As we come to the end of 2017, it’s time to take stock of the year. That may sound like an unappealing task, and frankly, if you choose to look forward instead of back, I understand. Although, it is hard to determine progress if you don’t occasionally take a look back at where you started.
With that in mind, I’m reflecting on some of this year’s cultural highlights. It’s been said that the arts are a reflection of the times, and this past year certainly makes a case for that sentiment. From the small screen to the big one, and even the stage, the creative world was full of the new and inspired.
First up, in late 2016 a new musical that had played off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway finally had its curtain on Broadway. It’s different style stood out, brought the audience into the show, and quietly broke barriers. “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812,” made headlines due to a “controversy” fueled by a few uninformed, gut reactions made on social media. Sadly, the show closed well ahead of its time. We can only hope that this complex story told in an immersive way with effortless inclusivity left its mark.
The timing of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” could not have been better. Yes, it tapped into fear, but even more so, it reminded us that there’s always hope. Based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, the series shows humanity at its worst, but also that even in the most dire of circumstances there are always people ready and willing to do the right thing. Plot and political messages aside, the series was also the latest in a movement that proves, again and again, there’s an audience for shows about women.
Finally, the summer of 2017 saw box office dominance from a superhero film not only about a woman, but also directed by one. “Wonder Woman,” will hopefully prove to be a game-changer. Patty Jenkins is officially directing the sequel, another first, and while it was too late to save “Justice League,” the film’s success has caused some serious shakeups in the DC Comics cinematic universe…hopefully.
So you see, 2017 wasn’t quite that bad after all, well, at least not for the arts.