Cracking the Nut

I saw a big Broadway musical two nights ago and had lots of fun. But I couldn’t shake off my feeling of unsettlement when I realized that I was looking at 19 men onstage and NO women. It felt so WRONG. Okay, I knew going in that the show is about boys. I’ve even seen it before. It’s based on one of my favorite movies growing up (more for the crush I had on the male lead in my teens.) The difference this time around was I was watching through different eyes. Eyes that are not okay with the gender imbalance presented on the New York stage and how this speaks to a much larger issue of women in entertainment.

I’m not into statistics and I know this isn’t a new topic – but it is an important one. I’m going to touch briefly on non-musical land because that is what I’m most familiar with. Plays. There are 11 plays on Broadway right now. Five of them have not a single woman in their cast – that’s 45% of the representation on Broadway. Four of the five are comprised of two different all male casts doing plays in repertory. I like the repertory idea. And the actors are mesmerizing. I’m interested in seeing the productions, I’ll admit it. But there are NO WOMEN AT ALL in these shows.

How is it that in a country where over 50% of the population is female, we are so grossly misrepresented in the entertainment world? A lot of what I read on the subject says that women aren’t as marketable as men, don’t sell as many tickets. I don’t buy it. There are lots of fantastic women writers, directors and actors doing great work in smaller theaters around New York. I make it a point to see as much of their work as I can and I’ve had some amazing experiences. But we can’t seem to crack the big nut.