“For as long as I’ve been attending theater in the city, my name and brown skin have made me the target of bullies and racists,” writes critic Jose Solis of Broadway News. Solis has penned a detailed indictment of the theater scene, which is pleased to think of itself as maybe the most progressive corner of an aggressively liberal industry. “Theater clearly has a people of color problem,” Solis says. “When I see a show with a white friend, people often ask the friend if they brought me to the show and ask me if it’s my first time at the theater.”
I’ve been asked if I’m with the catering staff at theater critics events, been chastised by angry ushers to turn my cell phone off, even if I have never taken my device out of my pocket during a performance, and often been asked if I’m sure I belong in the orchestra, as ushers point me to the mezzanine. My skin has become so thickened by the mistreatment and rudeness of theater employees that I might as well be a walking callus.
Remember all this the next time a theater person with a shiny trophy in his hands denounces all the haters, xenophobes, and racists out there, humiliates Mike Pence for attending a show, or brags about how loving and inclusive the theater world is.