Timeout Magazine’s got a cover story this week on why Chicago theater is so white. From the article:
“And with the fame came mythology: Any grubby group of college-pal actors with a little money and the right mix of talent and pluck could start a theatrical revolution. But there’s one little word that goes unspoken in this much-hyped lore. Add it in, and the story would go like this: A bunch of (white) college-buddy actors form their own (white) troupe…. Because these acting ensembles are friendship-based, they tend to also be race-based.
As a result, we get a group of college friends forming the House Theatre, which has 27 white ensemble members and one Latina member. Years later, those college pals become an established company like, say, Lookingglass, which, 18 years after its start, still doesn’t have any nonwhite ensemble members. Thirty years later, they’re a national institution like Steppenwolf, a 35-member ensemble featuring only one nonwhite member. In trying to win the coveted title of “the next Steppenwolf”—a phrase that’s become synonymous with “the next big thing”—storefront troupes inadvertently repeat the same pattern.”
Reminds me of some of the same issues I had with Sita Ram.