I know, I know…it doesn’t have the same ring as “Newsday Tuesday.” 😦 Breaks my heart a little. The truth is, once we get out of these dog days of summer I may go back to blogging twice a week. We’ll see.
Today I want to talk a little bit about the Tony Awards. I know this isn’t exactly news (unless you count OLD news), but I’m sort of just getting around to it because, honestly, (and I hate to admit this as a self-described theatre person) I MISSED the Tonys this year. (!!!) It’s true. It was the same evening as our cast party from Romeo & Juliet, blah blah blah, excuse excuse excuse, and yeah…never got to see it. So I decided to check the results today. And to be honest…I was a little disappointed.
Not because of who won, or even because of who was nominated…but because of who wasn’t nominated. And you know who wasn’t nominated? WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS. Best Play nominees – NO WOMEN. Best Book of a Musical nominees – NO WOMEN. Best Original Score – NO WOMEN.
But wait, wait, wait!! One shining, glimmering beacon of hope – nominee for Best Revival of a Play: WIT! Written by Margaret Edson! YAY!!! And yet…for Best Revival they don’t even list the playwright – not any of them – alongside the play’s title. Our next closest moment of rejoicing comes with the nomination (and win) of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess which had strong female influences in the way of a fantastic director and a Tony-winning performance by Audra McDonald. See, award shows never have a problem honoring female performers – they have entire categories dedicated to them – but I ask again…
Where are all the women playwrights?
This is just a question. I’m not one of those people (really, really, really NOT one of those people) who think we should sacrifice QUALITY in the name of EQUALITY (example of one of the worst equality moves ever: lowering standards for female fire fighters because they are smaller and weaker. Because when I’m in a burning building I REALLY want a 90 pound female WHO CANNOT CARRY ME to show up at my door). But you can’t tell me that all women are out there writing crap. That when it comes right down to it, ALL the best new plays are being written by men. It just can’t be true. And I think the Tony Awards, though not to blame, are evidence of what I’ve been responding to since the beginning of this blog – WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS ARE NOT BEING PRODUCED IN OUR COUNTRY. That’s that.
I’m not doubting the excellence of Once or the brilliance and poignancy of Clybourne Park. I’m not saying there’s a play by a female playwright on Broadway at this moment that was slighted or that any of the plays that were nominated didn’t deserve it. I’m just saying that if we don’t give female playwrights a chance to get their work produced, they’ll never have the chance of being justly honored or rewarded. And if we give our female playwrights a chance, we’ll find even more fantastic plays like Wit…and not just in revival.
So lay it on me…what plays written by women do YOU want to see on Broadway?