NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new play titled “Thoughts of a Colored Man” begins performances on Broadway Friday night.
It comes amid the struggle to bring greater and more meaningful diversity and inclusion to the theater community.READ MORE: Broadway Coming Back With Diverse Voices On And Off Stage: ‘This Is Just The Beginning’
“Thoughts of a Colored Man” explores a single day in the lives of seven men as their stories unfold and intersect in Brooklyn.
“There’s so much humor in this play. There’s a whole lot of singing in this play. There’s a whole lot of slam poetry in this play,” said Brian Moreland, the play’s lead producer.
Moreland is a champion of shows with unique voices. He says longstanding issues of inequality and racism in the theater community must be fixed.
“To really make sure that these stories are being told,” he said.
This play arrives on Broadway without a prior off-Broadway run. Some New York City theatergoers are not familiar with it, so to get the word out, a creative promotional campaign was launched.
The show partnered with the YMCA of Greater New York to bring a mobile barbershop and free haircuts to Brooklyn and the Bronx and talk about the production.
“You’re gonna see yourself on that stage, so we appreciate y’all. We can’t wait to see y’all,” actor Tristen “Mack” Wilds said.READ MORE: Gennean Scott Named Broadway League’s First Director Of Equity, Diversity And Inclusion
Playwright Keenan Scott II said Broadway needs to turn a page.
“The reason why I created this play is because I didn’t see myself represented in American theater,” he said.
“Diversity is the most important thing, right? Not just onstage, but backstage, in the offices,” Moreland said.
Zane Mark is a Broadway composer, arranger and orchestrator who is also a founding member of MUSE, Musicians United for Social Equity.
“When you leaned over into the Broadway pit, how many people of color did you see?” Mark said.
The organization helps find new generations of Broadway creatives from underrepresented communities.
“Through mentorship, education, scholarships,” he said.
“Twenty years from now, I hope that there are more Brian Morelands, and by that I mean not just what my outer shell looks like, but also just people who are risk-takers. People who take a chance on new people, new things, new narratives,” Moreland said.MORE NEWS: Broadway Community, Unite New York Rally In Protest For Racial Justice, Equity
Making sure Broadway is on its way to inclusion and belonging across the board.