Musical Theatre Sunday School: In Pandora’s Box, There Was Also Hope…

Lea Salonga and George Takei in ALLEGIANCE. Photo credit: Henry DiRocco

Lea Salonga and George Takei in ALLEGIANCE. Photo credit: Henry DiRocco

Many of us are familiar with the Greek myth of Pandora, a woman who opened a container holding all of the evils that would become manifest in the world. (Why does mythology place always slander women by placing the burden of sin in their hands? Eve too received what some might call a bum rap.) At the bottom of the box or jar, was hope. And while the situation surrounding The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ now-cancelled production of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s The Mikado is just one sign of the insidious prejudices that still lurk in our midst, still there is hope.

One recent article I read that is a testament to that hope appeared in The New York Times on 10 September: “This Broadway Season, Diversity Is Front and Center”. The article discusses productions like On Your Feet!, Allegiance, The Color Purple, Amazing Grace, Shuffle Along, Hamilton, The Gin Game, Hughie, School of Rock and Spring Awakening, which give voice to Latin American, Japanese American, African American, Caucasian and Deaf narratives.

In the article, Lea Salonga – the first Asian woman to win a Tony Award – is quoted as saying:

Whether it’s providential, coincidence, or meant to be, the fact is what’s happening on Broadway is so diverse it’s almost utopian. It shows how many stories are out there that should be told, and can be told — so many experiences that make America what it is.

The telling of diverse stories is, of course, not only a challenge for Americans, but also one that faces us all. So, if you’re the kind of person who’d like to share your story with us, what do you do to encourage diversity in the arts in your community? Maybe your groundbreaking work will inspire us all.

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