It ain’t all white on the night

Show axed after cau­casian cast­ing

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - KRISTY SY­MONDS

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.

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