The Broadway League, the trade group representing Broadway and regional theater owners and producers, has added producer Brian Moreland and Kendra Whitlock Ingram, president and CEO of Milwaukee’s Marcus Performing Arts Center, to its Board of Governors.
Both new board members are people of color, and the announcement comes at a time when organizations representing Black theater workers are demanding an increased presence both onstage and offstage within the industry community.
“As Broadway looks to deepen audience engagement and plan for the future, the Board of Governors is pleased to welcome Kendra and Brian,” said Charlotte. St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. They share a profound commitment to the theatre, a passion for the performing arts, and wide ranging experience in the industry.”
According to Martin, both Moreland and Ingram are serving on the League’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, with Ingram having served on the organization’s 2016 Spring Road Conference Planning Committee.
Moreland, whose producing credits include Broadway’s The Lifespan of a Fact with Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale; Sea Wall/ A Life with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge; and The Sound Inside with Mary-Louise Parker, has been a proponent of extending Broadway’s reach to long-ignored communities. He had assembled a high-profile cast and creative team Phylicia Rashad, Leslie Uggams, Lynn Whitfield – for a revival at the Apollo Theater of Charles Randolph-Wright’s 2000 dramedy Blue when the coronavirus shutdown hit the city in March.
At the time, Moreland spoke to Deadline about his desire to see the Apollo declared an official Broadway venue (the Apollo management did not join that request). Read Moreland’s Deadline interview here.
In a statement today, Moreland said, “I am humbled and honored to be elected to the Board of Governors. Serving in a leadership role at the Broadway League, I believe that it is more important than ever to remember that we are stronger together. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring lasting change to the industry as we continue to tell stories that inspire and challenge audiences.”
As president and CEO of Milwaukee’s Marcus, Ingram heads one of the Midwest’s premier performing arts centers. She had previously held senior leadership positions with the Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver, Omaha Performing Arts, Shenandoah University, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony.
“I am honored to join the Broadway League Board of Governors, particularly during this unprecedented time in history,” Ingram said today. “I look forward to contributing my voice to the League, as we work to bring back live performances and advance racial equity in our industry.”
With the summer’s resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests over the spate of police killings of Black people including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Broadway and the national theater industry have seen increasing demands for anti-racism measures and better representation of BIPOC theater workers.
Among the organizations calling for systemic change are the Broadway Advocacy Coalition and a coalition called We See You, White American Theater. We See You last month released a detailed, 29-page set of demands and strategies to combat racism in the theater (read about it here).
Among the changes called for in the We See You document is increased BIPOC representation on the Broadway League.
Broadway and other theatrical venues across the nation are currently under pandemic lockdown. When Broadway performances were suspended on March 12, 31 existing productions including 8 previewing shows went dark. Eight productions were in rehearsals preparing to open during Spring 2020.
Many of the productions have announced plans to return or open in 2021. The League has officially decreed Broadway’s closing until January 2021, though an extension to Spring is likely.