Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great Women in the Theater

Amy Adams in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (borrowed from IMDb)

We've come a long way ladies, from the days of the "broadway baby" and the "casting couch".  Back then, a girl had to sleep her way into a position of even minor influence & power in the theater.  No more!

Crain's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York came out today, and among other fabulous women, in all sectors of the economy, was Nina Lannan.  Ms. Lannan is president of Nina Lannan Associates, who among other productions, managed Legally Blond (yay girl-power), and currently manages the hugely successful, Billy Elliot.

In addition to running her own business, Ms. Lannan is the current chair of The Broadway League.  Apparently, "She's the first woman in the trade associations 80-year history to hold that position." (Crain's XXV;38, p 20)

It's about time!  How many of you, in your days of academic and community theater found yourself surrounded by women?  How many auditions have you attended where 90% of those auditioning were women and 90% of those auditing were men?  I know that things have been changing and that more and more women are moving into leadership positions in the theater, but where have we been ladies?

What happened to the 78 women who were in the chorus of the production of The Music Man in my high school?  There were maybe 10 guys in the show, but most of them are still pretty active contributors to the theater community who are headed for leadership positions.  Maybe it's because girls in school productions face much more rejection (78 girls for and handful of roles), than their male counterparts (heck even some male parts went to girls because there weren't enough boys).    

I don't know why most of the leaders in the commercial theater industry are men, but I congratulate Ms. Nina Lannan for setting the stage for future generations of women.

 Which remarkable theater women (or men) would you like to tip your hat to?

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