After the lights went out on Broadway in 2020 due to the pandemic, and after the brutal killing of George Floyd, a stalwart collective of 300 theater professionals took the opportunity to shine a light in their own impactful way: with a signed petition calling out the Broadway community for its lack of diversity and outright racism. Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress LaChanze was one of the signatories who helped bring attention to the cause.
Beating the drum for issues that are close to her heart has been a hallmark of LaChanze’s career. Need proof? The award-winning mezzo-soprano is now taking up the leading role in a 1955 Alice Childress play that was prescient in its look at racism, identity and ego in the New York theater world. LaChanze will be using her ample gifts to breathe new life into the piece, which predates the Civil Rights and feminist movements. The play opens at The Roundabout Theater in New York City on October 29.
One interesting point the thespian makes in this intimate The Root Institute conversation is how she has grown weary of the limitations placed on the telling of Black stories, explaining that we’ve seen enough trauma.
Perhaps best known for her Tony Award-winning turn as Celie in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple, LaChanze believes activism has a place in the arts world and she chooses to use her platform as an example for others who may follow.
The lights are once again shining brightly on Broadway after a too-long hiatus. Let us hope that the theater community takes to heart the desire to see more diversity both on stage and behind the curtain.