The percentage of minority actors on Broadway increased by 2 percent during the 2011-2012, according to a recent report. Still, only 23 percent of actors on Broadway are minorities.
This is all according to the second annual report released by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition. The study found that 16 percent of Broadway and other non profit theater roles went to African American actors, with Latino actors making up 3 percent of Broadway actors, and Asian American actors also making up 3 percent.
Though these numbers represent an improvement over last year, all have remained relatively constant for the past six Broadway seasons. The percentage of minorities actors also was at the high of 23 percent during the 2007/2008 season, and its lowest point over the six year period was 15 percent during the 2006/2007 season.
Singling out Broadway theaters (as opposed to Broadway and other non profit theaters combined), the numbers are slightly better. The total number of minority actors on Broadway is 25 percent. However, that represents no change from last year. 19 percent of Broadway actors are African American, 2 percent are Latino and 3 percent are Asian American.
TheatreMania.com spoke about these trend with Dan Bacalzo, who teaches a course on Asian American Theatre at New York University.
“I don’t think a lot of producers, both on Broadway and off, have given the matter much thought,” he said. I don’t think there’s any malicious intent involved; they simply don’t think about it.”
Bacalzo also spoke about the Roundabout Theatre Company’s recent production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” which included two white actors appearing in brown-face to parody forms of Indian dance.
“Do I think the Roundabout was racist? Not really,” he continued. “Do I think they didn’t think about it at all? Yes. And again that’s the issue.”