There is no question that Broadway is trying to be more inclusive when supporting gifted storytellers of color. The issues that swirl around diversity and inclusion will continue, but it’s essential to keep the conversation going because positive change is happening. This year, playwright Keenan Scott II, who wowed audiences and critics with his punch-in-the-gut play Thoughts of a Colored Man, is the perfect example. 

Producer Kandi Burruss announced that Scott II would be the youngest African-American playwright to be honored with a Sardi’s portrait – one of the most enduring and coveted theatrical traditions. It is significant because Sardi’s is a Broadway institution and has amassed over 1,200 caricatures of famous faces connected to the theatre industry. From the first drawing by Alex Gard (of Ted Healy) in the late twenties to Keenan Scott II’s portrait, which will go up at Sardi’s in the next few months. “I can’t tell you how proud it makes me that our brilliant Keenan’s face will be up on the walls of Sardi’s alongside incredible luminaries from the theater community – present and past,” Burruss said. “It is truly an honor both for Keenan and our show Thoughts of a Colored Man,” she added.

When Thoughts of a Colored Man opened on Oct. 13, 2021, it made history as the first Broadway show to be written, directed by, starring, and lead produced by Black men. Located in the heart of the Theatre District, Sardi’s has been a staple of the American Theatre dining experience since it was first opened by Vincent Sardi Jr. and Eugenia Sardi in 1921 – drawing both industry insiders and Broadway-loving visitors. Many famous actors and celebrities have dined here since its establishment, with many featured on its iconic wall of celebrity caricatures. The menu offers traditional American cuisine.

Keenan Scott II (Contributed photo)

Keenan Scott II is a playwright, poet, actor, director, and producer of original work from Queens, New York. His work has been workshopped and produced at notable theaters such as National Black Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Arena Stage, and Woolly Mammoth. His critically acclaimed play “THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN”  premiered at Syracuse Stage for the 2019-2020 season and transferred to Baltimore Center Stage to finish its regional run before settling at the Golden Theater during the 2021-2022 Broadway Season. He made his writing and unconventional acting debut.

Scott was chosen to be a part of the 2021 TED Fellow cohort to be among a global community of artists, inventors, and scientists. His latest work, The Migration LP, and the new original musical The Return of Young Boy are currently being developed at New York Stage & Film, while his other stage plays are in various stages of development. He is a part of the creative team of the miniseries A Luv Tale by Sidra Smith, now on BET+. He is also developing an array of projects for television and film, currently developing a pilot with UCP of NBCUniversal and adapting a novel by JJ Bola called The Selfless Act of Breathing with BRON Studios.

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