The New Wave of diversity in American theatre

The New Wave of diversity in American theatre

Here they are boys, here they are worlds..here's diversity!

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As seen on the 72nd annual Tony's Awards, presented this past Sunday, the topic of diversity was extremely. Anyone who tuned in witnessed the practically perfect sweep by Itamar Moses' adaptation of the 2007 Eran Kolirin movie , The Band's Visit, a tale of an Egyptian band stuck in a small town in the Israeli Negev Desert. The evening of the Tony Awards, two award winners, Lindsey Mendez (Carrie Pepperidge in Roger and Hammerstein's Carousel) and Ari'el Stachel (Haled in The Band's Visit) both commented on personal acceptance of personal acceptance of their diversity with Mendez stating, "When I moved to New York, I was told to change my last name from Mendez to Matthews or I wouldn't work. And I just want to say how proud I am to be a part of a community that celebrates diversity and individuality." This statement reigns superbly true. Theatre is the community of inclusivity and most people may attest to that, but it wasn't until a recent trip to New York until I realized how far we have come and how far we have to go.

This past March I flew to New York City with my Model United Nations Delegation to compete at the National Model United Nations Conference. Given a free trip to NYC, it was obvious that I would spend any free time I was given on theatre as well as navigating my less familiar teammates around the city (willingly, lots of love for Goatia). Since my time was short, I was only able to see two shows—Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel and Lindsey Ferrentino's Amy and the Orphans.

Only a 6 minute walk from the Imperial Theatre (home to Carousel), one would find the Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre which was home to Amy and the Orphans

Headlined by Actress Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story, Switched at Birth, and Southland) during the Tuesday- Sunday Primetime Performances and Edward Barbanell (The Ringer, Workaholics, and Dumb and Dumber to)

This was it, the moment where I can say I was truly in awe from a theatrical experience, a sensation that I haven't felt in a long time, if ever. For the first time in my life, I witness not only a down syndrome character represented in a play, but a down syndrome actor. Amy and the Orphans is the true story of play write Lindsey Ferrentino's aunt Amy who was sent away as a child to a live in state institute because of her grandparents inability to raise a child with down syndrome, with the only real interactions with her family being their sparse visits and trips to the movies—movie quotes playing a huge part in Amy's speech. As the show progresses, Amy's siblings realize the distance between them and her and that leads to an eager fight to regain ties with their estranged sister.

I sat in awe, and frankly, covered in tears. To see an underrepresented community finally gaining light felt as if a door had been open to a facet of the arts that people have never seen before. One thought couldn't leave my head was, "it's not about if they can do it, it's about when they will do it." This is something I have always known to be true with the Down Syndrome community, things will be accomplished, but time needs to be taken and opportunities need to be given. Without mentioning names, I want to shout-out a very important friend in my life who has Down Syndrome but hasn't let any obstacle interfere with living her perfect life. Not only can she dance a circle around anyone, but her wit could outdo even the greatest of comedians. Like I said, it's not about if, it's about when.


Jeter Weiss


Finally, I leave you with the moral of the story: people are people, and if one falls under that "People/Person" classification, there isn't anything stopping them from greatness. Amy was one of many to face cruel circumstances like her upbringing, but she serves as an inspiration to fight for those who can. Amy, who finds most of her words come in form of movie quotes leaves us with the following:

"I'm a human being, damnit.
MY LIFE HAS VALUE.
You don't understand.
I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody. I coulda been somebody. I coulda been somebody. I coulda been somebody."
-Amy and the Orphans
Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Mohammad Jangda

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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