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HAMILTON Producers Comment on 'Non-White' Casting Controversy; Will Amend Open Call Notice

As previously reported by BroadwayWorld, the producers of Hamilton recently sent out a casting notice specifying they are "looking for non-white men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for both the Broadway production and upcoming national tours. No theatre experience necessary."

As BWW wrote earlier, CBS News reports that civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin of the Newman Ferrara Law Firm has claimed the casting notice violates New York City's anti-discrimination laws. "What if they put an ad out that said, 'Whites only need apply?" says McLaughlin. "Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged."

New York City's Commission on Human Rights reports no complaints about the notice as of yet and producer Jeffrey Seller was quoted as saying, "I stand by it and believe it to be legal."

Representatives for the production say the language used was approved by Actors' Equity, and the show's producers have just released the following statement on the issue:

"The producers of HAMILTON regret the confusion that's arisen from the recent posting of an open call casting notice for the show. It is essential to the storytelling of HAMILTON that the principal roles -- which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George) -- be performed by non-white actors. This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a 'bona fide occupational qualification' that is legal. This also follows in the tradition of many shows that call for race, ethnicity or age specific casting, whether it's THE COLOR PURPLE or PORGY & BESS, or MATILDA. The casting will be amended to also include language we neglected to add, that is, we welcome people of all ethnicities to audition for HAMILTON.

"'HAMILTON depicts the birth of our nation in a singular way,' said producer Jeffrey Seller. We will continue to cast the show with the same multicultural diversity that we have employed thus far.'"

The cast of Hamilton is comprised of Lin-Manuel Miranda (Alexander Hamilton), Daveed Diggs(Marquis De Lafayette,Thomas Jefferson), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler),Christopher Jackson (George Washington), Jonathan Groff (King George), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Peggy Schuyler, Maria Reynolds), Javier Muñoz (Hamilton alternate), Okieriete Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan, James Madison), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Aaron Burr), Anthony Ramos(John Laurens, Philip Hamilton) and Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton).

From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, Hamilton is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington,Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America's fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we've become. Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail directs this new musical about taking your shot, speaking your mind, and turning the world upside down.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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