Why Everyone (Even You Elitists) Needs To See Showbiz

Sebastian Cummings Showbiz Philadelphia Queer Theatre

The world. We’ve all been there and we share a lot of thoughts about it. Equality. We all want it and spend hours reading and sharing articles on social media, finding temporary heroes we feel embody our message, place them up on a pedestal, etc. Typically when we think of examples of oppression or marginalization, we think of wildly popular examples, for instance when a celebrity says something that is sexist or when a politician makes a homophobic statement. But, often what goes over looked are the people and situations in our everyday life. We feel safe to make exclamations about public figures because they are so far away from us, but how many times have you heard someone make extremely problematic statements and their friends continue on as if they didn’t hear it. Or the guy catcalling on the street and his friend apologizes to you for his behavior, why doesn’t he talk to his friend? Change can so easily become just an idea. Every single one of us is aware of the need for diversity in the theatre scene… who am I kidding, in every scene. We scream Hallelujah when Shonda Rhimes makes a speech about needing more diverse female and black characters, the need to hear their stories and what have you, but what happens when you turn off the TV? What about your very city? These problems aren’t just in Hollywood or New York, these problems are EVERYWHERE. Philadelphia is just a diet version of all these things. You have an opportunity everyday to be the change you want to see and that’s a duty I aim to attend to.

I started producing my own work because I got tired of looking the the Theatre Listserv and seeing “Seeking Jewish this”, “Seeking Italian that”, not that those roles shouldn’t exist, but I’m none of those things, so what? I just don’t get to work because the color of my skin doesn’t work for the kinds of stories you want to tell? I don’t think so. I started producing my own work because I got bored with the elitist attitude walking around Philly. “What show are you doing? Who are you working with? Well, where’s it going to be? …. coool, I never want to speak to you again, because knowing you does nothing to move my career forward.” Never have I seen so many people with their heads up each others asses… and it’s Philly! Or the theater I worked with that categorized actors they thought too gay to play straight, as TGTF, Too Gay To Function. What respectable organization thinks that’s okay? I mean really? And people in the company knew about it and no one questioned it. Can we just imagine something like that centered around women or black people…. please, it would be national news. I work hard because I have to, because I can’t just sit down and accept defeat or just be grateful that at least James Ijames is doing well. That’s what they’ll say to you, “I don’t think there’s a problem with diversity, I mean look at this one example of a person of color doing well, that means there’s not problem.” And it’s not just people of color, it’s not just gay people. Women have tons of hurdles to overcome. Do I wish people were just as comfortable talking about each of these things? Yes.

So, no, Showbiz may not seem like your cup of tea. Yes, there will probably be people in attendance you don’t associate with on a regular basis. No, you may not think it’s the best show you’ve every seen. I don’t really care what you think, as long as you think something and you can’t think anything… unless you see the show….

May 21, 22, and 23rd – 8pm
Adobe Cafe
Second Floor Performance Space
1919 East Passyunk
Get your tickets now.


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