As Broadway Returns, Shows Rethink and Restage Depictions of Race

New references to slavery were added to the play “The Lehman Trilogy,” about the rise and fall of a financial family, after earlier versions of the play were criticised for downplaying this connection. a character now warns, “Everything that was built here was built on a crime”.

Many shows are creating new diversity-related staff positions, and industry leaders have promised to create more opportunities for artists of colour, as Broadway reopens this season with a record number of plays written by African-Americans. Racism, while at the forefront of the protests in 2017, is not the only issue being revisited.

The hit musical “Jagged Little Pill,” based on the Alanis Morissette album, has attempted to explore race (the story revolves around a white family with an adopted Black daughter) as well as gender identity in the same time.

It was criticised when a character who appeared to be nonbinary before the Broadway production of “Jagged” was more clearly depicted as female after the show’s debut on Broadway. This was met with an announcement from the producers last month that they had brought on a new dramaturgical team, which included nonbinary and transgender people.

Diablo Cody, the author of the musical’s book, welcomed the opportunity to revisit the material: A film can only be finished once the script has been written. The musical’s family argument on transracial adoption was updated during the shutdown. According to Ms. Cody, “there has been such a cultural sea change since I wrote this in 2017 to 2018.”

Is there enough of a difference? “Lehman” opened to raves this month, but some critics once again voiced their displeasure with the play’s treatment of slavery.

Are the changes complete? Possibly not, at least in the case of long-running television shows.

According to “Hamilton” actor Sam Iglehart, “a show used to be frozen, but the show is never frozen now.” While “the shows” are constantly changing, they will continue to change with the times.