What Does “Hamilton” Tell Us About Race In Casting?

December 3rd, 2015 § 23 comments § permalink

In the wake of the recent casting controversies over Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop and Lloyd Suh’s Jesus in India, there have been a number of online commenters who have cited Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton as a justification for their position in the debate. What’s intriguing is that Hamilton has been offered up both as evidence of why actors of color must have the opportunity to play both characters or color and characters not necessarily written as characters of color – but Continue reading...

Into The Woods With Misplaced Outrage

June 19th, 2014 § 5 comments § permalink

Based on the commentary I was seeing in online articles and social media comments yesterday, someone had just painted a mustache on the Mona Lisa. No one seemed to care that Da Vinci had decided to it himself. I’m referring to the outpouring of dismay over the news that some changes had been made to the storyline and score of Disney’s upcoming film of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. Mind you, no one has seen the film as of yet; the response resulted from a New Yorker “Talk of the Town” Continue reading...

For Threatened High School “Sweeney,” Lessons In The Woods

April 3rd, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

I have just returned from a trip to Plaistow, New Hampshire, where I went to support students, parents, alumni and members of the community who wanted to speak out against the cancelation of a production of Sweeney Todd at Timberlane High School, announced for production a year ago, but scheduled for 2015. In the wake of the response to the cancelation, the school scheduled an open forum to hear from the community on the issue. This was an important and rare step, since each and every decision Continue reading...

How Not To Cancel Your High School Musical

December 4th, 2013 § 43 comments § permalink

In the immediate wake of announcing to the Trumbull High School Thespian Society that he was canceling the planned spring production of Rent, Principal Marc Guarino spent almost an hour talking to the students about his decision, speaking of “challenging issues” with the play and saying it wasn’t “the right time.”  These nebulous explanations didn’t seem to satisfy the students or many of their parents.  Two days later, the principal let it be known that he was going to have further Continue reading...