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Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by PTOPhan 2013-01-13 20:12:14


I’m curious how people feel about casting actors with a visibly different ethnicity or appearance from the character they’re playing. I think it’s generally unreasonable for a white actor to play a minority character, largely because of the shortage of good roles for minority actors. (Johnny Depp’s casting as Tonto in the new Lone Ranger movie is an exception in my view because Johnny Depp is Johnny Depp.)

What about the reverse situation, when minority actors play white characters? I never saw Robert Guillaume as the Phantom of the Opera, but I assume he was playing the character as a white man – if the Phantom is black, wouldn’t his mistreatment at French society’s hands partially stem from race prejudice rather than only fear about his deformity? While that’s an interesting story to tell, it’s not the one that the playwright had in mind.

Especially in a musical, the audience must suspend disbelief anyway. A good enough actor should be able to master the mannerisms necessary to play Tevye or Henry Higgins or Jean Valjean, regardless of the actor’s skin tone. What about if it’s not skin color, however, but weight or height or even sex? Would an overweight Phantom be believable running around on catwalks and climbing ropes? How about a 65-year-old female Curly in Oklahoma? I think my head is starting to spin. So have at it, everyone!

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-13 20:16:57


I want to see a fat Jesus in JCS. (And no, I don't mean Zach Galifianakis.)

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 20:17:24


White people should play white people. Black people should play black people. Mexicans should play Mexicans. Skinny people should play skinny people. Fat people should play fat people.

A skinny Carlotta won't work.

Let's leave it at that.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-13 20:20:24


It depends on the style of the play. Naturalism tends to demand careful visual verisimilitude, which is only one reason why it's a style we should probably relegate to museum revivals.

Different countries have different racial definitions and histories. African-Americans (including Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt and numerous jazz artists) have traditionally taken refuge in France because black people were treated better there. (To be an Arab in France was another matter.)

As for Guillaume, I'm sure audiences noticed his Phantom was black, but I've never heard anyone say it was an issue for them. Neither the play nor the character are exactly Naturalistic anyway. Why shouldn't the Phantom be French-African?

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Posted by Rainbowhigh23 2013-01-13 20:31:29


There was a recent off-Broadway production of Next to Normal in which Diana was played by an African-American woman. I heard it just didn't make sense when the kids were played by white actors.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-13 20:33:16


Didn't make sense to whom? I don't see the problem except that we're used to "white" families looking a certain way and "mixed-race" families looking another. We'll get over it.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by Rainbowhigh23 2013-01-13 20:38:33


The person I know who saw it said that Gabe and Natalie did not look mixed race at all, so to them it looked strange. Nothing against mixed race couples.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by Kelly2 2013-01-13 20:38:38


In my opinion, if the character's physical appearance is important to the plot, or if it is very specifically stated within the material, then it should be considered in casting. The way people look is a part of who they are. When writers craft characters, I guarantee you they do not do so without considering appearance, so why would we not consider it when casting the roles they write?

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by keithp 2013-01-13 20:40:51


a skinny Carlotta won't work? Obviously you didn't see Rosie Ashe who created the part in London and is on the original cast recording. She worked just fine and is certainly not a big woman.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-01-13 20:46:31


I'd like to see an all dead cast of CATS.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by AC126748 2013-01-13 20:47:42


Pearl Sun, who's Asian American, was Alice Ripley's understudy on the Next To Normal tour.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by dreaming 2013-01-13 20:52:12


I've seen a trim Carlotta as well as an African-American one, and it didn't bother me.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-13 20:56:09


White people should play white people. Black people should play black people. Mexicans should play Mexicans. Skinny people should play skinny people. Fat people should play fat people.


I seriously hope this was a joke. By your way of thinking we would have missed out on some wonderful performances by some amazingly talented and gifted people. Two that come to mind: Norm Lewis as Javert and Lea Salonga as Eponine in Les Miserables.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by dramamama611 2013-01-13 21:03:17


There was some yahoo on here that argued that the black Billy (Billy Elliot) ruined it for him. He just kept harping on it.

The only time I think its an issue is when the show is ABOUT race.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by dreaming 2013-01-13 21:09:51


You couldn't have an African-American playing Mother in Ragtime. It wouldn't work.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-13 21:19:59



The only time I think its an issue is when the show is ABOUT race.

This is true...but I am going to play devil's advocate here. In The Heights, a show about Hispanics actually had two non Hispanics in Hispanic roles: Jordin Sparks and Corbin Bleu.

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Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 21:21:34


I seriously hope this was a joke. By your way of thinking we would have missed out on some wonderful performances by some amazingly talented and gifted people. Two that come to mind: Norm Lewis as Javert and Lea Salonga as Eponine in Les Miserables.


No, that was not a joke. I meant when it is crucial to the plot. No where in Les Mis does it state that Javert or Eponine are white, so those roles can be plausibly played by any race. When it is ironic, that is a different story. Like the white Gary Coleman in Avenue Q: Student Edition. That is laughable. But a white Deloris van Cartier just isn't right.

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Posted by dreaming 2013-01-13 21:30:24


Why couldn't Deloris be white? Where does it say she has to be African-American? Because Whoopi Goldberg played the role in the film? (Yes I know the lead in the musical was African-American. But, why wouldn't it be plausible for a white woman to play her?)

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Posted by darquegk 2013-01-13 21:36:04


A white Delores in Sister Act would be an interesting experiment that I'm not sure would work.

The film role was written for Bette Midler. When Midler passed and Whoopi took the role, her one caveat was that she play the role "as written," and not have the character rewritten for a "black actor" (actor, not actress, since Whoopi insists that 'actress' is a demeaning and limiting term). As such, she played the role not as a black person, but as a person who happened to be black- essentially the same way Bette would have played it, but with Whoopi's signature delivery.

By Sister Act 2, Delores was a well known character, one NOT being written with anyone in mind but Whoopi Goldberg. More to the point- they knew Delores was black, and wrote her as a specifically racialized character. Hence, "Sister Act 2" feels like a much blacker movie than Sister Act 1 did, even down to contemporary hip-hop and R&B replacing the soul and Vegas music of the first film.

The musical Delores is even more characteristically "black" than the Delores of Sister Act 2.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 21:42:40


The reason I say that a white Deloris won't work is because she is a somewhat well known character from the movies, audiences seeing a white woman in her role on stage might be confused. They will EXPECT a black person. I can guarantee that a SISTER ACT revival with a white Deloris will do even worse than than the first one did.

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Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 21:46:19


darquegk, what do you mean "When Midler Passed"? She is still alive. Or do you mean passed up the role? Sorry if this sound dumb, but I'm confused.

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Posted by dreaming 2013-01-13 21:48:41


You can guarantee that? Really? I mean if you had someone who was a big enough name I think it could be marketable.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 21:56:40


Yes, I can guarantee that. (I'm sorry if this sounds snarky, but I am 99.9999999999999% sure of this.)

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 21:56:40


Yes, I can guarantee that. (I'm sorry if this sounds snarky, but I am 99.9999999999999% sure of this.)

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by PTOPhan 2013-01-13 22:00:33


DramaMama wrote: The only time I think its an issue is when the show is ABOUT race.

I don't know if that's the ONLY time race (or should I say appearance) matters. For example, when the character is a historical figure, such as Margaret Thatcher or Eleanor Roosevelt, it would be strange to have someone who looks really different. A different race would be fine in my view, if the actors otherwise look similar. Many years ago, there was a TV special in which the actor playing, I think, Anwar Sadat, died. They replaced him with a well-known black actor who looked so much like him it was amazing.

Also, it's possible for a show to be about race in a sub rosa way. For example, My Fair Lady is about what makes someone appear to be upper or lower class in Edwardian England. The British would never have accepted a black individual or a native of India as upper class. Race is therefore a subtext. On the other hand, in the recent Arena Stage production of My Fair Lady, Alfred P. Doolittle was played by an Asian actor. It worked, probably because he had a perfect Cockney accent, which telegraphed that he was playing a native-born (white) Londoner. I really doubt that any actor who can't do the accents properly can play in My Fair Lady no matter what he or she looks like.

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Posted by CHOOKA2 2013-01-13 22:01:07


I recently saw an all Thai version of Miss Saigon.Kim and the Engineer[who played it as a camp fool-not funy to me but the Thai audience thought he was] looked ethnically 'right', but there was no contrast between 'the look' of the other principals--it seemed all terribly bland.I suppose Ellen[?] could have been Thai/Vietnamese in the original but feel you need an all Americian white face somethere in the mix to make it seem believeable--at least to my white eyes.Phantom is next-so wonder what they will do with that-it might be a touring company whereas Miss Saigon was a local Bangkok company.

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Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 22:07:57


From a marketing standpoint, a white Deloris who is a big name would sell, but only for a short amount of time. People would pay to see the big name. If an unknown white Deloris was cast, the show would not succeed.

Another thing that comes to mind: MEMPHIS. This is probably the show where it matters most in terms of race of characters. You CAN NOT, and I mean CAN NOT, have a black Huey or white Felicia. No.

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Posted by dreaming 2013-01-13 22:11:45


In regards to Memphis, it's the same logic as the point I made with Ragtime (you can't have an African-American Mother). If race is an issue, then so is the race of the actors. I do think with historical figures it wouldn't work so well either.

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Posted by TheGingerBreadMan 2013-01-13 22:15:00


Yeah. If there was a musical about slavery, a white Harriet Tubman is ridiculous.

I'm gonna bring up BOOK OF MORMON. Do you guys think that the show would do well with a white Mafala, Nabalungi, General, and African Ensemble? I personally think it won't, just based on the fact that it is set in Africa.

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Posted by ACL2006 2013-01-13 22:22:51


Only way that would work with Book of Mormon is if they change the location that the two Elders are headed to. If they're headed to, let's say, Russia(Serbia), they could be white. If the show ever is produced in Asia(Japan, China or Korea likely), I wonder if they would change their location of the Mormons to a country like Indonesia or Vietnam so the ensemble would match the location.

And in referrence to Bette Midler passing with Sister Act, Midler was the first choice to play Deloris. When she opted out of the role(which she regrets), Goldberg was offered the role.

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Posted by PTOPhan 2013-01-13 22:55:17


I just remembered that, when Olivia Newton-John was cast as Sandy in the movie version of Grease, they changed her last name from Dumbrowski to Olsen. I think they also made her Australian instead of American. There it wasn't appearance as much as accent.

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Posted by darquegk 2013-01-13 23:15:24


I meant that Midler "passed" on the script, as in she turned the role down when it was offered to her.

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Posted by Visceral_Fella 2013-01-13 23:44:23


Well there are actually lines in Sister Act that identify Deloris as a black woman.

As far as Guillaume in Phantom, I'm sure he was just playing a person neither black nor white. There are quite a few characters where the race doesn't truly matter. In Shakespeare for instance I've seen performances where African-American performers play up their race so they add some soul and other other nuances to the role, and it really works. I've also seen a wonderful production of Measure for Measure where Isabella was played by an African-American woman, but she was just playing Isabella she wasn't a black Isabella she was just Isabella.

Let me be clear that I'm not implying that there is a singular way for African-American people to act, but there is a difference between Deloris Van Cartier and Toni Braxton as Belle. Both roles are played by Black Women, but they're different. It's fascinating what you can do with race onstage.

I've always thought that it would be fascinating to have an African-American woman play Chris Hargenson in Carrie.

Also, in regards to Memphis, wasn't there an interracial cover for Felicia, but she never went on? Dan'yelle Williamson always went on, but around this time last year I feel that the second cover was very clearly mixed.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-14 00:48:56


Where is Russia(Serbia), ACL? Did you mean "Siberia"? I'm sure you know Russia and Serbia are separate countries, traditional allies but they don't even share a border.

I think it's fair to say that BOOK OF MORMON is one of dramamama's "shows about race", even if only by implication.

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Posted by bwaylvsong 2013-01-14 00:54:19


Visceral, you're thinking of Ashley Blanchet (currently Star-to-Be in Annie). She actually went on as Felicia quite a few times and looked fine (and was excellent).

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-14 00:55:21


I meant when it is crucial to the plot.

Carlotta's size in Phantom of the Opera is crucial to the plot?

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by Visceral_Fella 2013-01-14 01:04:24


bwaylvsong, oh really? I never knew that. Cool.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by AwesomeDanny 2013-01-14 01:21:26


Last month, I saw a production of A Christmas Carol with a group from my school. In the production, half of the Cratchett family was black, and the other half was white. I didn't give it any thought, but everyone else in my group commented that they thought it was strange. I guess it's just what you're accustomed to--I've seen many shows with color-blind casting, while my group was mostly non-theatre-savvy people. Perhaps if there was more color-blind casting in movies, fewer people would care.

However, I do have to mention that it should not go the other way around with white actors playing minority people. This was discussed in that article last summer about the casting of the new Duncan Sheik musical. There are significantly fewer roles that minorities would be considered for, but there is not a lack in roles for white people.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by chewy5000 2013-01-14 01:30:58


I've seen a fat Jesus. It was interesting, to say the least.

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Posted by Idiot 2013-01-14 03:01:59


I'd like to see a blue Elphaba. But then I'd have to see the show again. Never mind.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-14 06:33:57


Unfortunately, the tolerance is only coming from one side.

If a black actor plays a white role it's usually ok (Javert, Enjolras, Carlotta)

But if a white actor plays a black role, hell breaks loose.

Why is that?

I would have loved to see a white Rachel Marron in the Bodyguard, because I know a few actresses/singers that would be perfect for the role in terms of vocals and type. And we all know ethnicity does not matter in this story, it's about a whole different subject. Then why do I still think there would be a stampede rushing towards the producers office and the office would end up with broken windows and chicken wings with sauce on the wall?

Let's realize that for a moment and make the world a more tolerant place.







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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-14 07:36:49


Then why do I still think there would be a stampede rushing towards the producers office and the office would end up with broken windows and chicken wings with sauce on the wall?

This is where you lost me because from what I can decipher from your racist comment was that you believe (a) African Americans are prone to violence and (b) African Americans only eat chicken wings.

When you write stuff like that your argument goes out the window and it makes you come off as bigoted.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-14 07:55:26


Believe me, a lot of reactions to white people being cast in "black roles" were much more aggressive than my examples, which of course are only a metaphor, not to be taken too seriously.

And not only that, I have seen people wishing the producers/directors of Disney dead because they wanted to make Tiana in the Princess and the frog a "maid". Their opinion was that a black girl can't be a maid. Why is that?

Can't remember such stories about Cinderella and Snowwhite.

And then I'm not even mentioning each and every youtube video where a white girl sings a "black woman" song and the comments are extremely patronizing.

This whole "race thing" is getting extremely one sided. That needs to stop.

Let's cast someone because he or she is the best person for the role. If a black Carlotta is chosen because she was better than all the other candidates, perfect. Take her, you won't hear me. In fact, I completely support it. I also LOVE Lea Salonga as Eponine. I am quite colorblind for that matter.
But what if they hired a white Rachel Marron? Would that be perfectly fine too? No. And we need to pay attention to this....

You cannot insist that a nice girl (Rachel, a talented star) can only be portrayed by a black person and that a maid can only be portrayed by a white girl. That is the pinnacle of bigoted.
















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Posted by rhdery 2013-01-14 08:22:41


Casting is a tricky business, which is why good casting directors are in such demand. I feel appearance is always a consideration , and casting can work for the right for the right role regardless of race, sex or age.

Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-14 08:24:25


This whole "race thing" is getting extremely one sided. That needs to stop.

So you're perpetuating the "idea" that African Americans or people of color have a more violent reaction than a Caucasian. I find that extremely " one sided"...well, I find that a whole lot of other things but let me just leave it at one sided.

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Posted by madbrian 2013-01-14 08:27:34


There are tow scenarios: either race matters to the plot/theme/story/etc or it doesn't. In the former, then the race of the cast matters. In the latter, it doesn't. So the race of the cast matters in shows like Hairspray, South Pacific, Ragtime, and many more. In other shows, it doesn't matter.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-14 08:40:04


CarlosAlberto,

My conclusion only comes from facts.
For example the fuzz about princess Tiana.
You decide from which side came more aggression.
I have actually never seen anyone else wishing the producers or directors dead.

And to show you the other side, I have not seen 1 single reaction of a person who had a problem with Tiana being black.

I also have not seen 1 single reaction of a person that said Javert couldn't be black. It is all fine.

I think it is actually quite racist to have a problem with a Rachel Marron being white.

I wish some people would be more colorblind too.

And I agree with Madbrian, if it is not in the story, it should be no problem whatsoever, from BOTH sides.



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Posted by South Fl Marc 2013-01-14 08:48:31


Isn't it amazing how far ahead the opera audience is over Broadways.
Opera got over color blind casting in the 60s, Broadway audiences still have a problem with it.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-14 09:00:05


Exactly.

And I also think it's ok for a straight actor to play a gay role as long as it's believable and a 35 year old actor playing a 19 year old as long as it's believable and fits the story well.

That's all that matters.

Saying black people MUST play good characters and CANNOT play a maid is just silly and dumb. And actually the last thing that should matter.


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Posted by AEA AGMA SM 2013-01-14 10:56:07


"My conclusion only comes from facts.
For example the fuzz about princess Tiana.
You decide from which side came more aggression.
I have actually never seen anyone else wishing the producers or directors dead.

And to show you the other side, I have not seen 1 single reaction of a person who had a problem with Tiana being black."

Go look up people's reactions to The Hunger Games. There were scores of people who were outraged that Rue was played by an African American actress, even though she is described as such in the book. And I'm not talking the NAACP being concerned about it being a black girl dying, I'm talking about all the white kids who felt how the movie was "ruined" because this character (who is described as black in the book) was being played by Amandla Stenberg and they couldn't wrap their brains around the notion of caring for a character who wasn't white.

When things like that no longer happen then I'll consider the idea that the "reverse racism" you are crying about is a bad thing.

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Posted by darion 2013-01-14 12:07:14


i wonder what will they do in breakfast at tiffanys? Mickey Rooney played an Asian man in the movie...

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Posted by AC126748 2013-01-14 13:39:19


Madbrian's point is the most salient, IMO. There are certain roles where a certain characteristic--be it race, gender, look, height, weight, etc--is integral to the character. In such cases, the part should be cast with an appropriate actor who fits those characteristics. Aside from that, if there is nothing that would prevent the character being played by an actor of any race, or any time, or any size, then I don't have a problem. The lines blur a bit case by case, of course, but in principal that's what I think works best.

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Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2013-01-14 17:28:19


I've seen a fat Jesus. It was interesting, to say the least.

I saw the after-effect of one, and I think I feel cheated for not having seen the actual guy. See, this production came just after Ted Neeley's successful Nineties tour, where he pulled a Peter Pan and flew off the cross (hope I'm not spoiling the ending for anyone). It was a snazzy effect that many productions replicated, and this one was no different.

The guy playing Jesus had a great voice, from all accounts, but let's not mince words, he weighed in at around 300 pounds. Well, in this production, Big Fat Jesus (he gave himself this nickname) went into the sepulcher when he was buried, which was actually staged in this rendition, and there was an interlude before the ascension. When he rose from the dead, he was flown by pulleys up into the fly space around 40 feet above the stage.

Now, I don't know if you know about how these fly things work, but they are very carefully counter-weighted on one side of the stage, so that the guy just flips a lever and the rope is released, and these counterweights on the other side just gently let him rise up into heaven. Well, Big Fat Jesus, so the story goes, would slip out of the tomb and have a smoke every night before getting into the harness. The night I saw it, apparently the light in the tomb wasn't working, and Jesus hit his head on the back door of the tomb and needed about a dozen stitches.

They got the Jesus understudy (who'd done a serviceable job as Peter in the rest of the show), and strapped him in, but no one told the stage hand that he was not a 300 pound Jesus. Guy hit the switch, and the audience saw the new Jesus come flying out of the tomb like a rocket, screaming the whole way to Heaven. There was a sickening thud when his head hit the grid, and then one by one his sandals dropped to the stage.

I'll never forget it.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-14 17:33:58


But if a white actor plays a black role, hell breaks loose.

Why is that?


It's not about art and it's not about tolerance.

It's about economics and simple fairness. Minority actors already have fewer roles at their disposal; to take away even those roles in the name of "color-blind casting" is simply wrong.

Now things may change if someday all or nearly all casting is done without regard to race; but we are still a long way from that day.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-14 17:38:20


Their opinion was that a black girl can't be a maid. Why is that?

Obviously, African-American women do play maids. We had a very popular and critically acclaimed film called THE HELP last year in which black women did just that.

But the point is that portraying black women as maids is a very heavy-handed cliche in American culture. Some people apparently didn't want the first black Disney heroine to continue that stereotype.

I believe you are European and things may be very different there.

And I thought the solution of making the heroine a cook who dreams of opening her own restaurant was an elegant and refreshing twist on old stereotypes.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-14 17:45:09


This whole "race thing" is getting extremely one sided. That needs to stop.

Amen, Carlos. The truth is the vast majority of theater artists in every area are unemployed most of the time. Resenting minority artists because once in awhile they catch a break is dishonest and unfair.

And the assertions that minorities will react with violence if they don't get the part they think they deserve is ridiculous. We have plenty of examples on this board of minority members being quite gracious about unfair casting.

I think the problem is that white people notice if a role is reserved for actors of color. The same white people don't notice that 90% of roles are reserved (even if "unofficially") for white actors.

Personally, I don't think affirmative action has worked against me as a white man very often. But on the few occasions where it did, I had to assume there were countless more instances where being white and male gave ME the unfair advantage. So I didn't waste any time feeling resentful.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-14 18:16:21


"Minority actors already have fewer roles at their disposal; to take away even those roles in the name of "color-blind casting" is simply wrong."

I think "minority" has nothing to do with casting. Casting directors should erase that word from their minds. They should always go for the best person.

Gays are a minority too, but why can't a straight actor play a gay role? Are those roles "exclusive" for gay people? Should casting directors reject the best person because he happens to be straight? Because they want to stand up for the minority? If he/she is the best at the audition they should hire him/her, that's all that matters in casting.



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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-14 18:35:48


About Tiana, I am from Europe yes, and you are right, that subject is not such a big deal over here. It seems like a lot of African-American people over here are much more colorblind already.

For example, the girl that voiced Tiana here was not black and no one cared. She was great. I suppose it would have been a big problem if that happened in the USA.......

When it comes to casting, I think only the film/the end product counts. For example, Linda Larkin, a white blonde voiced princess Jasmine in Aladdin. She was great. Who says a role like that is reserved for Arabian-Americans? Who cares that Arabian-Americans are not usually cast for white roles? That may sound hard, but when it comes to casting, people should not care about minorities and personal issues. The end product is all that counts.

For all I care a 50 year old man can voice a little black girl, if he is the best at the voice test.

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Posted by ComingUpRoses2 2013-01-14 18:42:22


Unless there's a good reason for them not to, I can't why any talented actor of any race can't play any given role.

A white actress playing one of the maids in The Help is a terrible idea, because it makes no sense and cheapens the whole thing. Unless there's an actor out there who could do it in blackface (and offend lots of people in the process) and make me believe she (or he?) is a black woman in the 60's south, they should give the role to a black woman. Maybe Tracey Ullman could do it. She played a black woman once and did it flawlessly, but talent like that is rare.

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Posted by Jon 2013-01-14 19:40:09


As an actor "of size", it really offends me when skinny actors are made to wear fat suits, like the actor who played Nicely-Nicely in the last (awful)Guys and Dolls revival.

There's nothing in the script that says the character must be fat. Skinny actor Walter Bobbie played it quite well in the (wonderful) 1992 version. But if the director is so set on having a fat Nicely-Nicely, then damn it, cast a fat actor!

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Posted by Matt Rogers 2013-01-14 20:39:28


Dave, you are making yourself sound like a complete raving lunatic.

Even setting you racist chicken wings comment aside, you have repeated your same stupid points here about 30 times each.

And what is your obsession to have a white Rachel in The Bodyguard? Did your best girlfriend get denied a role? From what I've read, Heather Headly is the one and only reason to see that show.

And now you're starting to blabber about straight people playing gay roles. Really? Sean Penn in Milk? Tom Hanks in Philadelphia? Cast members of Broadway's The Normal Heart? What about the original leads of La Cage???? They were STRAIGHT. Pray tell, who are all these horrible gay people stealing gay roles from your straight brothers and sisters?

I don't know what your problem is but maybe it's time for you to find something new to obsess about.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-14 22:10:00


I think "minority" has nothing to do with casting. Casting directors should erase that word from their minds. They should always go for the best person.

Dave, you throw around the word "best" as if it had an objective meaning on which we can all agree when it comes to casting. The fact is there are dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of excellent actors for every role in a major film or theatrical production.

Final casting decisions almost always come down to the eccentricities of personal taste, so why shouldn't simple fairness be included in the equation?

The fact is white people (directors, casting directors and even BWW posters) tend to assume a character is white unless the script specifically says otherwise. To suddenly stand on principle and demand that white performers be cast in minority roles simply adds insult to injury.

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Posted by Taryn 2013-01-14 23:25:37


Every time someone brings up the "if minority actors can be colorblind cast in traditionally white roles, why can't white actors get cast in minority roles" argument, I want to scream.

There is a reason why this "race thing" is so "one-sided," and it's because white people do not have a history of being systematically marginalized by society. Like most industries, theatre has a history of supporting white artists and white shows and white casts over minorities. The number of roles out there for white actors are monumental, because everything that is not otherwise specified is pretty much assumed to be white. The number of minority roles is, in comparison, minuscule.

All I really hear when this argument comes up is "why can't white people have all the roles." They already have 99% of them!

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Posted by FindingNamo 2013-01-15 00:37:27


Someday, maybe soon, there will be a heavyset Elphaba. I mean, look at the success of "Girls" on the Home Box Office.

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Posted by Idiot 2013-01-15 01:07:18


The 'Big Fat Jesus' story above made re-checking this thread TOTALLY worth it.

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Posted by ajh 2013-01-15 08:31:00


Agreed re "Big Fat Jesus" story. Crying with laughter here.

Does anybody know if there were any white "John"s in Miss Saigon in the Broadway production or any of the major Tours? I know in the original London production the first John was Peter Polycarpou (who is of British-Greek descent I believe) and his understudy was Ray Shell, who is black. But for the rest of the West End run the role was always played by black actor-singers, although there were sometimes white understudies.

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Posted by darquegk 2013-01-15 09:56:13


There is an additional punchline to the Big Fat Jesus story, and I'm surprised it wasn't reported here...

After Jesus hit the ceiling and his sandal smacked down on the stage, there was a hideously tense silence. The director pushed the nearest stage manager onto the mic and told him "Say something!" Terribly flustered and worried about the actor, the SM turned on the god-mic and said the first thing that came to his lips.

"Uh, ladies and gentlemen... Jesus Christ will not be returning. Good night."

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Posted by Patash 2013-01-15 10:26:47


duplicate post

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Posted by Patash 2013-01-15 10:26:48


Opera has done if for years. LaBoheme has had dozens of obese women playing Mimi -- who is dying of consumption. But the worst I saw was a fairly recent Carmen at The Met, where Carmen was played by a hugely overweight woman who could barely move. The seductive dance sequence was truly a joke and the whole concept of men falling all over themselves because of her beauty was really silly.

And while I'm pretty open to color blind casting, a production of West Side Story I saw at Stratford, Ontario really missed the boat with an Asian Maria. It just plain didn't make sense, but then neither did the wimpy little very effeminate Tony.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 10:56:56


we will never have full equality until people stop with this black this, white that... so sick of it, and most of it im afraid is from my progressive friends whose hearts are in the right place.... where does it end? Must someone playing Pocahantas be Native American? if so must she be from the Algonquian tribe? Would a Sioux playing her be offensive? What about Anna Karenina? Must she be Russian? or would Ukrainian be considered an insensitive? Evita is from Argentina,so lets make sure shes an Argentinian....well we saw where that got us, a mediocre Evita.
we even got a taste of the looniness when Cinderealla had BROWN HAIR!!! ugh we are being strangled by over sensitivity.


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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 12:17:32


Matt, what is your point about straight people playing gay characters?

Is there ANYTHING wrong with majority actors to play minority roles?

I don't think so.

Do you? If yes, why?


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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 12:27:56


The latest uproar: "Bunty Berman Presents" casting:

"Seeking:Equity Female Dancers:Female Dancers. 20s-30s. Need to be able to play South Asian but open to all ethnicities."

There's some vocal objection going around among the South Asian acting community to the effect that only actors of (sufficient) South Asian background be permitted to audition. One (part-South Asian) actress claims that her submission was rejected because she didn't look South Asian enough.

I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

I remember seeing a Charles Mee piece some time back, with an ethnically diverse ensemble who all played multiple roles, most actors representing Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, white, African-American, Israeli, etc. Worked fine for me.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 12:56:53


CarlosAlbert, since youre so vocal about casting i am sincerely interested in how you would feel if Mel Gibson was cast in the broadway version of the Harvey Milk story?

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 14:08:37


Most people who think critically about what's called color-blind casting don't give two shIts about the hair color of an actor. It's a silly kind of straw men created by people who want to pretend they are just taking color-blind casting as far it can go down a slippery slope that only they have created, when it's really just to troll people who have well thought out and defendable arguments in favor of color-blind casting.

Anyone who has been on the board for any period of time knows threads like this come up all the time, and I've learned to measure what I say (or at least try to) lest I find myself trying to have a serious discussion against a contingent of unserious people crowing about why there are no white Effies and every other idiotic and easily debunked comparison argument. I'm not saying this isn't a topic that's ripe for discussion, but years on this board have taught that that lots of people who post what they think are clever or provocative "counterarguments" are just people trolling or so deeply steeped in their own privilege that they don't want to have a serious discussion.

Weight and sex (and even sexuality) are completely separate issues from race, both when it comes to talking about them onstage and off. Conflating them all into one big group and then decrying "PC gone amok" is either wildly uniformed or wildly disingenuous (and on BWW, they could very well be both). I think most people know this, but I guess it bears repeating When we we are talking about race (and I mean this most specifically about the United States) we can't not take into account the years of systematic racism designed and perpetuated to keep African-Americans (and to an extent, all minority races) in a second-class system.

The reason why many times a role that was originated by an black actor remains played by a black actor (say Deloris in Sister Act, Tom Collins in Rent, John in most professional American productions of Miss Saigon, etc) most likely does has to do with the relative dearth of roles for black actors in the theatre. Yes, there are your Raisins, and Dreamgirls, and August Wilson plays, etc, but for those who continually seem to have something stuck in their craw about seeing a black face in a musical or play that isn't "historically correct" seems to speak to a deeper pathology, one that probably can't be worked on on a forum such as BWW. Yes, all those shows exist, but to be of the mindset that "they have those shows, why do they need need to be in WHITE shows" seems to express a notion that black performers should be ghettoized into shows that only deal with the experience of being black.

As to the all Thai version of Miss Saigon that Chooka watched on youtube, was that not performed in Thailand? I'm not sure how a show like that fits into this discussion, since those whole conservation falls apart when we discussing racial issues in countries that a) are almost predominately one race and b) Don't carry the same scars that racism leaves behind in Western countries, where the majority race is Caucasian and the races that aren't Caucasian suffer at the hands of hundreds of years of white privilege. It's as much of a straw man as complaining about a blonde Cinderella or a straight person playing a gay person. And anyone who can't (or more likely, won't) understand that really has no place in this discussion.

It must be nice to believe that if you stop talking about "black this" and "white that" that all sorts of systematic racism will magically evaporated. It's wrong (and ignorant) but still, it must be nice.


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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 14:15:54


@ suestorm, I highly doubt that Mel Gibson, a known homophobe would consider or even be considered to play Harvey Milk.

But let's pretend he wasn't. Let's say he wasn't a mysoginist or a an anti-semite, or a raging homophobe. Well, then I wouldn't object as he is an actor and should be given the opportunity to play a wide variety of characters.

Jeffrey Wright, who just happens to be one of my all time favorite actors is a great example. He won a Tony and an Emmy for playing a hispanic homosexual nurse in ANGELS IN AMERICA. He is neither hispanic, homosexual or a nurse.

But I was talking more race - - - not sexual orientation.

One of my all time favorite performances is Natalie Wood as "Maria" in WEST SIDE STORY. She wasn't Puerto Rican and on top of that she couldn't sing and was dubbed. It's considered her most memorable role.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 14:17:31


fair enough carlos!

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 14:19:24


The problem with trying to actually discuss race (as opposed to lecture or rant), is that everyone believes that they know the truth, and anyone who disagrees is ignorant and wrong.

This precludes, by definition, "discussion."

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 14:21:04


^ I will co-sign that. This is very true and it basically goes on in almost 99.9% of the threads on this (or any other) internet forum.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 14:45:18


It's a shame you think that way, newintown, but that's your prerogative. Perhaps the problem is that so many who think they are making points against color-blind casting are usually using straw men at best or pulling up stereotypes (as a joke? I don't know) instead of actually making a point.

I mean, why should someone ever take anything Dave19 says serious ever again after this (not that most people took him seriously before)?



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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 14:55:32


Not that is contributes to anything, but Belize in Angles America was black.





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Posted by madbrian 2013-01-15 15:13:54


I think part of the contention comes from the fact that most, if not all, 'black' roles are considered such because race was an issue in the story, whereas most 'white' roles are considered such because a white person happened to be cast in that role initially.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 15:28:44


I'm sorry, I don't want to fight with you, Phyl. I don't have to.

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Posted by THDavis 2013-01-15 15:33:42


Speaking at a more regional level, I think it's important and rather interesting to take in a show that truly requires you to suspend disbelief. Film is there to show us literal translations of work, but the stage allows the audience to take a journey into their own mind and really piece together and observe a story in their own way. If a black (or white) MAN can sing the sh*t out of Effie, why not? Are we really too uncreative as theatergoers to observe the piece as a whole instead of singling out one or more characteristics that the text doesn't support? Now I can see this not working at a more mainstream level, but theatre is a place to showcase creative talents and to bend rules on the way you normally see things to give you an experience truly unique to the stage. If we can't allow that, then we may as well let theatre fizzle out the way it has been in the past X number of decades.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2013-01-15 15:43:37


The problem with trying to actually discuss anything with newintown, is that he believes that he knows the truth, and anyone who disagrees is ignorant and wrong.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 15:56:20


Ooooo! Matt! Pot! Kettle! Beige!

See that? See that there?

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 15:57:59


"The problem with trying to actually discuss anything with newintown, is that he believes that he knows the truth, and anyone who disagrees is ignorant and wrong."

Thank you MisterMatt, PhyllisRogersStonne i thought i was the only one he lectured and tried to bully

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 16:05:41


That's an irresponsible use of that word, "bully," suestorm. It's been discussed already - you need to stop name-calling, dear. It isn't lady-like. Now go get a juicebox and take your nap.

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 16:10:05


Well it contributed by pointing out my error so @ Phyllis Rogers Stone thanks for the correction in regards to Belize's ethnicity in ANGELS IN AMERICA. I don't know why I thought he was Hispanic.

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Posted by SonofRobbieJ 2013-01-15 16:13:01


Because it's a Central American country and you're racist and HOW VERY DARE YOU!!!

You're welcome.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 16:15:45


"Now go get a juicebox and take your nap."



you just proved my point NEWINTOWN. just some friendly advice...I know your Mommy mustve told you that youre the center of the universe and can do no wrong, but i dont think she meant you to take it so literal

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 16:18:00


This thread sucks so hard.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 16:18:21


Oh, suestorm - so petulant and defensive! And - what was it that Joey called you? It's on the tip of my tongue...

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-15 16:18:51


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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 16:20:57


newintown, you cant get along with anyone but your fellow meangirls can you?

so sorry i hurt your feelings.

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 16:23:18


Because it's a Central American country and you're racist and HOW VERY DARE YOU!!!

You're welcome.


OMG! So, so funny!!! Subliminally that really must be it!!! You done told me SonofRobbieJ!!!

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-15 16:26:05


The problem with feeding trolls, like feeding goats at the county fair, is that they won't stop following you after you're done...

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 16:32:32


the problem with bullies is if you dont stand up to them, they keep at it, and if you do they start crying like a little girl.

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Posted by BeadleDeedle 2013-01-15 16:51:00


and what's so wrong with crying like a little girl?

Bully.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-15 16:53:18


nothing, if youre a little girl! like me! lol

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 16:59:47


^ I think this poster really is a young girl. Her dad purchased tickets for her to go see CINDERELLA.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 17:17:18


If it is just about race and not about minorities then it should count for all descents, so no more all American girls voicing an Arabian Disney Princess (Jasmine), or no Asians for that matter, no more Americans playing people from Swedish descent in films just because they are blonde, no more American actors playing Dutch people (like in Titanic), but only hire real Dutch people, and I could go on forever.



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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 17:25:15


and I could go on forever....


But please don't...okay?

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 17:30:41


Dave19 just shut the hell up.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 17:38:04


No, you just face the facts and shut your gap.

You cannot just make up rules for one race and then ignore others. This rule is not an "exclusive deal" for black people you know.

If you don't want to compare it to other minorities, like gays, that's fine, but don't ignore each and every other race.



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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 17:39:34


What facts? Like newintown, you pretend like you're actually saying something of substance, but you aren't.

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 17:49:47


Dave19: ¡Callate la maldita boca!

Put that in your Google translate and figure it out....

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 17:52:45


Speaking of Spanish, no more roles with a Spanish background for Americans. If you keep hanging onto you theory.

Quite silly, isn't it?

And for the record, I don't need Google translator, because I speak 5 languages fluently and Spanish happens to be one of them.



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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 17:53:53


Still waiting for those facts that were mentioned but never appeared...

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Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-01-15 17:58:38


I'm fluent in two languages but Spanish is not one of them. I thought that said "Shut your Matilda mouth" but it does not say that.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 17:59:27


The fact that there are more races than African-American and that you have double standards if you don't apply your theory to all of them.

The fact that that is quite hypocritical.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 18:01:31


You're right. There are more races than African-American. And if you think I'm not aware or don't acknowledge that, then you are even more stupid than you pretend to be.

But if you have any facts pertaining to this discussion, knock yourself out. I won't hold my breath, though.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 18:06:39


I hope you understand that your views on this matter are the exact ones that keep the race-separation in tact?

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 18:07:21


I don't. You'll need to explain how.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 18:08:13


And try to refrain using the words "chicken wings" or other words that invoke stereotypes.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 18:15:51


Then focus on the subject a bit more and try to think and you will understand.

And as I said in another post, that was an example, not to be taken too seriously. "They got mad" was the point, in case you missed it. If it was about the French I would have said baguettes and if it was about the Germans I would have said bratwursts and........you get the point.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 18:17:19


Yeah, see, I already posted lengthily on this a few pages back. It would seem that the focus problem is yours. All you're doing is proving you either have nothing of substance to say or aren't interest in an actual discussion about this.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 18:31:41


No you are just offended too easily and that keeps that negative judgements intact. I can use the words chicken wings, baguettes, bratwursts, tacos, or even pink nail polish if it's about gays (which I am) whenever I want. Being offended by it is a choice. Deciding to maintain the separation is a choice.
Getting over it and choosing not to care is a choice.

Think about that.

You can claim that African-American people are a sad minority till the day you die, but eventually alle the kids that have 1 white parent and 1 black parent will not be very happy with people like you. They just want to be human. And to be seen that way. Teaching them that they should feel bad about it and should have their own roles and should have their own set of rights that keeps this in tact is actually quite disturbing.

Have you heard of the word "reciprocity"? As long as the world keeps having reactions like yours and some of the posters here, african-american people will keep on having the same reactions on that and the rest of the world will keep on seeing the big separation.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 18:36:33


Again, you're not really saying anything, and since no one (least of all me) called anyone a "sad minority" you've simply again proved you have nothing to say, having to resort to retorting against points that no one has made.

But yeah, it's a choice to to be offended by racist comments, just like it's your choice to make them. Why you want to cling so proudly to that is beyond me, but you seem happy with the terrible way you paint yourself on here, so go ahead and knock yourself out.

And if someone with one white parent and one black parent is unhappy with "people like me" I hope they'll tell me. Until then, they'll live on in your anecdotal nonsense.

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Posted by Jay Lerner-Z 2013-01-15 18:36:35


Have you heard of the word "intact"?

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 18:40:49


Thank you Jay! Always nice to get some help improving my languages.

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Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-01-15 18:44:27


"You can claim that African-American people are a sad minority till the day you die. . . Teaching them that they should feel bad about it and should have their own roles and should have their own set of rights that keeps this in tact is actually quite disturbing."

Can someone cut and paste Phyllis's statements to this effect? I can't find them.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 18:51:10


Phyllis, get over yourself.

There is nothing racist about chicken wings. Why are you so keen on looking for things that are racist? I eat chicken wings all the time. You don't help any African-American by going around on the net saying that they should really care about a chicken wing remark.

And please read my 06:31 post again. If you don't understand the power of "reciprocity" than I guess you are just one of those people who doesn't understand.

Just like the people that keep on bringing food to their already 300 pounds mother because they love her so much. The idea of helping her in another way is more loving in my opinion but feel free to have your own.



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Posted by Jay Lerner-Z 2013-01-15 18:55:02


Are you quite mad?

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 18:55:55


And please read my 06:31 post again. If you don't understand the power of "reciprocity" than I guess you are just one of those people who don't understand.

Have you heard of the word "reciprocity"? As long as the world keeps having reactions like yours and some of the posters here, african-american people will keep on having the same reactions on that and the rest of the world will keep on seeing the big separation.

So as long as I point racist comments people will still feel the need to be racist or, more globally, as long as racism is acknowledged by those who find it distasteful people will feel even more entitled to be racist?




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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 19:04:27


No, as long as you search for racism in general comments, I think you are going the wrong way, and you're not helping anyone.

I guess what it comes down to is this:

Do you really want to make the world more colorblind? Or do you want to keep on hammering on the differences because it was so bad once?

I think people should grow into caring less about the differences and you are not helping them.

If and when I make a remark about it, like in a joke, my only goal is to remind people that they are focussing on the differences too much. A good sense of humour and a good sense of perspective can help you a lot in life.

If I hear a gay joke I can cry and scream about it and make it much more negative than the one that made the remark even intented, or I can CHOOSE to laugh about it and not care and show some character as a human being and make the person that said it realize that I am more than that.


But the last thing I would want is YOU telling the one that made the remark that he shouldn't have said it, because it's so sad for me. That makes me really question the image you have about me. Or, in this case, to stay on topic, the image you have about African-American people.





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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 19:05:37


I didn't have to search for anything. It was right there.

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Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-01-15 19:29:46


Dave19, I'm trying really hard to follow this.

You deliberately chose to make a racially charged comment (it's not like you said haggis or humus; in the US, at least, that's a stereotype--black people like chicken and watermelon, right?). And you thought that was a funny joke.

Phyllis was of the opinion that perpetuating old tropes about black people was more offensive than funny. And you think this means Phyllis has a poor opinion of black people.

Is that it?




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Posted by Matt Rogers 2013-01-15 19:35:59


Dave you have made yourself sound completely insane with all your ranting and nonsensical posts. You really should not feel surprised that people are calling you out on that trash. Now go eat a bucket of chicken wings.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 20:34:48


Maybe it's because I'm European, but it is really bizarre to me that the mention of "chicken wing" makes everyone on this board hyperventilate and completely missing the point.

Can you please look past the chicken wings and try to read the message?

Because I do have a very good point. If you are too busy looking for racism so you can assure African-Americans that you feel really sorry for them and like to show that, be my guest, but then please don't participate in this discussion.


If I hear a gay joke I can cry and scream about it and make it much more negative than the one that made the remark even intented, or I can CHOOSE to laugh about it and not care and show some character as a human being and make the person that said it realize that I am more than that.


But the last thing I would want is YOU telling the one that made the remark that he shouldn't have said it, because it's so sad for me. That makes me really question the image you have about me. Or, in this case, to stay on topic, the image you have about African-American people.

I changed my mind. It's not because I'm European. It's just because I can take things with a grain of salt and see things in proper perspective.

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Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-01-15 20:41:05


I'm still trying to understand.

So if someone made a joke about how gay people are all child molestors, you would laugh, and they would consequently see that you're more than just gay.

Is that right?

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 20:43:03


You are also extremely FULL OF SH!T

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 20:46:54


Dave19 is full of it. He purposely made that chicken wing comment to get a reaction. He got it, and now he's trying to flip the script and saying those who were offended by it are the ones with the problem and that he is hurt we would have that view of him.

Hurt, my @ss. He's loving every second of it.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 20:50:58


Now that Dave19 is being European I'm fascinated at how much he thinks he knows about African-Americans.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 20:52:30


And now back on topic.

Because so many Americans insist on being very serious about the differences and look for hints of racism in every little thing, casting choice, remark, etc, etc. I assume this will stay a problem for a very long time. Even if the African-Amercian person does not realize or care about something at all, there is always an agitator around to throw oil on the fire and to make sure the person realizes how bad he should feel, which of course evokes an emotion, etc, etc. Downward spiral.

And this is a serious question; Do you realize how you call every little thing "racist"? When we watch an American tv show, literally everything is called racist. To the point where it gets really cheesy and fake. This overly-sensitive behaviour is really bad for people's perspective in life on the long term.
But I don't expect you to understand that as I assume you don't know any better.

We in Europe already know that black people are equal.
That's why not 1 single person cared that the voice of Tiana here was not done by a black woman. Not 1.
Here they don't feel like they have anything to prove. They can just be. I hope this will be the future in the USA too, but there most African-American people still feel they have a lot to prove. And prove to who? To people like you, who go and say "you shouldn't make jokes about those poor people".

Here they laugh about the jokes, because they know they eat more than chicken wings, just as I laugh about gay jokes, because I know I'm more than that, and just like the French laugh about baguette jokes because they know they eat more than that.





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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 20:53:28


Do realize how often you speak in hyperbole?

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-15 20:54:50


SOMEONE IS SUFFERING FROM DIAHRRHEA OF THE KEYBOARD AND IS TYPING OUT A WHOLE BUNCH OF SH!T!

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 20:55:08


"Now that Dave19 is being European I'm fascinated at how much he thinks he knows about African-Americans."

Quite a lot actually.

They teach world history in schools here. I bet I know a lot more than many Americans know about the history of Europe. It seems to me you are very short-sighted for example.

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Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-01-15 20:57:06


"When we watch an American tv show, literally everything is called racist."

By whom? You mean characters in all U.S. shows all call one another racist?

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-15 21:00:34


LITERALLY EVERYTHING. LITERALLY.

Just like literally everyone refers to minority as "those poor people" even though know one but Dave19 keeps saying it.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 21:01:13


basically, yes.

This whole given of ALWAYS walking on your toes because there will ALWAYS be someone offended by something you say and called racist, makes whole Europe laugh.

But you know, keep your attitudes, compare the way people live and are accepted here versus in the US, and do what you want with it.








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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-15 21:19:29


I don't think Europeans need to be so smug. It's true we enslaved African-Americans for half a millennium (with help from the European slave trade), so it's quite natural that we remain sensitive to racial sensibilities a mere half-century after the end of Jim Crow.

Maybe if there were any Jews left in Europe, Europeans would be wrestling with similar subtleties concerning race and representation. (I'm being flip, but I believe Germany has banned MEIN KAMPF, for example, so Europe has its struggles as well.)

(Confidential to Phyllis, Regi and Carlos: thanks for all your posts in this thread. Dave's arguments about simplistic "equality" make perfect sense for a second grader. Wait until he gets to middle school!)

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-15 21:32:42


It's good you mention that, because there is a comparison to the Jews over here and the Hitler regime.

But here people from all countries play Jews and Nazi's in shows and films, and are proud of it, because we all feel the stories need to be told.

That is a different way of handling things than being so uptight about it.

Also, Jews don't feel like they have to prove anything nowadays, because they are equal.

And you can call my views "simplistic" and "second grade-like", but I think many of you have a long way to go to come to this point.

I feel like I would get shot if I lived in the USA because I treat African Americans like equals and joke with them. (a chicken wing has nothing to do with the history of slavery so where does this link actually come from?)





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Posted by PTOPhan 2013-01-16 00:50:50


Hmmm, lots of interesting stuff here. Dave, in case you truly are unaware of this unpleasant fact from U.S. history, for some reason, bigoted whites often make jokes about African-Americans eating chicken (especially fried) and watermelon. Frankly, I'm not sure where the stereotype came from because these are Southern foods, and my Southern white mother-in-law ate them all the time. Nonetheless, it is indeed an ugly stereotype, and it's not polite to make comments about eating chicken when you're referring to black people, unless you literally mean that they ate chicken. (Example of when it would be ok: food poisoning in a chicken outlet, and a news reporter interviews a bunch of customers, some of whom are black, about whether the outbreak will stop them from eating at the chain again). End of lecture.

Dave, you also wrote, "Also, Jews don't feel like they have to prove anything nowadays, because they are equal." I'm Jewish and don't necessarily agree with you. I remember that there was a huge fuss when one of the "Fiddler on the Roof" revivals not only failed to cast Jewish people in any of the main roles, but also, according to one critic, tried to portray the problems that the Jewish residents of Anatevka experienced as the poor versus the rich. The critic referred to the production as a Fiddler on the Roof "without Jews."

I do NOT believe that someone has to be Jewish to play Tevye. However, if Tevye is played by a non-Jew, he'd darned well better not be a straight-haired, blue-eyed blonde, and, if he is, he needs to wear a wig. And the actor had better have all the mannerisms down -- the stereotype of Jews of European descent talking with our hands came about because we do indeed use gestures to make a point. Spoken cadences are different from that of many other people as well, probably because of the influence of Yiddish. Most Jewish actors will "get it," but non-Jewish actors may not.

One final point regarding ignoring appearance when a story is adapted from a popular book: The book's fans become furious. For example, Janet Evanovich's comedic, romantic mysteries have a huge fan following. When "One for the Money" came out as a movie a year or two ago, I'm sure that I wasn't the only reader who noticed that Joe Morelli, the very Italian tall, dark, and handsome love interest, had become blue-eyed. In fact, the props department obviously missed the memo, too, since they ginned up a police report describing him as brown-eyed. NEVER mess with fans of a mystery series -- one of the first things I learned in my writing classes.

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Posted by chewy5000 2013-01-16 00:55:47


There would appear to be a lot of black kettles in this thread.

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Posted by 3bluenight 2013-01-16 01:02:58


This is from Vijay Prashad's Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting

"When Martin Luther King Jr. and others turned to the question of poverty ( to launch the "poor people's movement), they made a claim for a maximalist notion of "human rights" - not just the right to civil liberties, but also to a home, to a job, to education, and to dignity (artlces 23-27 of the 1948 declaration.) Instead of taking on this more comprehensive demand, the civil rights movement was offered a modest program for redressal: affirmative action and the franchise."

"rather than seeing these conflicts as the legacy of de jure racism, neo=conservatives like [Nathan] Glazer and [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan produced a discourse of de facto racism that blamed the state for inequities just as it tried to mend, perhaps quixotically, racist socioeconomic relations. Within this line of thought, affirmative action, rather than racism, was to bear the burden of social dysfunction. Thomas Sowell provided an early example of a logic that has become all too familiar now: those who are assisted by affirmative action are stigmatized by it. Racism did not stigmatize people; affirmative action did."



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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-16 06:46:18


I am very much aware of the history, and therefore I would never joke about that. The point is, every person in the world gets food jokes. Rich people eat caviar, French people eat baguettes, Asian people eat rice, Dutch people eat cheese, Arabian people eat couscous, and there is not 1 single person in the world that thinks all of those people don't eat anything else. So it is not even worth the discussion basically. It's not ugly, it's food.

The real problem is that some people seem to decide for African-Americans that they cannot take any joke of any sort in the world, jokes that have nothing to do with the awful history, because for the record, chicken wings have nothing to do with slavery. They are beasically refusing to see them as normal people that can take a joke.

If it truly makes you happier when someone says "he threw a slice of cheese to the wall" than "he threw a piece of chicken to the wall", you really have issues.





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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-16 06:58:34


On topic:

"I remember that there was a huge fuss when one of the "Fiddler on the Roof" revivals not only failed to cast Jewish people in any of the main roles"

You say you would not mind as long as it's believable and the actor has the mannerisms down etc. I agree with you. That's the only thing that counts in casting.

The thing is, there is always a huge fuss before people have even seen the actor.

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-16 07:05:00


"Thomas Sowell provided an early example of a logic that has become all too familiar now: those who are assisted by affirmative action are stigmatized by it. Racism did not stigmatize people; affirmative action did."


A great lesson for some people on this board.

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Posted by tazber 2013-01-16 07:13:35


Your profound lack of understanding of American culture is only exceeded by your bizarre belief that you think you're so well versed in it.

If you don't get what was unseemly and racist in your remarks then you clearly have no clue as to what your talking about.

And that's just the wings comment. There are so many ignorant comments and false equivalencies in your posts I can't even begin to entertain the notion of having a rational discussion with you.

We have a lot of people like you here in the states. Self denying racists it seems are an international breed.

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-16 08:07:55


I not only had an issue with that lame chicken reference but in his original post he made it seem that African-Americans, or for that matter people of color were more prone to violence over racial acting choices.

That is what was so disturbing to me about his little rant.

But I have decided I have had enough of this thread. I refuse to waste time and energy on ignorant people. Dave19 is no one for me to be worrying about especially when it comes to what he thinks.

Buh-bye!

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Posted by Dave19 2013-01-16 08:41:39


"Self denying racists it seems are an international breed."

That is racist!




yawn........

And can you please tell me where it is written that black people are the only people in the world that cannot take food jokes? And no, slavery is not the same as food jokes.


That is racist to all the other races!

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 09:19:43


" Like newintown, you pretend like you're actually saying something of substance, but you aren't."

Honestly Phyl, you lose all your interesting qualities when you begin ranting on this topic. If you would cool down, you would notice that I haven't said a thing about race in this thread, nor have I even disagreed with anything you've written in it.

You hear the word "race" and you just start attacking everyone around you, like a bull who has seen a red flag.

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Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-16 09:31:00


I'm sure Phyl is oh-so-upset that he's lost his "interesting qualities" where you are concerned.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 09:34:59


Glad to see you're still avidly following me, ghostie!

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Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-16 09:39:18


You wish.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-16 09:41:32


NEWINTOWN is a troll and a bully, why are you guys bothering

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 09:42:06


And I still adore your devastating wit!

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Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-16 09:46:16


Good. On your knees.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 09:47:05


Is your wit located down there?

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Posted by ghostlight2 2013-01-16 09:56:57


How jejune.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 10:04:11


That's jejune? You have the temerity to say that I'm talking to you out of jejunosity? I am one of the most june people in all of the Russias.

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-16 10:14:07


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Posted by fiesta1 2013-01-16 13:54:02


I live in DC, and have been a regular at Arena Stage performances since the early 90s. They have been forward-thinking with their non-traditional casting for a number of year (well before their recent revisit of Oklahoma). As an audience member, I welcome non-trad casting as it allows me to look more at the actor's intent and the playwright's words more than just the physical looks.

If a play is about race (Clybourne Park, for example) than casting by skin tone can be important. But I've seen great performances from one African-American actress as Eliza Doolitte in Pygmalion and as Grusha in Caucasian Chalk Circle at Arena in the early 90s. I've also seen the flip-side - a mixed race production of The Wiz with a ginger lion on another DC stage.

The Opera world seemed to embrace casting by talent decades ago (look a the success of Leontyne Price and Jessye Norman). Why can't it work just as well in theater too?

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Posted by Mister Matt 2013-01-16 14:08:16



(photo of the Swedish Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth)

We in Europe already know that black people are equal.

And this is where you lose all credibility.

http://imdiversity.com/villages/global/racism-against-blacks-is-a-growing-trend-in-europe/

http://www.vice.com/read/guide-to-european-racist-leagues

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/04/racism-europe-football-editorial

http://www.japantoday.com/category/opinions/view/europes-racism-problem

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2010/10/18/whos-racist-now-europes-increasing-intolerance/

http://www.thecrimson.com/column/talk-to-the-hand/article/2012/11/29/harvard-europe-racism/

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-275115-racism-in-europe-reaches-alarming-proportions-says-davutoglu.html

I always love it when Europeans tell Americans what Americans ALWAYS do or are ALWAYS like without having grown up here or even lived here. Especially the ones who speak about racism from countries that are nowhere near as racially diverse as the US per capita.

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Posted by PottstownTeacher 2013-01-16 14:33:36


Not that this is the same league, but I just played the role of "John" in MISS SAIGON at a local community theatre. I'm a white guy. I only had to change one line ... "Hey listen, white boy, you losing your cool?" became "Hey listen buddy, you losing your cool?" The audience didn't seem to mind.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-16 14:36:24


I played Dorothy in my HS production of the Wizard of Oz, even though im blonde! seriously, some of the parents werent very happy, though none of my classmates seemed to mind

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-16 14:43:25


No, newintwon, you haven't said anything in this thread, but Dave19 took on the role you took in the last one (like continually ignoring what I was actually saying and bringing in tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand). But keep telling me I'm losing my cool all you want, because I know that's really all you have, even if it's demonstrably untrue. Also, I don't care what you think about me at all, be it positive or negative.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2013-01-16 14:46:21


The actor who first played John in Miss Saigon was white before a black actor was cast in the role in the US.

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 16:11:04


newintwon?

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-16 16:19:15


LOL, I made a typo! At least I gave you a freebie to stray from the subject at hand!

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-16 16:20:11


For which I thank you.

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Posted by DEClarke 2013-01-16 18:04:48


I think it depends on the show...

I saw an African-American Scrooge once. It was good because the actor was fantastic! The boy playing young Scrooge was white, but that didn't even matter because the adult Scrooge was FANTASTIC!!! It didn't detract from the show at all.

I saw a really fat Mimi in RENT once. That didn't work for me. She was not dying of AIDS. She was dying of diabetes.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-16 19:38:51


But here people from all countries play Jews and Nazi's in shows and films, and are proud of it, because we all feel the stories need to be told.

That is a different way of handling things than being so uptight about it.

Also, Jews don't feel like they have to prove anything nowadays, because they are equal.


But Dave, Jews don't look different from the rest of the population, unless they are among the few who follow strict Hassidic codes of dress and hygiene. Moreover, Jews were not forcibly banned from stage and screen for anything approaching the period that blacks were banned in the U.S. That's not to say there aren't issues of representation of Jews in Europe, but casting isn't necessarily the big issue on your side of the Atlantic.

It is Europe where Holocaust denial has been criminalized. Most of us Americans don't like it, but we haven't felt the need to abridge freedom of speech and the press in order to protect people from stupid notions.

So let's be a little careful about our generalizations as to which cultures take racism "too seriously".

***

That being said, it's not that you don't have a point that Americans are sometimes overly sensitive. It's just that you refuse to recognize that we have 500 years of reasons for that sensitivity. But I should tell you that our media LOVE battles over political correctness; in everyday life, such conflicts are ignored or resolved amicably far more often than one might think from our news reports. And in fact, most minority members of all stripes are generally quite gracious about unintended slights.

The casting issue is a sorer point because people's livelihoods are at stake. The "chicken wings" remark offends me, but it doesn't really matter compared to minority actors having to fight for an arbitrarily shrunken pool of roles.

***

As for Jews in Europe, are you sure you are qualified to speak for them? I know countless Jewish artists who have worked and/or toured your continent only to be shocked at the open anti-Semitism they encountered most places in Central Europe and EVERYWHERE in Eastern Europe.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-16 19:43:45


I played Dorothy in my HS production of the Wizard of Oz, even though im blonde! seriously, some of the parents werent very happy, though none of my classmates seemed to mind

Such ignorance on the part of those parents! Dorothy IS blonde in the original novel and MGM tried to put Judy Garland in a blonde wig, but couldn't get it to look natural.

Tell those dissenting parents I said, "So there!"

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-17 09:34:00


Thanks GavestonPS! Im embarrassed to admit i didnt know that!

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Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-01-17 09:39:19


That's true about the blond wig on Garland, but actually in the book Dorothy's hair color is never mentioned. And the original W. W. Denslow illustrations show her with sort of auburn hair.

But the illustrator who did the rest of the series (and wrote two of his own) always depicted her as blond.

Either way, there's no reason her hair can't be any color at all.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 10:41:59


I'm sure I'll piss off someone, but I'm just gonna add that people who bring hair color into a discussion like this cannot possible be being serious. I'm never sure why I'm always accused of not wanting to have a discussion when I happily spell out why I believe what I do, whilst they who disagree resort to nonsense that has nothing to do with anything.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-17 10:52:19


Perhaps Phyllis you didnt read the title of this thread. its "Casting without Considering Appearance" note, its not about just race. so that includes gay, straight, skinny, fat, young, old, short, tall, blonde, brunette as well as race. not everyone is obsessed about race

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 10:53:46


Am I gonna have to start popping a fresh batch of popcorn today?

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-17 10:57:46


If you share it with me, 'cause I'm only observing from here on out.

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-17 10:58:07


How does gay or straight factor into "casting without considering appearance"?

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 10:58:58


I'll share with you newintown.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 11:00:28


Thanks, suestorm, I thought you were a kid? No school today?

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-17 11:10:29


Phyllis, sorry that came out toney... you have a point about gay/straight, but earlier in the thread the gay/straight thing was mentioned which is why i included it

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 11:15:03


But I'll bite and pretend you're serious about the hair thing. Since casting without regard to hair color has been around since people have been performing and there's never ever been a serious contingent of people (and anecdotal parents at a high school don't count) who have been against such a practice and there's no history of it being considered an offensive or divisive practice, there truly is no room for it in a serious discussion.


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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-17 11:17:52


The parents may have just been upset their child was not Dorothy, and used the hair as a point of contention or scapegoat instead of just plain jealousy.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 11:19:44


Real parents and made up for message board parents - they all alike!

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Posted by newintown 2013-01-17 11:21:31


I can share this story (with absolutely no opinion connected): when Christine Andreas, a brunette, played Laurey in the 1979 revival of Oklahoma!, they changed Jud's lyric in "Lonely Room" from "her long, yeller hair" to "her long, raven hair."

I think some blonde actresses did picket the Palace briefly, but back then, no one took much notice of such things.

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-17 11:23:44


They be all alike in their prejudiceses.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-17 11:26:35


^^^^Why are we picking on Sue? Her point was just that some people take their preconceptions about a character's appearance VERY seriously. Wasn't it only a decade ago that some theater in New Jersey got death threats because they cast an African-American as Jesus. (I guess black Judases are okay.)

I'll even admit that *I* was surprised by the blonde Belle on the current TV show, ONCE. I just didn't send ABC a death threat over it. I thought, "Oh, well. Different version, different interpretation." But I'm terribly sophisticated that way.

***

Thank you for the correction, Regi. I must have gotten the blonde Dorothy from the illustrations in the later books, because I remember being surprised as a kid, well before I ever heard about the Garland wig. (I assume the latter was more an attempt to make her look like Shirley Temple than an effort to be true to the books).

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 11:37:37


No one is picking on Sue.

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Posted by AEA AGMA SM 2013-01-17 11:39:55


I think the blonde wig for Garland was initially chosen because blonde was in at the time. I don't think it was necessarily an attempt to subconsciously make people think of Shirley Temple, especially as the styling of the wig was nowhere near the look of Temple's trademark curls.

And, going off topic because I love talking Oz, even the Baum books are riddled with inconsistencies. For instance, Ozma is blonde at the end of The Marvelous Land of Oz when she is first transformed back into Ozma (and not just in the illustration, Baum describes her as fair haired). Then she must start visiting the royal beauty parlor because she is illustrated as dark haired (I don't remember if Baum describes her as such or just ignores it) in the rest of the books once Dorothy is brought back into the series.

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-17 11:44:01


I wouldn't call Belle blonde. If anything, she's a bit ginger or just light strawberry brown.



I do remember when Jennifer Lawrence, an Oscar nominated actress even at that time, was cast as Katniss and people lost their minds. "She's horrible for the part. Her hair is not the right color." And then when they cast a brunette boy to play a blonde Peeta? Ooooh, child.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 11:45:51


People also lost their sh*t about Rue, a character who was clearly written to be dark-skinned in the book, being playing by an African-American actress.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-17 11:45:53


You may be right, AEA. I was speculating about the blonde wig, because we know that Mayer tried to get Temple for the film.

***

And I certainly don't want to quarrel with you, Phyllis, since we are on the same side of this issue. But you've called Sue "not serious" twice and then you suggest she invented the anecdote. All because she shared a story about a few people taking hair color too seriously.

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-17 11:48:32


People also went crazy about Willow Smith, who played Prim, because the headshot available at the time showed her with a unibrow.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-17 11:57:03


I wouldn't call Belle blonde. If anything, she's a bit ginger or just light strawberry brown.

Your usage is the first time I've ever heard the term "strawberry brown". LOL.

Whatever the color, it's much lighter than the animated Belle, whose brunette-with-auburn-highlights hair is based on that of Paige O'Hara, who supplied the voice. (As I've said elsewhere, Paige and I grew up together, so I'm sure I'm much more aware of her hair color than I am with most actresses.)

But there's a tidbit of insider info for those who don't know: not always (FINDING NEMO, anyone?) but often Disney animators will base the appearance of a character on that of the voice actor playing the part. Belle looks quite a bit like Paige did 20 years ago.

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 11:57:20


Gav, in her short tenure here Sue has offered some odd and uninformed opinions on a variety of threads. And I don't think you're quarreling, but I still maintain that there's no bullying happening.

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-17 12:00:53


Fair enough, Phyl. I'll stay out of it. It just seems to me that THIS thread is all over the place anyway, so there's room for different approaches to the issue of "appearance".

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-17 12:12:37


The only casting complaint I have on OUAT is the differences in accents, like how Aurora has a standard USA accent, while Philip keeps the actor's British accent.

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-17 12:19:10


thank you GAVESTON :) I think most people would agree that PHYLLIS calling anyone Odd or uninformed is a great example of the pot calling the kettle black! all one needs to do is check pretty much most threads to see examples of her radical views and flamethrowing

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Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2013-01-17 12:22:49


"Radical views"? Such as?

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Posted by SonofRobbieJ 2013-01-17 12:31:26


Here's what I've learned about race in the last week.

1. Not getting a role because of hair color is equal to hundreds of years of the American holocaust known as slavery.

2. Writing the word 'nigger' 7000 times in one screenplay will win you a Golden Globe.

The more you know (insert shooting star here).

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 12:33:08


The more you know (insert shooting star here).

BRILLIANT! LOVE IT!

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 12:49:19


3. There's a growing contingent of white boys who seem to think that their Effie is the one that's going to break the race/gender barrier.

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Posted by SonofRobbieJ 2013-01-17 12:51:20


HEY!

You just described me.

Though it's my Caroline that I've been peddling 'round.

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 12:53:34


3. There's a growing contingent of white boys who seem to think that their Effie is the one that's going to break the race/gender barrier.

Ooooh now u done brought up the gay wiggers.

:: pops more popcorn ::

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Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2013-01-17 13:33:37


As it goes, I don't get a stick in my craw about cross gender casting. I know there are arguments to be made against it, but it's not really a topic that comes up on here a lot, except when trying to draw attention from points people are making about cross-racial casting.

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Posted by SonofRobbieJ 2013-01-17 13:39:19


^ Well...I'm not even really talking about cross-gender casting either. I'm talking about doing a song during a cabaret show or in a club setting. I'd never expect to PLAY Caroline.

Mrs. Lovett, sure. But not Caroline!

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Posted by tazber 2013-01-17 13:54:30


OMG! Piet Arion should totally play Effie!

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-17 13:56:02


No! No! No! Piet Arion should really just keep his big swishy mouth shut!

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Posted by SonofRobbieJ 2013-01-17 14:14:58


He's really more of a Lorrell.

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Posted by Mister Matt 2013-01-17 14:19:16


I'm just relieved to know that promoting complacency and ignorance is the answer to racism. If you deliberately say something racist or offensive, the fault lies on anyone who finds it racist or offensive.

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Posted by RippedMan 2013-01-17 14:54:12


I think a mixed-race play would be interesting. Like what Disney did with Cinderella with Brandy. Why not? I thought Rashad was great in August: Osage County. Who cares if her children were white? That's not the point of the play. Suspend your disbelief.

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Posted by South Fl Marc 2013-01-17 18:10:16


"Like what Disney did with Cinderella with Brandy."

The only problem with Brandy doing Cinderella was she couldn't sing the role and her acting was horrible, especially compared to the rest of the cast.

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Posted by Greatwhiteway3 2013-01-18 10:41:29


I am really passionate about this issue. It gets my blood boiling. Short and sweet...My opinion, if you don't agree so be it.

If its a concert version, cast anyone you like. Best voice, most diverse, I don't care.

If its a show, I want to be engrossed in the story. Not distracted thinking how is it possible that this 1950's white couple or has a a black child and an Asian child when adoption isn't brought into the story and it isn't likely that would have happened in the USA in the 1950's... Or, is it possible that an black man in 1820's France would have made it to Inspector in the French police.. and I'm a HUGE Norm Lewis fan.. again, concert version fine, show.. No.. You may not find it distracting, but I do and again, its my opinion.

I'd rather they pick an entire cast of say Asians, in show (when historically accurate) rather than making 1 sibling Asian, the other black and the parents hispanic and asking the audience to dispense with belief. BUT, for example, there was recently a version of Oklahoma done with an all Asian cast.. Not historically accurate for that time.. sorry.. You want to do an all Asian cast of Next to Normal.. GREAT!.. Of course, if its a production in an Asian country where white actors may not be available then that's different.

In certain cases, the forced cast diversity is as ridiculous as a white and Asian cast of Showboat.

There was recently a production of White Christmas in Syracuse where 1 sister was white the other was black, parents white.. This was in the 1950's USA.. didn't happen.. They didn't even try to explain it.. Why not make it modern times and talk about an adoption at least?

I think lots of this is about white guilt.. Sorry.. Many of these shows were written years ago when most of the audience was white. and the writers were white. They wrote what they knew and what the audience knew. Sorry That's the way it was then. Today, you have more diversity.. Let modern writers make more diverse shows. They are slowly, but surely.... Again, you want to try and adapt the story to make it more modern.. You want to make a uniform cast (black, asian, hispanic etc) as long as its historically accurate FINE.. but stop making silly casting choices and asking us to PRETEND it could all happen... to try and make up for wrongs done in the past..

IMHO

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Posted by suestorm 2013-01-18 11:44:10


GREATWHITEWAY... that was not short nor sweet!!! :p
but i totally agree with it, makes sense and is logical! but logic at least when it comes to this topic, in this forum is often in short supply

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Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-01-18 11:47:19


I like the part in this thread where everybody says things they've said a hundred times before. It was my favorite part.

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Posted by CarlosAlberto 2013-01-18 11:56:12


La - la - la - la - la la la - la..

I've got a castle on a clou - - -

Whoops, wrong thread!

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Posted by Jordan Catalano 2013-01-18 12:04:37


There is a multi racial non gender identifying age unimportant totally nonsensical castle on a cloud. I like to go there to not sleep. Old men playing Annie is allowed. Up in my (non white) castle on a cloud.

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Posted by Wynbish 2013-01-18 12:06:08


There is a person all in nondescript clothing...

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Posted by GavestonPS 2013-01-18 19:30:21


The problem with Greatwhiteway's argument is that he doesn't know his history.

19th century France was NOT Alabama. I don't know whether they had any black inspectors, but I know of no law that would have prevented it.

I'm not going to look for exact figures right now, but something like 1 in 5 cowboys was African-American. Another good percentage was Latino, Native American or mixed.

It was only Jim Crow-era films and TV shows that made the "Marlboro Man" the icon of white American males.

So while biology may not have changed, our notions of history as all-white (except for slaves) is a cultural product and a shame and not something to be encouraged.

If Greatwhiteway will only think of all the ways he is suspending his disbelief every time he walks into a theater, he may realize that ignoring racial improbabilities will only make one more. The problem is in his head, not on the stage. And by "problem" I mean lack of imagination, not racism.

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Posted by Greatwhiteway3 2013-01-19 13:00:43


Thanks Sue! Let's stop the madness!

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Posted by Greatwhiteway3 2013-01-19 13:17:48


Your imagination is MUCH better than mine.. Sorry. maybe I'm a bit to anal but I'd sit there the whole time saying, really, they want me to believe at some point this white kid turned black?.. Not to mention having a wealthy black businessman in Victorian London.

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Posted by Greatwhiteway3 2013-01-19 13:30:09


Thanks Gaveston. I like who you tell me I don't know history, while in the same breath stating you aren't sure what the answer is. I believe I asked if it was possible a black man in France could have made it to Inspector or any level in the police for that matter. ... You didn't prove otherwise. You just state in your opinion because France wasn't Alabama he PROBABLY could have. I'll take that bet.

I appreciate your point, although a bit patronizing. I have no issue pretending or suspending disbelief in theater. You want to tell me some witch is black or asian under her green makeup that's fine, but if you want to tell me Abe Lincoln or George Washington are black or you want to tell me it's biologically possible for a white father and black mother to have an Indian child (without an adoption), well I think that's pretty reasonable disbelief... Again, I have no issue with racial casting.. You want to make an all black version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof .. GREAT..(which I saw and enjoyed) great.. Minor changes were made so we didn't have to pretend this black Stanley was of Polish descent which made it make sense...You want to make an all Asian cast of My fair lady, great.. change the story and make it happen in Hong Kong.... I assume you would be ok making In the Heights all white? or making Fela all Asian? or how about both main characters in Memphis white, but one wearing a t-shirt saying "pretend i'm black"? You seem to be very imaginative.