Thursday, March 23, 2017

Backwards and in heels on Broadway

Apparently the source of that famous quote about Ginger Rogers comes from this cartoon from 1982. It's interesting that the Astaire-Rogers films were made in the 1930 - 40s but nobody remarked about Rogers' disadvantage until 40 years later.

The NYTimes recently published this enraging piece - Two Female Playwrights Arrive on Broadway. What Took So Long?

As the article notes:
“Indecent” and “Sweat” are the only new plays by women this Broadway season; by contrast, there are eight new plays by men (none of whom has credentials comparable to those of Ms. Vogel and Ms. Nottage). The disparity is sometimes worse; in 2013-14 there were no new plays by women. Such imbalance remains a striking incongruity for Broadway, where an estimated 67 percent of the audience is women.

So in other words, Broadway producers consider male playwrights who have not won the Pulitzer Prize more worthy of productions than female playwrights who have won the Pulitzer Prize. This in spite of the fact that women make up a majority of theater-goers.

The article continues:
Both playwrights arrive scarred by the journey — each frustrated by how long it has taken, and still aggrieved that their best-known, and Pulitzer-winning works (Ms. Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive,” and Ms. Nottage’s “Ruined”) never made it to the big stage. But both are also thrilled to be here now, and savoring the sweetness.
I've been writing about this issue since the beginning of this blog, for eleven years. Talking about this issue lead to a clash with top Hillary-hating Bernie-bro Jason Grote who became furious at me for suggesting that women might have obstacles to getting their work produced. I also got some nasty messages from friends of actor/playwright Nat Cassidy for pointing out that even though a clear majority of theater audiences are women, plays by men about manly-men are still favored. (I should admit here that I didn't get such a big response because my blog has such a big audience of theater people, but rather because Mr. Cassidy told his friends to have a look at my blog post that mentioned him. I really should hire him as a promotions manager.)

The hostility you get when you mention these issues might indicate a serious level of denial in the theater world about its own deep-rooted misogyny.

And it's funny how the rules never seem to work for women. 

Normally if your play wins the Pulitzer Prize it gets a run on Broadway, even if it's absolutely mediocre like Anna in the Tropics

Normally if the audience is composed of a certain majority demographic, the field caters to that demographic - much like the reason given for why so many big studio movies are all about superheroes and explosions is because adolescent males are the biggest movie-going demographic. 

Golly, it's almost like there is a deliberate pattern of discrimination against women.

Will there ever be a day when women are no longer hobbled by a world that forces us to compete with men backwards and in heels?