Casting without Considering Appearance

CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 10:01pm
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.
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 10:07pm
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.
Some people can get a thrill, knitting sweaters and sitting still. That's okay for some people, who don't know they're alive!
dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 10:11pm
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.
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 10:15pm
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.
Some people can get a thrill, knitting sweaters and sitting still. That's okay for some people, who don't know they're alive!
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 10:22pm
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.
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
PTOPhan
Featured Actor
joined:6/5/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 10:55pm
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.

You alone can make my song take flight.
Updated On: 1/13/13 at 10:55 PM
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 11:15pm
I meant that Midler "passed" on the script, as in she turned the role down when it was offered to her.
Visceral_Fella
Broadway Star
joined:1/18/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/13/13 at 11:44pm
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.
Updated On: 1/13/13 at 11:44 PM
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 12:48am
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.
bwaylvsong
Broadway Legend
joined:7/28/05
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 12:54am
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).
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 12:55am
I meant when it is crucial to the plot.

Carlotta's size in Phantom of the Opera is crucial to the plot?
Visceral_Fella
Broadway Star
joined:1/18/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 01:04am
bwaylvsong, oh really? I never knew that. Cool.
AwesomeDanny
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/09
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 01:21am
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.
chewy5000
Broadway Legend
joined:12/1/09
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 01:30am
I've seen a fat Jesus. It was interesting, to say the least.
IMHO I see Queenie as being more of a brunette...
Idiot
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/10
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 03:01am
I'd like to see a blue Elphaba. But then I'd have to see the show again. Never mind.
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 06:33am
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.







Updated On: 1/14/13 at 06:33 AM
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 07:36am
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.
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 07:55am
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.
















Updated On: 1/14/13 at 07:55 AM
rhdery
Understudy
joined:7/22/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 08:22am
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.

CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 08:24am
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.
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 08:27am
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.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 08:40am
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.



Updated On: 1/14/13 at 08:40 AM
South Fl Marc
Broadway Legend
joined:6/23/04
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 08:48am
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.
Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 09:00am
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.


Updated On: 1/14/13 at 09:00 AM
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 10:56am
"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.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
darion
Understudy
joined:5/4/12
Casting without Considering Appearance
Posted: 1/14/13 at 12:07pm
i wonder what will they do in breakfast at tiffanys? Mickey Rooney played an Asian man in the movie...