North Shore Music Theatre Defends EVITA Casting, Despite Accusations of Whitewashing
As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Bill Hanney's award winning North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) will soon present Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's legendary musical, EVITA. Now the theatre is under fire for casting a predominantly white company to portray the Argentinian characters- led by Briana Carlson-Goodman as Eva, Constantine Maroulis as Che, John Cudia as Peron and Nick Adams as Magaldi.
In a recent interview with Wbur, Hanney defended the theatre's standard practice of colorblind casting. "If it's a dance show, which 'Evita' is, they have to dance it, they have to sing it, they act it. Those are the three most important things," he explained.
He told the Boston Globe: "If a Latino person came in and they were the best, they'd be in my show,' he asserted. "We found the right people. Our focus was not to find a Latino. It was to find the right Eva, Che, Peron, etc."
Project Am I Right? founder Lauren Villegas stands against the 'whitewashing'. "Blackface does not happen in theater today, yellowface largely does not happen, but Latinx characters do not get the same kind of care when being cast,' she told the Globe.
She continued: "Actors do more than pretend; we draw on who we are. I hope people realize that choosing to appropriate a culture they don't know will only perpetuate shallow stereotypes."
This environmental production, created solely for our unique theatre in-the-round, can be seen only at North Shore Music Theatre beginning on Tuesday, September 26 and play thru Sunday, October 8.
For decades, theater-lovers have thrilled to the story of EVITA, which recounts Eva Peron's meteoric rise from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world-while her greed, outsized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. EVITA tells Eva's passionate and unforgettable true story and features some of theater's most beautiful songs, including "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," "Another Suitcase in Another Hall," And "High Flying, Adored."
Since opening in 1955, NSMT has become one of the most attended theatres in New England, with approximately 250,000 patrons annually. With a national and regional reputation for artistic achievement, NSMT has received numerous industry awards including Elliot Norton Awards, IRNE Awards, the Rosetta Le Noire Award from Actors' Equity, and the Moss Hart Award. NSMT produced the World Premiere of 'Memphis' in 2003, the show went on to win four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Under the new ownership of Bill Hanney since 2010, NSMT continues to annually produce a musical subscription series and an annual production of 'A Christmas Carol' along with celebrity concerts, children's programming and year-round education classes.