In marking its first year since the organization’s launch, Black Theatre United has announced a summit that has been focused on reform as curtains come back up. BTU held a Commercial Theatre Summit from March to June 2021 to establish industry-wide standards around equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging with a focus on Black individuals as the theater community moves into the future.
Led by NYU Law School’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Director Kenji Yoshino and facilitated by BTU founding members, attendees included representatives from The Broadway League (Charlotte St. Martin), Shubert Organization (Bob Wankel and Julio Peterson), Nederlander Organization (Nick Scandalios, Anthony LaTorella and Christina Selby), Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth and Hal Goldberg), Disney Theatrical Productions (Thomas Schumacher and Anne Quart), John Gore Organization/Broadway Across America (Lauren Reid), ASU Gammage (Colleen Jennings-Roggensack), The Telsey Office (Bernie Telsey), Tara Rubin Casting (Tara Rubin), X Casting (Victor Vazquez), Stewart/Whitley (Benton Whitley), Actors’ Equity Association (Mary McColl, Kate Shindle and E. Faye Butler), Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (Laura Penn), Local One IATSE (Eileen Macdonald, Bobby Score, Richard F. Rogers and Wilber Graham), Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Local 798, IATSE (Daniel Dashman and Angela Johnson) and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 (Pete Donovan).
Attendees also included producers Maggie Brohn, Stephen Byrd, Kristin Caskey, Liz Curtis, Sue Frost, Alia Jones-Harvey, Tom Kirdahy, Brian Moreland, Ron Simons and David Stone as well as directors Mark Brokaw, Rachel Chavkin, Lear DeBessonet, Michael Greif, Jerry Mitchell, Lonny Price and Charles Randolph-Wright. Choreographers Christopher Gattelli, Denis Jones and Sergio Trujillo, designers David Brian Brown and Cookie Jordan, composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Tom Kitt, Robert Lopez, Zane Mark and Jeanine Tesori, playwrights Lynn Nottage and Doug Wright as well as music directors Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus.
BTU was formed in June 2020 and has since then presented events, joined forces with other organizations in theatrical initiatives, released an anthem and music video and much more. This nonprofit social advocacy organization is devoted to mobilizing awareness, ensuring accountability, undertaking advocacy and inspiring action.
BTU’s founding members include Black actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage managers: Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Brandon Victor Dixon, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Adriane Lenox, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Phylicia Rashad, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.