Theater lovers can rejoice as Broadway is opening after a year and a half of closure due to the pandemic. A re-opening means new plays and shows to enjoy, and this year’s lineup includes something special: every new play is written by a Black playwright.
Seven plays written by Black playwrights are set to hit The Great White Way this season, including Chicken & Biscuits, Thoughts of a Colored Man, and Troubled Mind. Chicken & Biscuits, for example, is setting its own records on the Broadway stage: the play is writer Douglas Lyon’s first Broadway production, and the show features Broadway’s youngest Black director ever, Zhailon Levingston. You can read more about the Broadway 2021 lineup here.
Broadway has been under scrutiny for its lack of inclusion since 2016 when both the Oscars and the Tonys were criticized for their lack of diversity in not only the winners but the overall competition. If POC creators cannot even make it to the stage, then how can they be recognized? However, that same year, the Tonys proved some semblance of inclusion when four Black actors took home Tonys for their musical performances. Since then, expectations for Broadway have remained high; yet this is still the first time that so many plays written by Black creators have entered the stages at one time.
As of now, five plays have been accepted into the 2022 season, and none of them are written by Black writers. Hopefully, as the year progresses, Broadway executives will accept more work by Black artists into next year’s season. Until then, if you find yourself in the areas with shows or previews, support the Black creators who wrote and directed these phenomenal shows.