Anatomy of a Broadway Play

collaboration featured artists inspiration motivation perspective May 17, 2024
A large Marquis that reads BROADWAY in the foreground. The background is filled with posters for Broadway shows.

 In 1903, Rachel Crothers produced her “Nora”, the first of 32 plays she would write, direct, cast, and produce. She often focused on contemporary social themes affecting women, such as double standards, divorce, and Freudian psychology. Though largely forgotten, her work spanned decades and she also established the Stage Relief Fund and Stage Women’s War Relief Fund, and the American Theatre Wing for War Relief Post-WWI.

In the 1908-09 Broadway season, only 12.8% of productions were by female playwrights. One hundred years later, the number of major New York productions directed by women actually shifted down to 12.6%.

In 1944, Tennessee Williams skyrocketed to fame with “A Glass Menagerie”, which is still celebrated as one of the first stage productions to portray women as more than an idealized, one-dimensional stereotype.

In 1947, the Tony Awards were coined after Antoinette Perry, a trailblazing actress, producer, director, and wartime leader.

In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry made history as the first African American woman to produce a Broadway show, “A Raisin In The Sun”.

In 1998, Garry Hynes became the first woman to win a Tony Award as a director for “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”,

In 2013, Cyndi Lauper’s songwriting for “Kinky Boots” won an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score, as well as a Tony Award for Best Original Score. Of the 12 musicals that debuted in the 2012-13 Broadway season, that was the only one scored by a woman.

Audra McDonald currently stands as the actress with the most Tony Awards in history, with a total of 6 for her phenomenal work on the stage.



This is far from a comprehensive timeline. Slowly but surely, women have been making strides in the world of performing arts. Slowly, but surely.

It takes a lot of work, often decades, to shift the landscape of a male-dominated field. More recent productions such as “Rent” and “Wicked” introduced female leads that were complicated, imperfect, and crucial to the story, a bold step once taken by Tennessee Williams in the mid-1940’s. The time in between these bold new shows leaves a lot to be desired. Through pay gaps, discrimination, and overlooked potential, women have steadily been fighting for equality in the world of theater, though representation for gender-neutrality, women of color, and queer women is still dreadfully lacking.

Fortunately, it takes more than one person to bring a stage production to life. We have incredible inspiration from women like Rachel Crothers, who directed, produced, and casted many of her works for the stage. But there is also costumes and makeup, prop and set design, lighting and sound, score composition, marketing, and administration coordination that all play their own parts in stage production.

The beautiful synchronicity of every moving piece coming together to produce full-length entertainment is an incredible testament to the power of collaboration. While our stories and work are unfairly criticized and overlooked, we still come together to be seen and heard, coordinating our strengths to nourish that of others. We still hold dear the precious value of our experiences and the power they hold, regardless of who considers them valid and worthy. 


What is more powerful than a woman sharing her story? 
The community of women behind her.


So as we continue to support our fellow female creators, may we be loud and proud. Buy the tickets to her show. Rock her merch. Say her name in recognition. Sing her praises in celebration. Revel in her work and art, because she is paving the way for other women to do the same in an industry where women have to fight twice as hard to be recognized for their greatness. And we have plenty of it to show!


In the spirit of the stage, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on two Virtuosas who share a passion for performing arts. 


For more than 20 years, Megan Ann Rasmussen has served as an Award-Winning Producer, Director, and Educator impacting multigenerational audiences. 

As President of MAR Productions, she is committed to creating theatre that uplifts and strengthens; building engaged communities.

Her newest show “Spells of the Sea” is a critically-acclaimed coming of age story about a young girl on an enchanting musical journey to save her father, learning lessons about facing her fears, embracing emotions, and believing in herself along the way. You can reserve your tickets for this performance at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for October 12th-20th 2024.

Emily Ulibarri co-founded Melonlight with her husband Raymond over a decade ago. It began as a school of ballroom dance and yoga, and has evolved to flourish as a production company and historic venue. Now established in Eureka Springs, AR, the two have produced full-length stage shows with a minimal cast, immersive soundscape, impressive lighting, and captivating story.

Silence In The Jungle is returning for another season May 18th-July 27th. This immersive theatrical experience takes the audience on a journey down a Central-American river within an arm’s length of the characters as they encounter the unexpected deep within the jungle. You can get your tickets now for this performance at the Melonlight Ballroom in Eureka Springs, AR. 





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