A new report on racial representation in New York theaters found that little has changed in terms of the over-representation of white actors, playwrights, and directors. (Evan Agostini)
NEW YORK – A new report on racial representation in New York theaters found that little has changed in terms of the over-representation of white actors, playwrights and directors .
The annual study on racial representation in city theaters, “The Visibility Report: Racial Representation on NYC Stages” by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition, analyzed 18 of the largest non-profit theaters as well as Broadway companies in New York during the 2017-18 season.
About 61% of all roles in New York theaters were for white actors , a rate more than double the white population in the city (32.1% of residents). According to the study, 23.2% of the roles were for black actors, 6.9% for Asian Americans and 6.1% for Latino actors. This represents a slight improvement over the previous season analyzed, in which there were 67% white actors, 18.6% black actors, 7.3% Asian actors and 5% Latino actors.
Overall, about 80% of Broadway and off-Broadway authors, as well as 85.5% of directors, were white during the 2017-18 season . Last year's report – from the 2016-17 season – found that 86.8% of all Broadway and off-Broadway plays were by white playwrights and 87.1% of all hired directors were white.
The 2017-18 season did see some improvements for people of color, including the fact that Young Jean Lee became the first Asian-American playwright to be produced on Broadway and the Tony award-winning musical “The Band's Visit” was presented. that takes place in the Middle East. But the report cautioned against celebrating examples that “generally serve as the image of diversity for a particular season, fueling a false sense of progress.”