On Saturday night, I attended the live show for my favorite podcast, The Read. The audience was black, opinionated, loud, joyful. Afros, Beyonce t-shirts, and bold lipstick abounded. It was surreal to share something I usually consume alone in my car with hundreds of other enthusiastic black people. It felt a little like church, complete with zealous call-and-response, pre-and-post show music, and even a call to the altar (ok, it was just a lively q&a session).
On Sunday night, I watched The Tony Awards. I fawned over the incredibly talented attendees and gushed at performances from The Color Purple, Hamilton, Eclipsed, Shuffle Along, Waitress, and more. Audra McDonald was magnificent (duh) and James Corden was a delightful host. For the first time ever, all four of the musical performance Tonys went to black actors. Plus, my fave of all faves, Lin-Manuel Miranda unsurprisingly won awards for Best New Musical, Best Score, and Best Book, and gave this gut-wrenching speech. Broadway came through for me, as always.
This had all the makings of a wonderful weekend, yet became one filled with sorrow.
In times like these, it is easy to feel helpless, furious, and devastated. I’ve had to stay off social media because the stories behind this horrendous attack in Orlando –and the shadows of countless others like it in the US and elsewhere — are too much for me to bear. I can’t begin to fathom how the friends and family of the deceased, or those still recovering from injuries, and the entire Orlando community must feel. My offers of thoughts and prayers feel hollow, and signing petitions or giving to GoFundMes seems so meager a response to the devastation and sorrow wrought early Sunday morning. (That said, you can give here and sign this petition).
Despite everything, I fiercely believe in joy. I believe that we owe a debt to the people we have lost. I believe we ought to fight and rage and find joy and love and make art and live our truths the best way we know how. I believe in the love people have for one another. I believe that the great arc of history bends toward justice and that someday, somehow we will prevail over bigotry and terror. And boy, do I believe in theatre.
Love (and love, and love, and love),