2019 tony awards

Director Rachel Chavkin Calls Out Broadway Sexism in Tonys Acceptance Speech

Rachel Chavkin. Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

After years spent on the development of Hadestown, Rachel Chavkin won her first Tony Award for directing the folk- and Greek-myth-infused musical. Chavkin was the only woman nominated in the category this year and the only woman who directed a musical on Broadway this season. That was a fact Chavkin herself called out in her acceptance speech. “I wish I wasn’t the only woman directing a musical on Broadway on season. There’s so many women and artists of color ready to go,” Chavkin said. “It’s a failure of imagination by a field whose job it is to imagine how the world could be.”

“Our field is filled with progressive people, and yet our field is not exemplary in terms of living its politics,” Chavkin, who was previously nominated for her work on The Great Comet, said about her speech in the Tonys press room. “First and foremost, who is the stories and what stories are we telling? I think inclusion is at the forefront; before we worry about fixing problems elsewhere, there has to be a lot of attention paid to our own backyard. Broadway is the most visible part of the backyard, other parts are thriving.”

“I think we’ve seen an incredible Renaissance of voices, writers, and directors and designers and choreographers downtown and Off Broadway and regionally around the country,” Chavkin said, “so that’s what I meant when I said everybody is ready to go. It’s not a call for altruism, it’s just a call for hiring the people, and not assuming that directing on Broadway or x-ing on Broadway is a prerequisite for x-ing on Broadway.”

Director Rachel Chavkin Calls Out Sexism in Tonys Speech