History was made Sunday evening, September 26, when playwright Matthew López became the first Latine to win Best Play in the history of the Tony Awards.
López’s play, The Inheritance, which won a total of four Tonys at the 74th annual event, examines the love between two gay men in New York City as they live through the impact that the 1980s AIDS epidemic brought to them a generation later.
During his acceptance, López, who is Puerto Rican, used the moment to tell audiences that our stories are “underrepresented on Broadway” and that he would like to see this change sooner than later.
“This is the 74th Tony Awards and yet I am only the first Latiné writer to win in this category,” he said during his acceptance speech. “I say that … to highlight the fact that the Latiné community is underrepresented in American theater, in New York theater, and most especially on Broadway. We constitute 19 percent of the United States population, and we represent about two percent of the playwrights having plays on Broadway in the last decade. This must change.”
Twitter was quick to respond to the historical moment, including a post from One Day at a Time showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett.
Earlier this month, Latine theater artists released a PSA called Despiértate about the lack of representation on Broadway. According to the latest report from the Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC), 93.6 percent of the producers and 100 percent of general managers on Broadway from the 2018-19 season were white. Those numbers reflected other positions on Broadway, too. For example, white designers were hired at a rate of 92.6 percent.
“Storytelling is what we do best, but we need a platform and stages to tell these stories on,” theater artists from our communities said during the PSA. “And on those stages, the audiences will find themselves in the details and the universality of our storytelling. Get to know us.”