5 Musicals That Showed Diversity On Broadway
Start writing a post

5 Musicals That Showed Diversity On Broadway

Through race, gender, etc., these shows created a space for people not usually invited into musical spaces

5 Musicals That Showed Diversity On Broadway

This month has been one of the hardest in "Hamilton's" history: five of the original cast members said goodbye to the Tony Award winning musical, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the musical and also portrayed Hamilton up until July 9.

Although "Hamilton" did a lot to diversify Broadway, it is not the first show to portray a diversity of race, gender, ability, etc. Here are five shows that did just that.

1. “In The Heights”

Although Hamilton is arguably Miranda’s most famous show, “In The Heights” won several awards in the 2000's. The show takes place in Washington Heights and focuses on the problems the predominantly Hispanic community that lives there. Throughout the musical, the characters talk about immigration, what it means to be Hispanic and the disadvantages they face as a Hispanic community. With the exception of Benny, all of the characters are Hispanic (however, Benny was portrayed on Broadway by Christopher Jackson, a black man, making everyone in the show a person of color).

2. “Allegiance”

Based on Japanese-American actor and activist George Takei’s experiences in internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, "Allegiance" is a show about the Kimura’s, a Japanese American family, during that time period. The majority of the characters (everyone except Hannah Campbell, a white nurse portrayed by Katie Rose Clarke on Broadway) are Japanese or Japanese American. The musical deals with issues of how Japanese Americans were treated during World War II as well as interracial relationships. This is the first show since 2002 to feature a predominantly Asian cast.

3. “Rent”

"Rent" is perhaps one of the more famous Broadway musicals on this list. This musical focuses on several young Bohemians in Alphabet City in the 1980s, when the HIV and AIDS scare was at a crisis point. The majority of the main cast are played by people of color in both the Broadway show and in the film version: Joanne, Mimi, Angel, Collins and Benny. Angel, portrayed by Wilson Jermaine Heredia in the original Broadway cast and the film, is fairly gender ambiguous: Angel is referred to with both “he/him” and “she/her” pronouns and wears dresses and skirts.

4. “Kinky Boots”

Inspired by the real-life Steve Pateman’s struggle to save his family’s shoe factory, "Kinky Boots" centers around Charlie Price (Andy Kelso), who is struggling to save his father’s factory, and Lola (Alan Mingo Jr.), a drag queen who inspires Charlie to create a line of heels comfortable for men, called “kinky boots.” Throughout the musical, the characters deal with acceptance (both accepting others, being accepted and accepting themselves). Additionally, Lola has always been played by black men (she was originally portrayed by Billy Porter), creating further intersections to her identity. In real life, the cast has been active in speaking out against HB2, the discriminatory anti-Trans bathroom law in North Carolina.

5. “Next to Normal”

"Next to Normal" is perhaps one of the most genuine reflections of mental illness in Broadway’s history. The show focuses on the Goodman’s: Diana, a manic-depressive mother of two; her husband Dan, reluctantly depressed; and Diana and Gabe, both sixteen and dealing with their mother’s illness. The show covers different types of mental illness, the merits of treatments and drug use. This show was received generally well with people who suffer from bipolar disorder and depression, as there aren’t very many representations of bipolar disorder or depression that do not sensationalize mental illness.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments