The 2015-2016 season took a great big step forward in terms of diversity and representation. Four black actors won the four musical acting awards at this year’s Tony Awards, while performers of color made up the majority of casts several new Broadway shows (Allegiance, The Color Purple, Hamilton, On Your Feet! and Shuffle Along). Not to mention Cynthia Erivo and Joshua Henry bringing down the house with their September 12 Last Five Years benefit concert.
In a previous interview with Joshua Henry regarding the benefit concert, he said, “I hope that it just continues to give black actors and other actors of color opportunities in ways that they haven’t had before especially because if the show works and artistically it works for that to happen, then why not? Why not? It’s so important for us to see ourselves up onstage, represented, and art is the best place for that to happen.”
Shuffle Along and Book of Mormon cast member Christian Dante White, who created the Broadway Legacy photo series dedicated to the contributions of black theatre artists, has introduced his latest project Turning the Page.
Turning the Page gives performers of color a platform to sing musical theatre repertoire they might not be traditionally cast to perform. As Broadway and the larger theatre community continue to create opportunities for performers of color, we can turn the page and look to a more inclusive narrative.
The first performance in the series follows. The following video features Drew Wutke on piano.
Watch Nikki Renée Daniels turn the page on “The Light in the Piazza” from The Light in the Piazza.
Nikki Renée Daniels explains why “The Light in the Piazza” resonates with her.
Thanks to the Dramatists Guild Fund. Providing the Music Hall at DGF for writers to use for free is one of the many ways the Dramatists Guild Fund supports writers. Find out more about DGF at dgfund.org or on Twitter @DGFund.