NEW YORK (CBSNew York) — A new play titled “Thoughts of a Colored Man” begins to perform on Broadway Friday night.
It comes amid the struggle to bring more and more meaningful diversity and inclusion into the theater community.
“Thoughts of a Colored Man” explores a single day in the lives of seven men as their stories unfold and intersect in Brooklyn.
“There is so much humor in this piece. There is a lot of singing in this piece. There’s a lot of slam poetry in this piece,” said Brian Moreland, the play’s lead producer.
Moreland is a champion of shows with unique voices. He says longstanding problems of inequality and racism in the theater community need to be solved.
“To make sure these stories are told,” he said.
This play arrives on Broadway without a previous off-Broadway run. Some New York City theatergoers are unfamiliar with it, so to publicize it, a creative promotional campaign was launched.
The show partnered with the YMCA of Greater New York to bring a mobile barber shop and free haircuts to Brooklyn and the Bronx and talk about the production.
“You’re going to see yourself on that stage, so we appreciate you all. We can’t wait to see you all,” actor Tristen “Mack” Wilds said.
Playwright Keenan Scott II said Broadway needs to turn a page.
“The reason I made this piece is because I didn’t see myself represented in the American theater,” he said.
“Diversity is the most important thing, isn’t it? Not only on stage, but also backstage, in the offices,” says Moreland.
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 in the Broadway pit, how many colored people did you see?” said Mark.
The organization helps find new generations of Broadway creatives from underrepresented communities.
“Through mentorship, education, scholarships,” he said.
“Twenty years from now, I hope there will be more Brian Morelands, and by that I don’t just mean what my outer shell looks like, but also just people taking risks. People taking a chance on new people, new things, new stories,” said Moreland.
Making sure Broadway is on the road to inclusion and belonging across the board.