Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Today's NYT

Charles Isherwood, in his well-intentioned account of the lack of strong female roles on Broadway this year, makes a glaring omission. After lamenting the unequal playing field for actresses in Tony-nominated productions, he writes that

"behind the scenes, things were marginally better this season. Susan Stroman and Kathleen Marshall each earned double nominations for directing and choreographing: Ms. Stroman for The Scottsboro Boys and Ms. Marshall for Anything Goes. The play-direction category also has a respectable two female nominees, or at least one and a half…Women are reasonably well represented in the design categories, too."

Bizarrely, writers seem to have no place in Isherwood’s Tony ledger. No nominated writer, in any category, is female, yet he finds that stat unworthy of mention. But if no meanigful roles exist for women, ought we not examine the place where roles are born—i.e., the (lamentably, effectively male) writer’s imagination? Isherwood, it seems, would benefit from a gander at Theresa Rebeck’s 2010 speech on the plight of female playwrights.

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