna Deavere Smith, Lillias White, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Vanessa Williams, and more, spearheaded the development of this 17-page document titled The New Deal in a summit that took place from March through August of 2021. This summit included the voices of industry leaders across five working groups – theatre owners, producers, unions, creatives, and casting directors.
Black Theatre United’s New Deal For Broadway is a first of its kind document outlining both short-term reforms to be implemented prior to Broadway’s reopening in Fall 2021 and long-term reforms to be implemented in the next 1-3 years. The document details reforms in the areas of artistic culture, policies and cultural training, pipeline initiatives, audience development and community engagement.
The BTU Founders said, “Black Theatre United was proud to host this remarkable and historic collaboration. It is an important first step to reopening our industry with a bright spotlight focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging for Black professionals in the arts. Though one of many initiatives created by Black, BIPOC and allied organizations since the death of George Floyd, BTU’s Summit is the first to bring together all areas of our industry from theatre owners and producers to creatives, casting and unions. We are grateful to all those who have worked diligently with us for the last six months and to all those who committed to the principles of this document by signing their names to it. Special thanks to our collaborators Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow from the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at NYU School of Law for their facilitation, EDIAB training for all participants, and drafting of the New Deal.”
Led by NYU Law School’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Director Kenji Yoshino and facilitated by BTU Founding Members, attendees included representatives from:
The Broadway League (Charlotte St. Martin),
Shubert Organization (Bob Wankel & Julio Peterson),
Nederlander Organization (Nick Scandalios, Anthony LaTorella & Christina Selby),
Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth & Hal Goldberg),
Disney Theatrical Productions (Thomas Schumacher & Anne Quart),
Circle in the Square (Paul Libin),
Lincoln Center Theatre (Andre Bishop & Adam Siegel),
Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes & Steve Dow),
Second Stage (Carole Rothman & Khady Kamara),
Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow),
John Gore Organization/Broadway Across America (Lauren Reid),
ASU Gammage (Colleen JenningsRoggensack),
The Telsey Office (Bernie Telsey),
Tara Rubin Casting (Tara Rubin),
X Casting (Victor Vazquez),
Stewart/Whitley (Benton Whitley),
Actors’ Equity Association (Mary McColl, Kate Shindle & E. Faye Butler),
Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (Laura Penn),
Local One IATSE (Eileen Macdonald, Bobby Score, Richard F. Rogers & Wilber Graham),
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Local 798, IATSE (Daniel Dashman & Angela Johnson),
American Federation of Musicians Local 802 (Pete Donovan)
Producers: Maggie Brohn, Stephen Byrd, Kristin Caskey, Liz Curtis, Sue Frost, Alia Jones-Harvey, Tom Kirdahy, Brian Moreland, Ron Simons and David Stone.
Directors: Mark Brokaw, Rachel Chavkin, Lear DeBessonet, Michael Greif, Jerry Mitchell, Lonny Price and Charles Randolph-Wright
Choreographers: Christopher Gattelli, Denis Jones and Sergio Trujillo,
Designers: David Brian Brown and Cookie Jordan
Composers: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Tom Kitt, Robert Lopez, Zane Mark and Jeanine Tesori
Playwrights Lynn Nottage and Doug Wright
Music Directors: Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus.
The Black Theatre United commercial summit was funded by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation and the Tiger Baron Foundation provided additional funding.
BTU’s founding group of actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage management includes: Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.
AWARENESS • ADVOCACY • ACCOUNTABILITY
“As members of the Black theatre community, we stand together to help protect Black people, Black theatre, and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in communities across the country. Our voices are united to educate, empower, and inspire through excellence and activism in the pursuit of justice and equality. We will tell our stories, preserve our history, and ensure the legacy of Black theatre as American culture. Join us. This call to action is just the beginning. It was the latest manifestations of police brutality that galvanized Black Theatre United into being. With roots reaching into all 50 of the United States this coalition can harness invaluable political scope and influence. To elevate a cause or to overturn policies that target black people in any one state or community, the group will draw on members with local connections to use their visibility and influence for good in theater and on the national stage.
For more information visit www.BlackTheatreUnited.com