Theater News

Broadway Vet Douglas Lyons to Help Fund Scholarships for Black Theater Artists

Lyons created the initiative with the Directors Company.

Douglas Lyons
Douglas Lyons
(© Dominick Totino)

Writer and performer Douglas Lyons has teamed up with the Directors Company to form the Next Wave Initiative, a developmental branch of the organization committed to amplifying future Black voices in the American theater industry.

"Our nation is currently mourning, while simultaneously healing itself," Lyons said in a statement. "In times like these I always look towards a solution; a way to pave a path towards America's future. The Next Wave Initiative allows the conversations around 'Broadway equality' to become action. This program will fight to erase the ugliness of our past, while investing in the future of our profession."

Proceeds from the initiative, which sells apparel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, will fund scholarships, awards, grants, outreach programs and operational costs. Scholarships are named for Lorraine Hansberry (writing), Spike Lee (directing), Hattie McDaniel (acting), and Alvin Ailey (dance). The First Burp Grant will be awarded to a new play or musical written by a Black artist and will fund the first reading. The James Baldwin Group is a partnership between Black youth aged 12-18 and Black Broadway performers using the arts as a means of healing.

Lyons has been seen on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and The Book of Mormon. He is writer of the musicals Beau, Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, and Chicken and Biscuits.

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