Sierra Boggess Withdraws From WEST SIDE STORY Concert Following Backlash
Last week it had been announced that Broadway and West End star, Sierra Boggess, had been cast as Maria in an upcoming concert version of the classic musical West Side Story presented as part of the Proms 2018 concert series at London's Royal Albert Hall.
Following immense backlash on social media over whitewashing of the role of Maria, meant to be Puerto Rican, Boggess took to Facebook to announce that she was withdrawing from the production.
Boggess wrote: Last week, it was announced that I will be singing in a concert of West Side Story at Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms in London. Because it was a concert presentation and not the show proper - I had signed on to lend my voice to honor Leonard Bernstein in his centennial this year, with an orchestra I have loved singing with for years, following in the long list of sopranos who have all sung the score before me.
After much reflection, I've realized that if I were to do this concert, it would once again deny Latinas the opportunity to sing this score, as well as deny the IMPORTANCE of seeing themselves represented onstage. And that would be a huge mistake. Since the announcement of this concert, I have had many conversations about why this is a crucial time, now more than ever, to not perpetuate the miscasting of this show. I apologize for not coming to this realization sooner and as an artist, I must ask myself how I can best serve the world, and in this case my choice is clearer than ever: to step aside and allow an opportunity to correct a wrong that has been done for years with this show in particular. I have therefore withdrawn myself from this concert and I look forward to continuing to be a voice for change in our community and our world!
Sierra Boggess was last seen on Broadway in the Tony-nominated musical School of Rock. Other Broadway credits include It Shoulda Been You directed by David HydePierce; The Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary and opposite Norm Lewis); Master Class (opposite Tyne Daly); and The Little Mermaid (Drama Desk and Drama League nominations, Broadway.com Audience Choice Award). London theatre credits include Les Misérables; The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall; and Love Never Dies (Olivier Award nomination).
No news on updated casting for the production has yet been released.