Another day, another New York Times
article about the musical Hamilton
, which celebrates the life of Alexander Hamilton, Honorary Nonwhite
‘Hamilton’ Producers Will Change Job Posting, but Not Commitment to Diverse Casting
By MICHAEL PAULSON MARCH 30, 2016The hit musical “Hamilton” has drawn widespread praise for its use of a diverse cast to explore American history. But a casting call seeking “nonwhite men and women” to audition for the show drew criticism from the union representing theater actors, prompting “Hamilton” to say Wednesday that it will amend its language to make clear that anyone is welcome to try out for the show.
Free to waste your time auditioning, but not free to get hired, unless you want to play bad guy King George III.
The dispute is in some ways semantic — audition descriptions of many of the characters in “Hamilton,” as for other Broadway shows, often specify the race, gender and age range of the characters, and that is standard practice in the theater industry. But Actors’ Equity said that auditions should be open to anyone.At the end of the day, the producers of “Hamilton” said that they would change the posting that had drawn criticism, to make it clear that people of all ethnicities are welcome to audition, but would not back away from the show’s commitment to hire a diverse cast.
“Diverse” no longer means
showing a great deal of variety;
Nonwhite (Asians … we’re not so sure about)
From the NYT
In a written statement, the producers said that they “regret the confusion that’s arisen from the recent posting of an open call casting notice for the show” but also that “it is essential to the storytelling of ‘Hamilton’ that the principal roles, which were written for nonwhite characters (excepting King George), be performed by nonwhite actors.”“‘Hamilton’ depicts the birth of our nation in a singular way,” the show’s lead producer, Jeffrey Seller, said in a statement. “We will continue to cast the show with the same multicultural diversity that we have employed thus far.”… The use of a diverse cast to explore America’s revolutionary beginnings and its democratic ideals has been an important element in the show’s critical success — in his review last summer, Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times that “‘Hamilton’ is, among other things, about who owns history, who gets to be in charge of the narrative.”
“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”
Just a few weeks ago, President Obama also called attention to the symbolic import of the show’s casting choices, saying, “With a cast as diverse as America itself, including the outstandingly talented women, the show reminds us that this nation was built by more than just a few great men — and that it is an inheritance that belongs to all of us.”But the show’s decision to post on its website an open casting call “seeking nonwhite men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for Broadway and upcoming tours” went too far for some. Concern about the job posting was reported Tuesday night by CBS New York, which said that a local lawyer thought the request for “nonwhite” actors was discriminatory.On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Actors’ Equity, Maria Somma, said that the casting call was “absolutely inconsistent with Equity’s policy,” and that “we want to encourage that everyone has an equal opportunity to go in and audition for shows.” …A New York City law bars discrimination based on race in employment advertising…
For some reason, the acclaim for Hamilton
reminds me of a recent speech
“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” Mrs. Clinton asked the audience of black, white and Hispanic union members, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?,” she said, using an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”At each question, the crowd called back with a resounding no.
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