For a while now, we've been talking about how theatres can reset the seemingly default setting that roles, that make no mention of race whatsoever, have to be played by white performers. Thankfully, there have been some recent examples of production teams opening their minds to these types of casting possibilities. Joshua Henry in Carousel and, recently, Nicolette Robinson in Waitress are great examples.
If race isn't a factor in the character description, then anyone should be able to play it. Right?
A theatre company based in Seattle is doing just that with their upcoming concert production of Legally Blonde by casting a black actress in the lead role of Elle Woods. Accomplished actress Alexandria Henderson is taking the reins of the popular role for the SHOWTUNES production opening later this month.
The casting announcement has been met with plenty of positive reaction with many stating how this is a huge step for equal representation on Seattle stages. While some have also commented on whether or not this is a role that should be played by a white woman, it's important to know that nowhere in the script is Elle's race ever described or mentioned.
This is definitely a great example of how we're seeing progress in equal representation on our stages and I certainly hope it continues.
Our best wishes to Alexandira and everyone else at SHOWTUNES.