Logline: The day of her senior performance, Gemma, a dedicated and talented musical theatre major, struggles with the effects of toxic body image standards that have trickled down from Broadway into her collegiate musical theatre program.
The Story: Through an intimate day-in-the-life snippet of, college musical theatre student, Gemma’s world, we examine the destructive effects of societal body image standards and just how impressionable young adults can be. This story is based on true events and was developed alongside four of my close peers. Body dysmorphia and eating disorders are prevalent in young people. The root question is: how do we fight for change within this system? Cue: A Broadway Body. I turned the adversity I was faced with in my youth, and the adversity I witnessed my peers experience throughout my own college career, into this story to shed light on what goes on behind the closed doors of collegiate dance studios, practice rooms, and offices and how they influence the way these young people exist in the world.
Who I Am: My name is Megan Gill, and I am the writer, executive producer, actor, and creator of A Broadway Body. I graduated from Wichita State University in the spring of 2014 with my BFA in Musical Theatre. My own body has shifted throughout my life, and this story is a reflection on how I was treated at various sizes. This phrase "A Broadway Body" was casually thrown around in my college experience and was totally normalized as the standard of perfection if we wanted to make it on Broadway. What were we taught to strive for? This very thing - a slender, strong, small-framed chorus-girl body. This, I believe, to be an extremely toxic, outdated, toxically exclusive way to view the industry and performers within it. My purpose as an artist is to push back against this mindset because I believe there is room for ALL bodies on stage and on screen. Stories in these mediums are reflective of the real world and real life - real bodies should be telling these stories, too.
As a storyteller, this film is my creative baby, but at the heart is the social impact I'm hoping to leave with viewers. It was extremely important that we brought together a mostly female-presenting team to bring this story to life. This story is for women everywhere who can't or couldn't speak up or contradict those working to uphold these very body "ideals."
All humans of varying shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities should be telling stories on stage and screen. After all, diversity reflects our world in real life - it should be reflected in the fictional worlds we consume on a daily basis as well. Though our story specifically follows a musical theatre actress, it's meant to shed light on the events that happen to women-presenting humans across all industries every single day. This film not only supports the ongoing fight for body diversity on stage and on screen, it also supports body diversity in corporations, in our world, and in our wider culture.
A portion of all proceeds the film makes will be donated to The Fund For College Auditions, a New York City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that offers financial support and college guidance to acting and musical theatre students with limited resources who want to audition for post-high school training programs (focusing on but not limited to those who identify with groups that are historically and currently underrepresented in theatre, film, and television. These groups include students who self-identify as any of the following:
BIPOC, trans, nonbinary, disabled, neurodiverse, and weight diverse).
The style of our film is close up and personal. The world encapsulates both a snapshot of the internal world of our hero character, Gemma, as well as a peek into her external world as a college musical theatre major. I wanted to take the audience through an intimate journey that uncovers what might not always be easily perceived on the surface.
Mirrors were a vital part of telling this story accurately. Growing up a dancer, I spent my whole life staring at myself in the mirror in class. I've personally always had a love-hate relationship with mirrors because of this very reason. In our story, I wanted the mirrors to represent the daily struggle that those living with body dysmorphia and disordered eating have - that they aren't always able to see the true reflection of themselves.
I wanted to show the dichotomy of how good it can feel to express ourselves through our art, and, on the flip side, how sad, lonely, and uncomfortable it can feel to be trapped in a body we don't admire, in a body we are told is not worthy in our culture. It can be so dark to feel living in a body that you're struggling to love. Those struggling with body dysmorphia (as I still do, myself) are very much in conflict with their reflection, with their body, and with the capacity in which we're able to do and express our art. I took my own struggles and fictionalized them for this aspect of our world in A Broadway Body.
The BodCon RBC Grant Finalist - Spring 2022
Fundraising Cabaret - Spring 2022
Private Screening - November 2022 at Lawless Brewing Co.
We are working to reach more filmmakers, performing artists, teachers, and institutions through our branded Instagram presence.
We're excited to announce the A Broadway Body: Continued Conversations podcast, which will be hosted by Megan and will launch in 2023! This podcast will continue the conversations that our film started. Megan's excited to interview all types of creatives, body advocates, and diversity advocates on the podcast as well as share more about her own story.