Some Theatre Things I’m Grateful for This Year

In the spirit of gratitude, this blog is dedicated to the late Brad Zuckerman, a brilliant mixer and stagehand who passed away suddenly this spring at the all-too-young age of 43. Brad’s original paperwork from the 2019 Off-Broadway revival of Rock of Ages is featured in some of my 2021 blogs. He was a cherished coworker to all, and something of a big brother to me in the industry. Brad: no one who met you could ever forget you. You were a fantastic sound human. But more than that, you always took my calls when I needed to vent or ask for help, and you taught me in two short weeks how to steer a ship through any storm, whether it be equipment or PR-related. I am grateful to have gotten to know you and worked with you as many times as I did.

Happy Belated Holidays, all! In the spirit of the season, I thought I would use this blog to reflect on some of the theatre industry’s biggest moments and milestones from this past year. It has been a big year, and while there is still a lot of work to be done to make this sector (and the world at large) more diverse, equitable, accessible, and welcoming, there has also been a lot of good progress made as well. And for that, we can be grateful.

So without further ado, here are my top theatre-centric gratitudes for 2023.

More Breaking of the Gender Binary on Broadway

This past June, J. Harrison Ghee and Alex Newell made history by becoming the first openly nonbinary performers to win Tony Awards in the performance categories. Newell won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for their portrayal of Lulu in Shucked and Ghee won Best Leading Actor in a Musical for their portrayal of Jerry/Daphne in Some Like it Hot. Notably, Ghee portrays a character who goes through a gender identity exploration as part of their character arc. The portrayal of more gender-expansive characters onstage and the well-earned accolades being given to these performers are both huge steps forward after similar groundbreaking milestones last year, which gave us the first openly trans acting nominee (L. Morgan Lee for her role in A Strange Loop) and the first openly nonbinary winner of Best Score (Toby Marlow for Six: The Musical, with co-writer and co-composer Lucy Moss).

In 2015, when Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first all-woman team to win Best Score for Fun Home, Tesori gave us the quote “for girls, you have to see it to be it.” I referenced this back in my very first SoundGirls blog ( and it feels resonant here as well. It can be hard for those of us who are not cis men to believe that we are capable of greatness when we have never seen someone who looks like us or identifies the same way as we do achieve it. And having not one but two performers outside the gender binary be voted best in their respective categories and get to give acceptance speeches on national television is a big deal.

Of course, there is still work to be done. A third openly nonbinary performer in the 2023 Broadway season, Justin David Sullivan (who plays the character May in the musical &Juliet), chose to remove themselves from Tony eligibility rather than have to choose whether to compete as “actor” or “actress.” Last season, the nonbinary performer Asia Kate Dillon (who had played Malcolm in a revival of Macbeth) also withdrew themselves from consideration for the same reason. Gendered categories in any awards are inherently exclusive, and the fact that they only seem to exist for performance-related awards speaks to the double standard that society has long held about the abilities of men vs. women. But nonetheless, these big wins by Ghee and Newell represent a step forward, and I’m grateful that their brilliant performances were recognized.

Hot Labor Summer/Year


The highly publicized strikes by workers in the WGA and SAG-AFTRA this summer and fall brought some much-needed attention to the current state of the creative economy in the US. All American TV and film production came to a halt for over 100 days. Daytime and late-night talk shows went off the air. Thousands of workers were willing to give up their incomes and livelihoods to band together and take a stand against the AMPTP, the organization of studios and producers with whom they bargain to secure a contract. Actors and writers were fighting for better wages (especially for streaming content) and against the threat of jobs being lost to AI, such as producers using scripts written with or by ChatGPT, or face scans of performers being used without their consent or compensation in TV shows or movies. And as of this writing, they seem to be on the way to prevailing. WGA has secured and approved a fairer contract, while members of SAG-AFTRA are currently voting on whether to ratify their new contract. Both unions (along with others who picketed in solidarity like IATSE and Teamsters Local 399) have returned to work. But the message of this strike has been heard loudly and clearly. Streaming has changed the way we consume media, and so the ways that we treat our entertainment workers must change too.

Also in the entertainment world, a vote by IATSE Pink Contract workers to authorize a strike came very close to shutting down 28 Broadway shows and 17 national tours. These stagehands were fighting for increased pay (with a goal of achieving parity with the Local One employees working alongside them) as well as guaranteed weekly and daily rest periods to combat the long and exhausting days and weeks that are often faced by touring crews. Gains were made, and a strike was averted, but there is still more work to be done. And I am grateful that the population at large is now more aware of the power imbalance that exists between labor and employers, and that thanks to these and other big labor moments this year, public sentiment is more pro-union than ever.

Side note: This all was of particular importance to me because, after many years of effort, I was finally able to join IATSE myself this year (shoutout to Local 74 of Southern CT)! I’ll have a lot more to say about it in a coming blog series that I’m calling “IATSE 101.” I’ll go over the history and importance of the stagehands union, share my own union story in more detail, and try to answer common questions about ACT cards, Pink Contracts, Local One, the benefits of joining the union, and more. So, if you have questions about this, send them my way (, and look out for those blogs later in 2024!

Conscious and Unconscious Mentoring and Mentorship


Over the years, but especially since I began blogging, I’ve had the profound and unexpected blessing of people taking the time to let me know that I have been serving as a role model to them or to someone they know, sometimes without knowing it myself. I’m always so incredibly flattered by this, and thrilled to know that someone out there is possibly benefiting from my rambling on about what it’s like to work in this industry. If you read my blog on mentoring (, you’ll know that this has become one of the most important things to me, because as Jeanine Tesori tells us, it helps us to be it when we can see it.

So, for this gratitude, I’d like to shout out some people I’ve gotten to see and thus aspire to be. These folks, especially the women, have shown me through their words and actions that anything I want to do is well within my reach. While this list isn’t exhaustive, I want to shout out (in no particular order): Bridget O’Connor, Chris Evans, Dillon Cody, Chris Lußman, Darren Shaw, Lucas Indelicato, Nate Putnam, Josh Liebert, Sam Lerner, Mackenzie Ellis, Carin Ford, Max Gutierrez, and fellow SG blogger Heather Augustine (read her stuff here Special recognition goes to Badass Broadway Mixing Mamas Jillian Marie Walker and Anna Lee Craig. I especially want to be y’all when I grow up

To all these mentors and more, thanks for paying it forward even if you didn’t know it. I promise to keep doing the same every time I’m given the chance.


Lastly, I am grateful to everyone who has read along and/or reached out to me these past two years through SoundGirls. Keeping up this blog isn’t always easy to do on top of a hectic freelance theatre worker life, but it brings me a lot of joy, and I hope it has helped you to learn a little more about the crazy world of NYC theatre sound! A big thanks also to Karrie and the whole SoundGirls team for all the work they do to support this community. Together we truly are empowering the next generation of Women in Audio.

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