A Tip Of The Hat To Hollywood for Their Latest Heroes.
Over the last few years, Hollywood has taken a lot of slings and arrows for its lack of diversity and inclusion, in front of the camera as well as behind. (And while I’m proud to say that Broadway is doing better . . . we’ve still got a ways to go. Please don’t think I’m letting us off the hook! Also, listen to Lynn Ahrens school me on how each one of us can play a part in this initiative here.)
But recently, I watched two movies from our sister industry that made me think something is changing for the better. And I see it as a trend that will affect story-telling on both coasts and all over the world.
Warning: this blog contains spoiler alerts, so if you’re thinking of seeing either film, come back to this blog after you do. (Or, shameless plug alert – just join our list of subscribers to get the blog emailed to you so you can be reminded to come back.)
What do these films have in common?
Yes, both are of the suspense-horror genre.
Yes, both were medium budget properties under $20mm.
And yes, the people who held the secrets to the problems of both films were people with “disabilities” . . . or as I think they should be referred to in futures scenarios . . . “superabilities.”
In A Quiet Place, the daughter of our protagonist (who ends up losing his fight with the “monster”) believes she’s putting the family in jeopardy because she’s deaf but ends up saving the day . . . because she’s deaf.
In Birdbox, Sandra Bullock reaches the end of her harrowing and blindfolded journey down rapids toward a group of people who have found a way to survive despite this movie’s monsters . . . she discovers that the reason they all survived is . . . because they were blind.
What these movies and hopefully the many more that follow (along with tv shows, books, and yes, Broadway, Broadway, Broadway) show is that the ability to fly, turn into an Iron Man, wave a wand, chant “Expecto Patronum,” or make a Dementor disappear . . . ain’t the only superpowers out there to tell stories about.
A superpower can be anything, including what so many people might think is not a superpower at all.
So as you look to tell stories, look for those with superabilities as well. Like Birdbox and A Quiet Place, you’ll stand out. (Just hopefully not for long, because we need these niche stories to become more mainstream.)
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.