Rachel Chavkin knows what it means to stand alone. Chavkin, who took home a Tony Award Sunday night for best direction of a musical, was the only woman nominated in the category and the only woman directing a musical on Broadway this season.
Chavkin directed "Hadestown," a show written by Anaïs Mitchell and based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. "Hadestown" won a total of eight awards Sunday night, including for best musical, making it the first time the award was given to a show both written and directed by a woman, according to The Interval.
During Chavkin's speech for best direction, she made it clear that there needs to be more representation at this level of theater. She said, "My folks raised me with the understanding that life is a team sport. And so is walking out of hell. That’s what is at the heart of show. It’s about whether you can keep faith when you are made to feel alone. And it reminds us that that is how power structures try to maintain control, by making you feel like you’re walking alone in the darkness, even when your partner is right there at your back. And this is why I wish I wasn’t the only woman directing a musical on Broadway this season."
She continued, "There are so many women who are ready to go. There are so many artists of color who are ready to go. And we need to see that racial diversity and gender diversity reflected in our critical establishment too. This is not a pipeline issue. It is a failure of imagination by a field whose job is to imagine the way the world could be. So let’s do it."
After the show, Chavkin expanded on her original speech, saying, "Our field is filled with progressive people, and yet our field is not exemplary in terms of living its politics, first and foremost, who is telling the stories and what stories are they telling."
The New York Times also reported that Chavkin is only the fourth woman to ever win the Tony for best direction of a musical. This was the second time Chavkin was nominated in this category, the first being in 2017 for "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812."
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