How many women do THIS on Broadway?
There has been a lot of conversation in the past few years about the disproportionate number of women writers on Broadway, women directors on Broadway, and even strong central female characters on Broadway.
Since like-attracts-like, one of the greatest lessons I got about this subject was from Lynn Ahrens, who said “Ken, you’re a guy . . . whether you know it or not, you may feel naturally inclined to go to another guy, especially if the biggest pool of applicants are men. So before you make a decision about staffing any position, just take another beat to set aside any habitual instinct and consider anyone and everyone for the job.”
Pretty amazing advice, don’t you think?
This got me to thinking about the like-attracts-like concept. I’ve written about a similar phenomenon before, in this blog about how to get more stories about people of color on our stages (which involves getting more writers of color opportunities to write those stories).
So back to how to get more women directors, more women writers, etc. represented on Broadway.
I’m not sure I have the answer, but I can tell you for sure what one of the problems is.
I had my research team (led by my Associate Producer Valerie (yes, a female) Novakoff) dig into the trenches of IBDB.com and they came back with this statistic.
In the last 5 years, only 28.46% of all Broadway commercial plays or musicals had female Lead Producers.
Although this is better than the 6.4% of CEOs that are women on the Fortune 500, it’s still tremendously disappointing.
Not only because we need more equality in the folks leading shows, but because if there were more women Lead Producing shows, there would, I’d bet, be more women directors, more women writers and more female stories on Broadway.
Now, that’s the easy part.
The hard part is, as always, what to do with the data once we have it.
Do we offer young Associate Producer scholarships . . . giving qualified applicants the title credit without requiring a money-raise to get them started?
Do we ask high schools around the country to assign a Producer to their high school musicals, and encourage them to choose a young woman?
How do we leverage the accomplishment of that 28.46%?
What are your ideas on how we level the producing field?
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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.