Dear Nominees, Please Boycott Chita Rivera Awards Until Ben Vereen is Removed as Host

Dear Nominees, Please Boycott Chita Rivera Awards Until Ben Vereen is Removed as Host

On May 19th, the Broadway community will gather to present the 2019 Chita Rivera Awards. The mission of the awards is “to promote and recognize dance and choreographic excellence on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in film.” Shows such as Ain’t Too Proud, The Prom and The Cher Show share multiple nominations along with films such as Mary Poppins Returns.

While I would love to celebrate this evening of excellence, I can’t and I won’t. Because hosting the awards is Ben Vereen.

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School District Bans 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' After Protests at High School Performance

School District Bans 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' After Protests at High School Performance

Last weekend, over 40 Chinese-American protesters gathered in front of Huntington High School opposing the school’s performance of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. The group stated that the musical is racist against Chinese people. In response, the Long Island school’s Superintendent has announced that the show will never be performed in the district again.

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Casting of 'Kinky Boots' in Australia Reveals Issues with Character Descriptions

Casting of 'Kinky Boots' in Australia Reveals Issues with Character Descriptions

Next month, CLOC Musical Theatre in Victoria, Australia will be performing their production of Kinky Boots. This past week they revealed come of the cast photos. Needless to say, there was some surprise over their choice for Lola/Simon.

The role of Lola/Simon being played by a white actor(Aaron Taylor-Tedford). Given the casting choice, the lyrics for “The Land of Lola” probably have to be changed…

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Should Movement to end "Redface" Cancel Production of "Trumpet in the Land"?

Should Movement to end "Redface" Cancel Production of "Trumpet in the Land"?

There is no doubt that there has been renewed awareness in 2019 that the use of “blackface” is wrong. We’ve seen many a public figure being brought down by donning it in the past. I am happy that we’ve gotten to the point where we' generally accept it as wrong. Other instances of “brownface” and “yellowface” have also been properly called out as well.

However, one term is slower to receive the right amount of attention - redface. For decades, we’ve seen modern society gloss over usage of redface in pop culture, entertainment and professional sports. While there has been some progress, it’s been slow.

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Dear Community Theatres, Stop Racially Segregating Your Seasons

Dear Community Theatres, Stop Racially Segregating Your Seasons

A couple of years ago, I got into it with a president of a local community theatre. I had started to notice that their six show season always consisted of five shows with either all-white casts or leads with one show being predominantly diverse with Black, Asian or Latinx roles. For example, their year would be Legally Blonde, Death of a Salesman, The Sound of Music, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Hairspray/In the Heights/The King and I.

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A Los Angeles Theatre Announced Their Cast for "Little Shop" and the Internet is not having it

A Los Angeles Theatre Announced Their Cast for "Little Shop" and the Internet is not having it

Yesterday, a Los Angeles county based theatre company announced their cast for their upcoming production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

While the Mogran-Wixson Theatre didn’t say which actors were playing which roles, let’s just say the cast lacks what you would usually see in most productions of the show.

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Sondheim's Views on Whitewashing are as Antiquated as He is

Sondheim's Views on Whitewashing are as Antiquated as He is

Let me make this clear, I mean all disrespect towards Mr. Sondheim with this column. I’ll gladly recognize him as a monumental figure in musical theatre history, but in the same breath mention that he has massively disappointed me.

In an interview with St. Louis On The Air , Sondheim talked about some of the protests against whitewashing in productions of West Side Story and The King and I.

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A Black Actress Cast as Elle Woods? Oh My God Yes!

A Black Actress Cast as Elle Woods? Oh My God Yes!

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 productions of Legally Blonde by casting a black actress in the lead role of Elle Woods. Accomplished actress Alexandria Henderson is taking the reigns of the popular role for the SHOWTUNES production opening later this month.

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Revival of "Kiss Me Kate" Adds to the Bleak Future of Female Creatives on Broadway

Revival of "Kiss Me Kate" Adds to the Bleak Future of Female Creatives on Broadway

Three female designers may have won Tonys on Sunday, but the outlook for the 2018-19 is worrisome for anyone who hoped that women would make great strides in being included on Broadway's creative teams. 

Today, the dates and theatre for the upcoming revival of Kiss Me Kate were announced. In addition to its opening night on March 19th, 2019 and its home at Studio 54, the production's creative team was also unveiled. And to my ever-so-slight surprise, it's all male. In the director's chair will be Scott Ellis, choreography by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, and music direction by Paul Gemignani. Other members of the team include David Rockwell (Sets), Jeff Mahshie (Costumes), Donald Holder (Lighting), Brian Ronan (Sound) and David Brian Brown (Hair & Wig design). Apparently, this already problematic revival is going for total Broadway nostalgia by hiring only white men to run it. 

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Broadway Released Some Statistics for this Past Year, and They're Not Encouraging

Broadway Released Some Statistics for this Past Year, and They're Not Encouraging

The folks over at ProductionPro, a technology company aimed at digitally assisting theatrical and film productions, compiled some statistics regarding this past season on Broadway. While some of the stats were encouraging, such as realizing that the average ticket isn't as pricey as some would assume, others were downright depressing. Especially when it came to the employment of women. 

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Community Theatre Cancels Confederacy Musical Revue...It's 2018 By the Way

Community Theatre Cancels Confederacy Musical Revue...It's 2018 By the Way

A local theatre group in Southern Maine found themselves in a bit of hotel water with local residents after promoting an upcoming musical revue show titled "Oh Susanna" which would be a celebration of the Confederacy.

The show would have featured performances of songs including “Old Black Joe,” “Dixie,” “Ol’ Man River” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".
Obviously, there were many in the community who found both the theme of the show and advertisements offensive and voiced their concerns with the Nasson Community Center where the show would have been performed. After discussions regarding the response to the show, the theatre decided to cancel the production. 

Some in the area were thrilled with the decision, others were not.

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Performing "Mulan Jr." Needs to be about Education, Rather than Yellowface

Performing "Mulan Jr." Needs to be about Education, Rather than Yellowface

Over the weekend I was alerted to a youth production of Disney's Mulan Jr. at a community theatre in Australia. Looking at pictures of the show, it looked like the cast consisted mostly of teenagers. However what stood out to me the most was the fact that there didn't appear to be a single Asian person in the cast. Instead, characters such as Mulan, Fa Zhou and Shan-Yu were all played by white teenagers. 

While their make up wasn't as egregious as I've seen it with other productions, the actors will had on eye makeup in order to look "Chinese" and many of the men had drawn on fu manchu.

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Sierra Boggess is Playing Maria in "West Side Story" Because of course She is

Sierra Boggess is Playing Maria in "West Side Story" Because of course She is

Yesterday, it was announced that Sierra Boggess will be playing the role of Maria in a concert version of "West Side Story" as part of the Proms series at London’s Royal Albert Hall in August. 

Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, School of Rock) will be joined by Ross Lekites as Tony and students from ArtsEd and Mountainview theatre schools.

When news of the casting announcement hit social media, let's just say the reaction hasn't been positive. Many are stating that this is yet again, another example of whitewashing in the theatre industry. While I would agree with that, to me, it's also a very confusing decision on the part of Proms to offer the role to Ms. Boggess and for her to accept it. 

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Little Person Role in "Moulin Rouge" Isn't Being Portrayed by a Little Person

Little Person Role in "Moulin Rouge" Isn't Being Portrayed by a Little Person

It's rare to see roles for little people on our stages and screens. While there are some exceptions, such as Peter Dinklage on Game of Thrones, we don't see roles of such magnitude come along often. More than not, actors with forms of dwarfism, are relegated to playing mystical creatures or are the butt of a joke involving their size (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz and the recent The Wolf of Wall Street come to mind). 

This is why when genuine, substantial roles do become available for little people, it's so important that they are, in fact, portrayed by little people. But the problem is, they aren't.

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Does Height Really Matter on Our Stages?

Does Height Really Matter on Our Stages?

I believe we are at the beginning of a tipping point where long held audition standards are going to be challenged. From actors of color to accessibility, the marginalizing factors that used to close so many opportunities for various people, are soon going to be wide open. At least one can hope. 

However, for the time being, there are more factors that disqualify a performer being cast aside from their talent. These are factors they have little to no control over such as their height. 

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Broadway is Trying to Sweep #metoo Under the Rug

Broadway is Trying to Sweep #metoo Under the Rug

No, you're not taking crazy pills. Take off the tin foil hats. You can come out of the basement. What you thought was true, is true. Broadway is doing everything it can to sweep incidents of sexual misconduct within its ranks under the proverbial rug. They've been doing it for decades. By doing so, it's allowed perpetrators' careers to flourish which has only led to further abuses. 

And the worst part is, we've allowed it to happen. We need to stop allowing it to happen. 

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Two Old White Guys are Offended by Hamilton....Call Me Shocked

Two Old White Guys are Offended by Hamilton....Call Me Shocked

Not everyone has to love Hamilton. You are allowed to dislike the show for a myriad of reasons. You can tell your friends and family how much you didn't like it. Just like any other show, you can do this. 

But the moment you print those comments or send them off to a newspaper for publishing, then you're entering my world. And if your goal is to have as many people see your comments, it's in our right to respond to them. I believe in Freedom of Speech, I own a blog. I also believe that Freedom of Speech extends to criticizing how others exercise that right. 

Which is why when I see moronic, ill-informed comments published in newspapers, I'm going to say something. 

Take for instance this week when the Denver Post published two letters written to them regarding the Hamilton tour stop. I'll let the comments speak for themselves.

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