Tony winner Rachel Chavkin of 'Hadestown' on being a woman alone

Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Rachel Chavkin was glad to win the Tony Award for best director of a musical for "Hadestown" at the Tony Awards on Sunday night, but made it clear that she was profoundly unhappy about the lack of women directing on Broadway.

Not only was Chavkin alone in the category during the evening's glitzy awards show, but she was the only woman directing a new musical on Broadway at all.

After tossing out some heartfelt thank yous to her cast and crew, she launched into an equally heartfelt diatribe against the power structures that divide and marginalize particular groups of people by making them feel alone in the world.

"My folks raised me with the understanding that life is a team sport, and so is walking out of hell," the director said. "That is what is at the heart of the show ... this is why I wish I wasn't the only woman directing a show on Broadway this season."

There are so many women and people of color ready to do this work, Chavkin continued. (She is only the 10th woman to win for directing a play or a musical.)

The lack of diversity, Chavkin said, is not a "pipeline issue," it is a "failure of imagination" by those in power.


"Inclusion has long been a particular passion of mine," said Chavkin backstage. "I think that our field is filled with progressive people, and yet our field is not exemplary in terms of living its politics. Before we think about fixing problems elsewhere, there has to be a lot of attention paid to our own backyard."

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