The Problem With Broadway Revivals: They Revive Gender Stereotypes, TooWhen everybody knows they should be prolematicizing romantic relationships between women and men.
By MICHAEL PAULSON FEB. 22, 2018
Amid a national reckoning with sexual harassment and misconduct, Broadway is mounting a cluster of musicals this season and next that, some theatergoers already contend, romanticize problematic relationships between women and men.
The titles are beloved: “Carousel,” “My Fair Lady” and “Kiss Me, Kate” are classics of the canon, while “Pretty Woman,” a new musical, is adapted from a smash film. And each of their female protagonists has her own strength — strength that in some cases changes the men in their lives.“Interrogation” is a favorite word of SJWs, perhaps even more than “conversation.”
But elements of the stories — and the fact that all four productions are being directed and choreographed by men — are prompting new scrutiny at this #MeToo moment. …
And many of the best roles for women — those with the attention-getting songs, the compelling story lines, the showy dancing — are also loaded with stereotypes. “The characters are rich and changing,” Ms. Wolf said, “but the characters are also pathetic.” …
“It’s important to not shy away from our past, but there has to be an interrogation
Ve haf vays of making you conversate!
, for all of us, about what kind of art we’re making now, and why,” said Leigh Silverman, the director of that rethought 2016 “Sweet Charity,” which rendered the heroine’s travails darker and less comic.Sounds fun …
“Pretty Woman” faces parallel but different challenges, as a new musical with no pre-existing book or score. The show is adapted from the 1990 film, with songs by the rocker Bryan Adams and his longtime co-writer Jim Vallance; it will have a production in Chicago this spring and is then scheduled to open on Broadway in August, starring Samantha Barks as Vivian Ward, the prostitute made famous on film by Julia Roberts, and Steve Kazee as Edward Lewis, the businessman who introduces her to a new life.But not just yet.
The show’s creative team has already made what it views as significant changes to the story to strengthen Vivian’s self-determination — in particular, by making clear early in the show that she is eager to leave prostitution
, and by reworking a scene in which she is assaulted so that she defends herself, rather than, as in the film, being rescued by Edward.A buttkicking babe! After all, didn’t Weinsteingate prove that today’s actresses are all lean mean fighting machines like they are portrayed on film? They won’t let a big piece of blubber like Harvey Weinstein abuse them. Didn’t you watch Harvey and Quentin’s Kill Bill?
Anyway, Pretty Woman is all about how evil Rodeo Drive boutiques slutshame a streetwalker in thigh-high black leather boots. But in the climactic scene, social justice is finally served and they let her shop!