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Video Script

Hey guys, my name is Cole Chase and Im here to talk about

gender equality on Broadway. Now, before I get started, let me tell you
a little about myself. Im a student at the University of Central Florida
and I love it. Im originally from Maine so I love being away from the
cold for a bit. I love sports and music, and just like you, Im a huge
theatre kid. I was in musicals and One act plays throughout high
school, winning several acting awards at festivals around the state. My
favorite show by far was Aladdin the Musical where I played Aladdin.
Theatre holds a big spot in my heart and thats why Im here to talk
about gender equality on Broadway to you.
So lets get started with a little basic Broadway history. The first
actual Broadway theater that opened was the Park Theater that was
built on Park Row. It opened up in 1810. When American theatre first
started, they would import European actors to play the roles until
eventually America began producing its own stars. The first long run
Broadway musical was The Elves, which starred females, Laura Keene
and Kate Reignolds. This is an early implication that females were
mainly represented on Broadway.
Now, before we get into talking about gender representation, let
me ask you a question. Do you think that both genders are being
equally represented currently on Broadway? Think of an answer right
now and keep this answer in your head. At the end of this presentation,
see if your opinion changes or stays the same.
Lets begin with one of the most popular Broadway musicals of
all time, Disneys The Lion King. Every aspiring actor or actress has
heard of this Tony Award winning Broadway musical. I studied the cast
of this musical and I noticed one thing. The guys in this performance
heavily outweighed the girls. There 30 males in the cast as to 21
Females. That may not seem like a large difference, but I then looked
at the larger roles. When it comes to either main characters or
supporting characters, males outnumber the females 10 to 5. There
are twice as many males in large roles compared to females. This leads
me to believe that mainly males are being represented on Broadway.
Did you know, according to an article written by Lauren
Gunderson, that male performers perform 65% of the roles on
Broadway? But more females attend the performances than males?
Now that gets you thinking doesnt it? Thats a straight fact that more
males perform more roles than females on Broadway. Gunderson also
states that less than 20% of female playwrights are chosen on and off-

Broadway. These facts lead to the point that theatre is predominantly

To back up this information, Catherine Lampell writes about an
actual study taken on male and female playwrights. The study was that
they would have two scripts, exactly the same, one with a female
name on it, and the other with a male name on it. The study found that
the artistic director would choose the script with the male name on it
the majority of the time.
Has your answer to my question changed or stayed the same so far?
Now, there are still a large number of musicals that are predominantly
female. Like Jarrah Hodge notes that one popular musical is The Sound
of Music, which has a predominantly female cast and the main
character is a strong female. Another musical she notes is The Color
Purple. Its about a young woman who endures years of suffering but
eventually finds her voice. This is a play that is predominantly female
that is actually about sexism. This was great for my research because
it gave me some feminine perspective, opposite of what I had found
So here I am telling you about these articles and other things Ive
found, but I have yet to mention the most important research of all.
How young actors like you and me feel about gender representation on
Broadway. So I recently interviewed a friend of mine back home, Jordan
Carpenter, who hopes to become a Broadway actress herself one day. I
asked her two short questions and she gave me the exact answer I was
hoping for. I first asked her, Do you think that both genders, are being
equally represented on Broadway today? Why or Why not? and she
replied, I would believe so, Not always in the same show, but I do
believe there is a pretty equal balance on stage! There are shows that
are more guy heavy like Les Mis, but there are also shows that are
predominantly female. Next, I asked her, How important do think
future actors are to keeping or making Broadway more equal? and she
replied, In my opinion everyone would love to keep up the equality. All
serious actors realize that shows deserve to be treated with the utmost
respect and that goes along with respecting cast mates. So I think
future actors totally get that gender equality on Broadway is important
to keep up!
These answers really intrigued me. If a fellow actor feels that
genders need to be equally represented on Broadway, it shows me that
future actors really care. She taught me right there that the future of
Broadway is in your hands. If you feel as if it should be equal, than you
have the power to make it equal.

Throughout my research I believe I have come to a conclusion.

Right now, I think Broadway is more dominated by males, but I think
its headed in the opposite direction. And I dont mean that it will be
predominantly female. I mean that its headed in the direction of total
gender equality. This research really changed my perspective of
theatre on Broadway. I began researching expecting to find that
musicals are mostly females, but I found the opposite. Now, its up to
you to help equalize the genders on Broadway.
Talk your friends into auditioning for that next musical. Get a
friend to take an acting class with you. Do anything to help make
theatre even better, if thats possible. If youre a guy, dont not do
theatre because you think its feminine. If youre a girl, dont think that
just because a show is mostly guys that you cant have an important
role in the production. Nowadays we all have the problem of wanting to
fit in, and if we forget about this, itll help make theatre more gender
Now, in closing, I urge you to get more of your friends into
theatre, work on making the next production that youre in more
gender equal. Get more people involved in theatre. If more people are
involved, it can only make the great art of theatre even better. Thank
you very much.