What it's Like Being the "Big Girl" in Theatre

What it's Like Being the "Big Girl" in Theatre

I know everyone has had their struggles in theatre. Even if you are the most talented, stunningly fit, and beautiful person on this earth, let's face it - none of us are perfect. I want to tell you my personal struggle. I’m writing this because I want to face reality and also, I know I’m not alone.

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Looking at Tokenism on Broadway

Looking at Tokenism on Broadway

Hopefully at this point, we all agree that minorities are underrepresented in media. People of color deserve to be represented. However, this very public and debated issue of minority casting has created a whole new controversy of its own: tokenism. Tokenism defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “actions that are the ​resul​t ​of pretendin​g to give advantag​e to those group​s in society who are often treated ​​unfairly​, in order to give the ​appearance​ of fairness​.”

This implies that people of color are being written/cast with intent of creating a safe appearance of diversity. Of course, this means that more characters are being created for people of color in entertainment, but not out of respect for their abilities or talents, but simply for their superficial value to the media. 

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"The Goin' is Great" is a Dance Short We Should All Watch

"The Goin' is Great" is a Dance Short We Should All Watch

I recently stumbled upon a short dance film that seemed to keep popping up on my Facebook feed. I finally watched the short and was overcome with a strange juxtaposition of anxiety and tranquility. These are two emotions that don’t often pair together, and I certainly wasn’t expecting them when I clicked on the two-and-a-half-minute dance clip. But the short showed so much more than just some beautiful choreography.

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A New Character Shoe is Celebratrating Diversity with One Giant Step

A New Character Shoe is Celebratrating Diversity with One Giant Step

In early June, LaDuca Shoes launched their new “cinnamon shoe,” a darker shade of their signature, sought-after character heels—a staple of Broadway performers, Radio City Rockettes, Knicks City Dancers, and celebrities like Laverne Cox and Katy Perry.  Black and beige were the previous “standard” shades for character shoes.  Dancers of color either settled for these two stock colors or painted their shoes to better match their skin tones.  Finally, the dancewear industry is starting to change their ways. 

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A Los Angeles Theatre Announced Their Cast for "Little Shop" and the Internet is not having it

A Los Angeles Theatre Announced Their Cast for "Little Shop" and the Internet is not having it

Yesterday, a Los Angeles county based theatre company announced their cast for their upcoming production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

While the Mogran-Wixson Theatre didn’t say which actors were playing which roles, let’s just say the cast lacks what you would usually see in most productions of the show.

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I Am Sick of Predators in High School Drama Clubs

I Am Sick of Predators in High School Drama Clubs

I wish I could look back at my high school theatre program and have fond memories, and reminisce about the first time I was coached in a scene, or sung for my whole school. For a few months after graduating, I could. But as I am currently writing this, I don’t feel fond towards my high school theatre program anymore. I get a feeling of dread when I remember that my theatre teacher was found to be engaging in sexual miscounduct with one of his students.

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Is it ever okay for non-disabled actors to play disabled roles?

Is it ever okay for non-disabled actors to play disabled roles?

We are familiar with the repellent days of “blacking up” – the disabled actors’ equivalent is “cripping up”, a term used by acting activists to highlight that it is not acceptable for a non-disabled actor to mimic impairments, then win an Oscar.

The acting union Equity has said that in casting “disabled” roles, “every avenue” should be considered to cast a disabled actor. Yet the challenges for disabled actors and the representation of a disability experience in film are not isolated to casting. Fundamental barriers to auditioning limit spaces for disabled actors; for those who do get work, it is still mostly for disabled roles written by non-disabled writers, which may present stereotypical or unrepresentative characters.

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The Fat Girl’s Diatribe Against the Theatre Community

The Fat Girl’s Diatribe Against the Theatre Community

The theatrical industry is, on the surface, seen as an inclusive environment full of openly accepting members who desire to experience the same kind of public appreciation an eighth- grade version of myself so desperately craved. As a young artist, it has only taken me less than a handle of auditions and feedback to realize that theatre was not the fat girl’s sport.

If you speak to the choreographer, they’d say that it’s visually unappealing to have an uneven amount of  “heavier” people on the stage than the other. If you speak to the costume designer, they say that it’s more difficult to create flattering costumes for the “common figure” a fat girl carries. If you look in the ensemble of a majority of running musicals, you will rarely find anyone that doesn’t fit an “average” body type to the production staff’s discretion.

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Being Autistic in the Theatre Community

Being Autistic in the Theatre Community

There are many things you could say about who I am as a person. You could say that I love the art of theatre, especially playwriting and still occasionally acting. Or you could say that beyond theatre and writing, I am also a die-hard fan of The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Batman and Harry Potter who is severely addicted to caffeine. (Although I will add that if that’s the worst thing I’m addicted to, I’d say I’m in relatively good shape.) Or more recently, you could also say that I am a writer here at On Stage who writes columns and occasional reviews that are read by a fairly large audience of theatre lovers that is growing every day. Those are just a few basic and important facts about me that are especially important for anyone who cares to know what kind of person I am.

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Being an Introverted Actor

Being an Introverted Actor

I am an actor. That being said, I also consider myself to be an introvert. This has caused confusion among people who only know me from endeavours outside of the theatrical world. Telling people about the show I’m in, or that I’d like to pursue a career in theatre often leads to responses like “You know, actors have to talk a lot right?” or “You’re going to have to learn to be more outgoing if you want to do that.” I never really know how to respond to this, or where to start, as these people probably have misunderstandings in two areas. One being what introversion really is and the other being what being a performer really entails. 

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The Need for More Native American Theatre

The Need for More Native American Theatre

I have been trying to be better about learning about Native American culture and stories, and one of the primary ways I learn about anything is reading. I've had "Seventh Generation: An Anthology of Native American Plays" for years, and it was my slow read over the course of this past November, a month I traditionally set aside for Native American stories. And what did I learn? Native American culture is alive and vibrant in theatre. Unfortunately, it is also almost invisible.

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“I Was Most Alive With You” Shines with a Shadow Cast

“I Was Most Alive With You” Shines with a Shadow Cast

My journey for Deaf Talent leads me to Playwrights Horizons in New York City. ‘“I Was Most Alive With You” is the work of writer Craig Lucas. It features a Deaf (and deaf) character, and an entire shadow cast that signs the dialogue from a balcony overlooking the action. Lucas was inspired to write this piece, and learn about Deaf culture, after watching actor Russell Harvard. He immersed himself in the language and people, and it shows in this touching and in-depth look into the Deaf World and the world of addiction. Lucas’ hard work pays off with simple references that those who live in the Deaf World will get with ease but gives those who don’t know a small lesson.

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Sondheim's Views on Whitewashing are as Antiquated as He is

Sondheim's Views on Whitewashing are as Antiquated as He is

Let me make this clear, I mean all disrespect towards Mr. Sondheim with this column. I’ll gladly recognize him as a monumental figure in musical theatre history, but in the same breath mention that he has massively disappointed me.

In an interview with St. Louis On The Air , Sondheim talked about some of the protests against whitewashing in productions of West Side Story and The King and I.

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There are Plenty of Reasons and Ways to Cast Performers of Color Right Now

There are Plenty of Reasons and Ways to Cast Performers of Color Right Now

This weekend I had the pleasure to see both “Come from Away” and “Dear Evan Hanson.” Rest assured, this piece isn’t a review on either (or both) shows because if you’re reading this, you probably already know the main plot points to each. Instead, this is to highlight how casting people of color makes sense in virtually ANY scenario of ANY show.

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Having Fun with Gilbert & Sullivan in 2018

Having Fun with Gilbert & Sullivan in 2018

People often ask, who were Gilbert and Sullivan? Or what are Gilbert and Sullivan? My best answer is usually in comparison with William Shakespeare. They don’t have the same style, however, in many ways, they’re treated the same in terms of them both being their own genre in a sense. I wasn’t introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas until more recently, but they have left a unique impression on me. I knew of several of their operas in the past but had no idea these two men were behind the comic and iconic madness of these shows.

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