Once on This Island received the eleventh Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award for the 2017-2018 season. Presented by Equity’s National Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, the Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award honors shows that exemplify and promote the union’s founding principles of diversity, inclusion, non-traditional casting and equal opportunity for all who work in the theatre.
"We are thrilled to honor the Broadway production of Once on This Island with this year’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award in recognition of their diverse and inclusive multi-cultural and gender fluid casting and the many other ways in which the archetypes of the original production were broken,” said Christine Toy Johnson, Chair of the Equity’s National Equal Employment Opportunity Committee.
Johnson presented the award to producer Ken Davenport at a ceremony on August 8 following the EEO committee meeting at Equity’s New York office. Upon accepting the award, Davenport stressed the importance of telling stories that reflect a diverse population – and that provide opportunities for the diverse array of talent available to tell these stories. Following Davenport, Merle Dandridge, a cast member of Once on This Island, also spoke in praise of the show’s creative casting.
Past recipients of the Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award are the productions of 110 in the Shade and Les Misérables (2007), Billy Elliott (2009), American Idiot (2010), The Merchant of Venice (2011), A Streetcar Named Desire (2012), Cinderella and The Trip to Bountiful (2013), If/Then (2014), It Shoulda Been You (2015), Hamilton, Spring Awakening and Waitress (2016) and A Doll’s House, Part 2, Come From Away and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (2017).