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Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Announce Future HAIRSPRAY Productions Must Cast to 'Reflect Characters as Written'

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Announce Future HAIRSPRAY Productions Must Cast to 'Reflect Characters as Written'

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Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Announce Future HAIRSPRAY Productions Must Cast to 'Reflect Characters as Written'

Progress is being made in the world of musical theatre today, as OnStage Blog's Chris Peterson reports that Hairspray creators Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman have announced a change that will affect the way the show is performed in the future. The change in question has to do with a casting loophole that allows theatres around the world to produce the musical with non-black actors playing black characters... until today.

Shaiman said in a statement: "While it always seemed like common sense to us that people would choose to put on HAIRSPRAY with the knowledge that they could perform the show as written, we were naive. But, to state what I would hope to be the obvious, we never ENCOURAGED an all-white production. But this situation has ALWAYS troubled us (it has certainly gnawed at me for years) and so, we are grateful to say that Music Theatre International (which represents and licenses Hairspray) WILL be requiring groups to cast the show so as to accurately reflect the characters as we wrote them. A show that specifically addresses one aspect of the black experience during the civil rights battles of the early 1960s deserves to have its characters accurately and appropriately portrayed on stage."

Click here to read Shaiman's full statement.

The original New York production of Hairspray won eight Tony Awards, including Best New Musical, whilst the original West End production won four Olivier Awards, also including Best New Musical.

Baltimore, 1962. Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and big dreams. Can she make it on the local TV dance show, win the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin and bring everyone together - whatever their color, size or hairdo? Well if you want a change, you've really got to shake things up!


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