Orchestra members of the Broadway production of Hadestown have jointly shared an Instagram initiative, seeking racial and gender diversity in the hiring of musicians, substitute musicians, music coordinators, and more in the theatre industry. A first step, the post details, can be taken in the hiring of substitute players.
"We, the Hadestown band, recognize the exclusivity of privilege that white musicians (white men in particular) have enjoyed on Broadway as chair holders, contractors/music coordinators and subs," the statement reads. "As chairholders, we can change this narrative simply by choosing Black, POC and female subs from the vast pool of musicians NYC has to offer.
"When Broadway opens this fall, we will address this egress by pledging to appoint a minimum of two people of color out of five subs, at least one of whom will be Black (African-American). Each of us will also choose a minimum of two self-identifying women.
"We seek to provide access to work on Broadway to BIPOC musicians who have never played or subbed on a Broadway show but are qualified to do so. We hope that other Broadway orchestras will do the same, and we hope that music coordinators will hire 50 percent BIPOC people as chairholders.
"Hiring just one Black person, one person of color, or just one woman is tokenism. We want to create an inclusive, equitable community and to achieve that, there cannot be any minority to speak of. Sincerely, The Hadestown Band."
Among the band members who have co-signed the statement by sharing are cellist Marika Hughes, violinist Dana Lyn, percussionist Ben Perowsky, and trombone and glockenspiel player Brian Drye.
The posting has also since been shared by members of the Hadestown cast and creating team, including Tony-winning director Rachel Chavkin.
"As we’ve seen demands for necessary change from across the country—in the fight for racial justice and economic justice and environmental justice—I think the show’s central theme of imagining how the world could be will ring out particularly loudly," Chavkin shared as the show announced its reopening schedule.
Hadestown will be among the first shows to welcome back audiences following the shutdown. Performances are scheduled to resume at the Walter Kerr Theatre September 2. The Anaïs Mitchell-penned musical is inspired by the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone and earned eight Tony Awards in 2019, including Best Musical.