As theaters across the country recover from a year of shuttered stages, the industry’s artists are galvanized to rebuild a more inclusive industry and — through art — continue the past year’s conversations on racial justice.
“I was biking one day, and listening to ’12 Angry Men’ – the original – and was just struck so deeply by how the conversation was so relevant to what was going on at the time around the George Floyd case, and Breonna Taylor,” said playwright and director, TaNisha Fordham.
Fordham created “12 Mo’Angry Men” during the height of protests for racial injustice. It is a modern interpretation of Reginald Rose’s classic play about justice.
The play tells the story of a jury that deliberates on the fate of a White officer who killed a Black teenager. It debuted in New Jersey this summer. The play will be heading to Broadway in the latter part of this year.
Fordham stated, “It sparked many really great conversations, I think it’ll continue to do that.”
Fordham said that despite the fame of the New York City stage, she hopes “12 mo’ angry men” can reach smaller communities across the country.
She said, “It’s cool being on Broadway.” It’s amazing that all these Black and Brown voices are represented on Broadway when it opens. The truth is that those shows will be on Broadway for only 60 days, 90 days, and six months. There are still children of color, whether they be Black or Asian or White, who don’t feel empowered in their local communities.
Black Theatre United is hoping to continue reforming the industry.
“Broadway, Off-Broadway, stages across the nation – if we do not see images of us, of our world that reflects the way we believe the world should be, then it is our job as artists, as speakers, as the people who hold the mic to say the things that are important to us,” Fordham said.