Audra McDonald

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Theatrical, film and television star Audra McDonald isn’t pleased about what she sees as Broadway’s silence on police misconduct and brutality. She wants prominent voices in the theatrical world to speak out on the issue and publicly said that last week. “The theater community comes together to raise awareness for lots of issues–LGBTQ issues, issues with immigration, things like that,” McDonald said to Gayle King on CBS This Morning, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “But when the George Floyd murder happened, it just felt a little too silent from the theater community. It absolutely bothered me.”

McDonald, who’s currently starring in CBS All Access’s “The Good Fight” has joined with friend and Broadway star LaChanze to create Black Theatre United, which now includes many of Broadway’s Black stars, writers and producers including Norm Lewis, Brandon Victor Dixon, Phylicia Rashad, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Wendell Pierce, Tamara Tunie and more.

“We thought, let’s bring our community together and start to raise awareness and work on the micro issue of systemic racism within the theater community, and then the macro issue of systemic racism within our country,” she told the Shadow and Act website.

The coalition has created several virtual events and a PSA regarding the 2020 census as part of its mission to put Black issues at the forefront of Broadway.” We’re very much underrepresented within the theatrical community,” she said. “There are very few people of color in casting offices, in publicity offices, in stage management, in the hair and makeup unions and in the carpentry union, and that’s just as important. We need to see representation on all sides.” 

“We also need to open up the pipeline to make sure that young people who want to have a career in the theater have access and resources to get there and that means more mentorship, more paid internships,” she continued.

Along with “The Good Fight,” soon to begin its fifth season, McDonald will be seen in “Respect,” the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson.