At BroadwayCon, Hillary Clinton Celebrates Women in Theater

“There’s a lot to worry about right now in our country and around the world,” Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, told a pac...


“There’s a lot to worry about right now in our country and around the world,” Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, told a packed house of about 500 people gathered in the great hall. Manhattan Center ballroom Friday afternoon. “And I think we need theater and the arts now more than ever.”

Clinton was speaking at the seventh BroadwayCon — an annual haven for the most avid theater fans — where she hosted a panel celebrating women on Broadway. It was the first in-person edition of the three-day event, which continues through Sunday, since 2020. (The 2021 edition was virtual.)

The event allows musical theater fans — many of whom are dressed up as favorite characters like Elphaba from “Wicked” and Anne Boleyn from “Six” — to meet and take photos with the stars of their favorite shows.

Clinton led an hour-long panel titled “Here’s to the Ladies,” a riff to a Stephen Sondheim lyric from the song “The ladies having lunchfrom the musical “Company”. Among the participants were actresses Vanessa Williams (who plays the role of the first lady of “POTUS: Or, behind every big fool are seven women trying to keep him alive”), Julie White (who plays the White House Chief of Staff in “POTUS”), Donna Murphy (the veteran stage actress who recently appeared in the TV series “The Gilded Age” and “Inventing Anna”) and LaChanze (“Trouble in Mind”).

There was a round of applause and a 20-second standing ovation after Clinton entered the room, sitting down in a plush white chair propped up by an illuminated Hollywood-style BroadwayCon sign. Clinton, a noted theater fan, said she attended performances of “Plaza Suite” and “POTUS” last week, and “looks forward to seeing many more shows in the weeks to come.” . (She received a round of applause to “POTUS” on Wednesday night after the scene in which Lilli Cooper, who plays a White House reporter, reviews the accomplishments of the first lady, played by Williams, and asks, “Why isn’t there not you President?”)

Next, Clinton asked LaChanze and Williams to discuss their work with the nonprofit organization Black Theater United; the group, formed over six months of Zoom meetings during the pandemic, aims to combat racism in the theater community.

“There’s so much to be proud of,” Clinton told them, “with the changes, awareness and awareness and most effectively to hire, retain and recruit more diversity.”

The discussion then turned to women’s motherhood experiences, including work-life balance. White extended the conversation beyond the stage, noting that women with careers have to sort out child care, relying on family when they’re unavailable. “It’s an ongoing problem,” she joked, saying she thought one of the two nursing mothers in “POTUS” — one of whom appears onstage — “was actually pumped for his hearing”.

White and Williams also discussed what it was like working with a mostly female creative team for “POTUS,” which was written by Selina Fillinger and directed by Susan Stroman.

“It’s a feeling of ease — you walk into a room and it’s just women,” Williams said. “You can relax, be funny, ask questions, probe, and know there’s no judgment because you’re a woman.”

White added: “There was no right or wrong. There was none of that subtle patriarchy that’s always there, like, ‘Do it right, lady‘ – in other words, what is my view” of what is right.

Clinton spoke about her own experience as an up-and-coming lawyer navigating the workaholic environment of Washington, sharing the story of an older lawyer telling her to leave her door closed when she went out to dinner so everyone think she was still working. .

“I said, ‘But aren’t they eating?’ “, did she say. “He said, ‘No, no, you don’t understand, it’s all just perception. When you come back from dinner, walk around the office and announce out loud to people, “What are you all doing? Can I do anything to help? Even if you’ve had dinner for two hours, they’ll think you’re back. They think you never left.

“My God,” Clinton said to applause. “It’s exhausting – just do your job, then go home!”

White noted that she became more comfortable defending herself as she progressed in her career. When she was young, she said, “You always look at the director like, ‘I hope he likes me,'” she said. “Then you grow and evolve and become more interested in what you want to say.”

She said she’s become known for not taking notes from directors “because the power is in me, the creation is in me”, adding, “I’ve gotten really irritating now!”

Clinton concluded the event by asking each of the women what they hadn’t done yet and wanted to do.

“Besides the show where you and I solve crimes?” White asked. “I want to play the President of the United States.”

“Well, I can give you a lot of notes on that,” Clinton said.

“You know I won’t take them!” White responded to applause.

Elexa Bancroft, a 35-year-old artist from Atlanta, attended the panel during a break from selling her mixed media art in the downstairs market. “I needed this female empowerment in my life so badly,” she said. “Being a young female entrepreneur myself and trying to bring my art to the world and seeing how far these women have come in their work is really inspiring.”

Other events scheduled for the weekend include ‘When Broadway Was Black: Celebrating the Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way’; a presentation by author and cultural historian Caseen Gaines on Saturday afternoon that celebrates the centennial of the 1921 musical “Shuffle Along,” one of Broadway’s first successful all-black musicals; and “Dreaming the Queer Future: TGNC Representation and Playwrights in the American Theater,” a Sunday morning discussion that includes the Tony-nominated actress L Morgan Lee of “A Strange Loop” and playwright Roger Q. Mason and focuses on trans and gender-nonconforming representation in theater.

“It definitely feels more inclusive this year,” Bancroft said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: At BroadwayCon, Hillary Clinton Celebrates Women in Theater
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