In her awards acceptance speech, Morisseau explained that she was moved to write about Detroit, as part of a three play cycle, after hearing of classmates who referred to it as degenerate. She later explained that her play is much more than a love letter to the city, but that Detroit is kind of a microcosm for America right now. Everybody s looking at Detroit, and 1967 was a defining year for that city history. So if you look at 67 Detroit you re kind of looking at America and how we became this irreversibly divided city and what needs to happen and what places need to be healed socially and systemically to turn our country around.
Morisseau noted the support she has received from established institutions that have provided critical support to her in the early stages of her career because they see the power in having more diverse voices represented.
He echoed Morisseau s sentiment that having people in key leadership positions within the theater to nurture and cultivate talent of color is crucial to diversifying the stories that get told on the stage, as well as the screen. If you look across the country, most of the major theaters have very few people in leadership positions and artistic leadership positions, and they are starting to clamor to get different voices at the table. They are beginning to realize we can [not] be isolationist in our culture anymore, because our world is really multicultural today.
During an interview with The Root at the official awards ceremony, Morisseau said she feels a change is taking place in the theater, one that is propelling her and other artists of color. I do think the tide is turning because there are people in the theater who care about this [diversity], she said.
became the first black playwright to score an Olivier Award for her play The Mountaintop, a fictionalized account of Martin Luther King Jr. s final night. In 2011 Marcus Gardley won a PEN/Laura Pels prize for outstanding midcareer playwright. In 2013 playwright and director Tarell McCraney won a MacArthur fellowship, commonly referred to as a genius grant, one of the most prestigious prizes awarded to academics and artists in any field. And this past week, Dominique Morisseau was awarded the Edward Kennedy Prize for her play Detroit 67, documenting the impact of the 1967 riots on her hometown.
to reflect what the world looks like. It s dangerous to have cultural imperialism. She added, We need to change that and the theater can help do that by producing more productions by playwrights of color.
This, of course, reinforces the importance of having diverse voices writing stories for the theater. And while Morisseau is encouraged by the success of so many emerging playwrights of color expressing measured optimism that the tide is turning she also made sure to add that it is our job to not get complacent and to ensure the tide turns even more.
Black playwrights bring diverse stories to Broadway
The theater world has long been considered one of the most elite and least diverse in American culture. Over the years, there have been occasional African American playwriting successes. August Wilson became the first black playwright to win a Tony Award for best play in 1987.
Ultimately, says Morisseau, both matter. . . going to get it perfect, but he basically says, Monsters have no reflections in mirrors, so if you want to make a human feel like a monster, then you deny them at every cultural level representations of themselves. That s why she wants to make sure the untold stories of people of color are represented on the Polo Ralph Lauren Usa Sale
The world will soon have more people of color in it than not, she explained. The theater needs Ralph Lauren Gym Bag
Michael Dinwiddie, president of the Black Theater Network, said of Morisseau and her peers success, I think there is a sea change. It s happening. I m excited by it. You see many more of our stories being told on television, film and stage. There s an excitement. Younger generations are much more aware of diversity.
Dinwiddie also stressed that having more diversity among producers matters, noting, The black elite will invest in certain cultural activities, but theater is rarely at the top of the list. He explained that this lack of support of theater arts results in missed opportunities for the black community as a whole. Black producers tend to hire black cast members and crew, meaning more black jobs. He stressed that this is why having more people like Shonda Rhimes ( Grey s Anatomy ) succeed behind the scenes in television and more Dominique Morisseaus succeed behind the stage matters as much as seeing your favorite black actress win a major role.
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But when Playbill, the publication best known for publishing Broadway programs, attempted Ralph Lauren Vest Mens to compile a list of influential black playwrights in the late 90s, the number of those with actual Broadway productions or mainstream crossover success of any kind was small.
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