Monday, May 23, 2011

Open Letter to the Broadway Community (and Nick Adams)

Very recently a bill was passed in Tennessee that made it against the law to use the term "gay" in the classroom. I was slightly surprised at this, but what I was appalled by was the harsh & horrible way some members of the theatre community responded.

First off, let me say that I don't think this bill is right. I think it its ridiculous. Secondly, let me say that this bill was NOT something that was voted on by the public. It was presented, voted on & passed by elected officials.

I have lived in Tennessee my entire life, but I am a lover of theatre & the arts. I do my best to get to New York to see shows whenever I can afford it, but the fact remains that money is tight and a majority of the professional shows I see are tours.

Nick Adams, upon hearing of the newly passed bill, decided to call for a boycott of all tours coming to Tennessee. When I read his tweet my heart broke. I'm a fan of Nick's, but I feel the need to point a few things out to him, along with anyone else that might decide that he is right.

My first point has already been made: the public did NOT vote on this bill. It is also important to point out that most people in Tennessee simply cannot afford to take a trip to New York to see a show. Then add in the fact that most of the people who would have voted for that bill (had the public been given the chance to vote on it) couldn't care less if a show like Priscilla: Queen of the Desert or anything like it came to Tennessee. I'd even venture to say they'd be thrilled if it didn't.

In fact, the people you would be hurting would be people like myself, who live for a small chance to see a live performance.

You'd be hurting the young people who live in the state who might be struggling with their sexuality & need someone to relate to. What happened to "It Gets Better"? You'd rather never come to Tennessee & let those young people feel even more abandoned than they already do?

Take a page out of the Civil Rights Movement. People faced that. They went to the problem & made a statement. They sat down in the "Whites Only" restaurants & sat at the front of the bus.

The only thing that those of us living in Tennessee can do is vote at the next election. But the members of the theatre community, you have the opportunity to do more. Perform shows that break stereotypes & educate people. And shouldn't you be trying to educate people who may not have a chance to be educated otherwise?

Don't boycott tours to Tennessee. It isn't the way to fix the problem. It only punishes the innocents.

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