It ain’t all white on the night
Show axed after caucasian casting
A QUEENSLAND entertainment company has axed its upcoming production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In The Heights following online backlash over its failure to cast multicultural actors in key roles.
Matt Ward Entertainment yesterday announced that after careful consideration and community consultation, it had cancelled the local production of the stage show scheduled for November 23-26 at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of Wonderland Festival.
Miranda, also the creator of Broadway’s smash hit Hamilton, penned In The Heights in a conscious effort to provide minority actors, particularly those with a Latin America background, significant roles in theatre.
Matt Ward Entertainment has come under fire in recent weeks as the company began announcing its cast for its production of the Tony Award-winning show.
It is set in the largely Hispanic-American neighbourhood of Washington Heights in New York City, but caucasian actors were cast to play Dominican and AfricanAmerican characters.
Online commenters from around the world dubbed it a case of “blatant whitewashing” and called it inappropriate.
“It’s sad that you are whitewashing this piece,” one commenter wrote. “If you can’t find the right actors, don’t do the show.”
In a statement, Matt Ward Entertainment said:
“We respectfully acknowledge concerns from the community regarding casting of the work and humbly accept that the public considers that we have not harnessed, at this time, a sufficient number of required authentic Latinx voices to tell this particular story.
“While we are motivated by providing talented local performers the opportunity to hone their craft within a professional setting, and are proud of our team’s commitment to multicultural casting, we acknowledge the vitalness of cultural authenticity and the community’s concerns on this occasion.”
The company said those who had already bought tickets to In The Heights would be contacted by Ticketek for a refund.