Read on for more theatre news you may have missed in today’s headlines.
Juilliard Black Alumni Association Formed to Address Racism at Drama School
Twenty-five Black alumni from The Juilliard School have formed the Juilliard Black Alumni Association, organized in response to a triggering workshop held at the school last September in which participants were asked to pretend they were slaves. The workshop was seen as indicative of a tradition of harm against Black students by a department built on systemic racism. In a recent letter to the Juilliard Board of Trustees, the JBAA outlined an action plan with steps for the school to decolonize the drama department, including diversification of faculty and staff, a clear code of conduct with consequences, and employment of Black counselors. JBAA requests a collaboration with Juilliard to help create and equitable and inclusive conservatory. “The work to dismantle white supremacy is vast—we do not take it lightly and are whole-heartedly prepared to meet this moment as we create a space that is not only inclusive, but one that celebrates the diversity of the human experience. We sincerely hope you will join us,” the letter concludes. The founding members of JBAA are: Maechi Aharanwa, Bobbi Baker, Jasmine Batchelor, Francois Battiste, Nicole Beharie, Brittany Bradford, Danielle Brooks, Jimonn Cole, Lee Edward Colston II, Danaya Esperanza, Brandon Hall, Corey Hawkins, Joaquina Kalukango, Brandon Gill, Jules Latimer, Vella Lovell, Chris Myers, Teyonah Parris, Johnny Lynn Ramey Jr., Medina Senghore, Stacey Scott, Austin Smith, Carolyn Michelle Smith, Desean Terry, and Sheldon N. Woodley.
Taylor Louderman’s Musical Theatre Writing Contest Will Release EP
Write Out Loud, the annual new musical theatre writing competition founded by Tony nominee Taylor Louderman, will release an EP of three winning singles from the 2020 contest, all performed by Tony nominees. The album, available digitally on Spotify and Apple Music June 18, features the tracks “Coffee in the Morning” by Matt Copley, performed by Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies); “Samson” by Ethan Carlson, performed by Tony nominee Ariana DeBose (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) and Louderman (Mean Girls); and “Sang Along” by Alexander Sage Oyen, performed by Tony nominee Lilli Cooper (Tootsie). A live concert of tunes from the 2020 competition will premiere at Feinstein’s/54 Below in Fall 2021, with full details and casting to be announced.
Connecticut’s Goodspeed Musicals Reopens Doors in September
Goodspeed Musicals will welcome audiences back for in-person performances beginning September 24 with A Grand Night for Singing: A Celebration of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Rob Ruggiero will direct the Tony-nominated revue of tunes collected from beloved R&H musicals, such as Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Carousel, The King and I, and Cinderella. Tickets go on sale June 24. For more information about A Grand Night for Singing, or about Goodspeed’s current outdoor summer concert series, visit Goodspeed.org.
Chandra Wilson and Greg Berlanti Join The Actors Fund Board of Trustees
Two new trustees were approved June 9 at The Actors Fund’s annual meeting. Writer-director-producer Greg Berlanti, who started his career as a staff writer on Dawson’s Creek and now has a record-breaking 17 scripted shows on the air at once, and actor Chandra Wilson, best known for her role as Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, will be joining the board of trustees of the national human services organization. Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell was also re-elected as chairman of the board. The annual meeting also reviewed the impact the pandemic has had on the entertainment industry and outlined the steps needed to foster increased stability within the community. Over the last year, The Actors Fund has distributed more than $21.6 million in direct financial assistance to more than 16,300 entertainment arts professionals, more than what is normally granted over a 10-year period.
Plus: Gossip Girl is back, in the form of an anonymous Instagram account to spread scandal among the new crop of young, privileged Manhattanites who are gathering on the steps of the Met. Check out the trailer below, featuring Tony winner Donna Murphy as the headmaster at Constance Billard. xoxo.