The Broadway blockbuster Hamilton, which puts a multicultural lens on the founding of America, along with the Sara Bareilles musical Waitress and Deaf West’s Broadway revival of Spring Awakening were named as co-recipients of Actors’ Equity Association’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award for the 2015-2016 theatrical season.
The award is presented by Equity’s National Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. The ceremony took place July 28 at Equity’s Times Square headquarters.
According to AEA, “the award honors shows that exemplify and promote the union’s founding principles of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity for all who work in the theatre.”
Waitress choreographer Lorin Latarro said, “We worked to find and we did find a diverse cast of talented actors and we did it with consciousness. We did it because we wanted to show a real cross section of America on our stage.”
Spring Awakening cast member Treshelle Edmond read and signed remarks from fellow cast member DJ Kurs that read, “We hope to create works so you see more equality on stage. There is no higher purpose in our profession.”
Hamilton’s honor was accepted by producer Jeffrey Seller. Cast member Ephraim Sykes spoke during the reception, stating that, “We are doing something we love but also doing something that can help or change someone else.”
Past recipients of the Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award are 110 in the Shade and Les Misérables (2006-07), Billy Elliot (2008-09), American Idiot (2009-10), The Merchant of Venice (2010-11), A Streetcar Named Desire (2011-12) co-recipients Cinderella and The Trip to Bountiful (2012-13), If/Then (2013-14) and It Shoulda Been You (2014-15). The award was not presented in 2007-08 season.