#TonysSoWhite ?

PaulWom
Featured Actor
joined:8/8/16
Featured Actor
joined:
8/8/16
#TonysSoWhite ?#1
Posted: 6/12/17 at 7:45pm

Curious as to why there isn't such a backlash this year as to the lack of diversity. I've seen a couple articles that have pointed this out so far 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/leeseymour/2016/04/04/the-tonys-are-just-as-white-as-the-oscars-here-are-the-tonyssowhite-statistics/amp/

Updated On: 6/12/17 at 07:45 PM
Sondheim_Disney1595
Understudy
joined:1/18/15
Understudy
joined:
1/18/15
#TonysSoWhite ?#2
Posted: 6/12/17 at 7:50pm

The article is from April 4, 2016

dianamorales Profile Photodianamorales Profile Photo
dianamorales
Stand-by
joined:8/9/15
Stand-by
joined:
8/9/15
#TonysSoWhite ?#3
Posted: 6/12/17 at 7:52pm

I've seen plenty of backlash and I think it's mostly ridiculous. If you look at the nominees rather than the tiny number of winners, theres plenty of diversity. The musicals still have a ways to go, but Great Comet was the most diverse and the most nominated show of the season. Come From Away was much less diverse but still confronts minority related issues. As far as the plays, nearly every single best play nominee was diverse, related to minorities, or featured color blind casting. I can only think of 2 plays at all this season at all that aren't diverse. Just because you don't care about it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

Broadway Joe Profile PhotoBroadway Joe Profile Photo
Broadway Joe
Broadway Legend
joined:6/15/10
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/15/10
#TonysSoWhite ?#4
Posted: 6/12/17 at 7:55pm

Jitney won best revival of a play. 

behindthescenes2
Stand-by
joined:7/30/12
Stand-by
joined:
7/30/12
#TonysSoWhite ?#5
Posted: 6/12/17 at 7:57pm

Here we go again. Did you notice how many non-white actors were nominated this year?  Are the Tony voters required to vote quotas now instead of talent, although in general nominations based upon talent is a whole other thread. I mean for example: a Tony voter is to take into account that they voted for a non-white featured actor in a play, so it's safe to vote for the white actress in a leading role in a musical?  Next it will be that we get rid of the gender actory requirements altogther and just for the he/she/they/it/hirs and if we don't this will prove that we are prejudice and depriving people of the fluid or pan or trans persuastion of their opportunities to get a Tony, especially if they don't feel male or female identified that season.  In fact, why don't we just give everyone a Tony that appeared on broadway during the year so that everyone will feel special and equal and not traumatized that someone recieved an award and they did not.  Nothing like beating the dead horse again, and again, and yet again.

Kavana Profile PhotoKavana Profile Photo
Kavana
Featured Actor
joined:5/16/03
Featured Actor
joined:
5/16/03
#TonysSoWhite ?#6
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:07pm

This years Tony Awards showed how mediocre sour milk can be. I'm still clueless as to why Cynthia & Leslie were asked and agreed to preform less than 15 lyrics with the rockettes behind them as if nm ..lmao 

Waiting to chop crackas heads off
PaulWom
Featured Actor
joined:8/8/16
Featured Actor
joined:
8/8/16
#TonysSoWhite ?#7
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:08pm

I apologize - I thought the article was from this year. A friend forwarded it to me when discussing the topic. But I still think it stands, especially in relation to last year.

PaulWom
Featured Actor
joined:8/8/16
Featured Actor
joined:
8/8/16
#TonysSoWhite ?#8
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:11pm

However, I will point out tht Lee Seymour was unfortunately correct when he cautioned that last year might be a fluke. In my personal opinion, years like this at the Tonys show producers that there are absolutely no consequences to whitewashing. 

wonderfulwizard11 Profile Photowonderfulwizard11 Profile Photo
wonderfulwizard11
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/30/05
#TonysSoWhite ?#9
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:15pm

This year felt like a mixed bag- a fair amount of shows, like Comet, Groundhog Day, and Come From Away, did feature diverse cats (with CFA also displaying some sorely-needed body diversity), but that was barely represented in this year's nominees and even less so in the winners. It felt a little embarrassing that the closest representation POC got onscreen (aside from Mimi Lien and Alex Lacamoire's offscreen wins) was for Jitney, where the award was accepted by a white person. I don't think it was a disaster of a year, but Broadway still obviously has a long way to go in terms of diverse casting and representation, just like pretty much every other type of media. 

I am a firm believer in serendipity- all the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along.
JBroadway Profile PhotoJBroadway Profile Photo
JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/6/12
#TonysSoWhite ?#10
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:22pm

I think the nominees had some nice diversity this year, and it was great to see Jitney take home Best Revival. I think the #TonysSoWhite backlash comes from a sentiment of "don't get cocky." Last year was so great in terms of diversity, that proponents of more diverse casting (including myself) don't want producers and the Tony committee to get to used to giving themselves a pat on the back. Half the acting categories were all white, the other half were mostly white, and all of the acting winners were white. We can't just say "well, there were some POC thrown in there so we're all good." The way I see it, it's not about villainizing the Tonys, it's just about remaining aware of the trends and trying to continue moving in a more diverse direction. 

Sunny11
Broadway Star
joined:9/3/14
Broadway Star
joined:
9/3/14
#TonysSoWhite ?#11
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:31pm

I think that some of it is  a numbers game. In a given year only a handfull of shows get the buzz and dominate the awards. Last year it was Hamilton and The colour purple which happened to have diverse casting while this year it was Caucasian heavy DEH and Dolly. 

The Tony nominators/voters can't help who the audience and critics gravitate to.

It's a shame that Miss Saigon, a POC heavy cast, was badly reviewed so didn't produce as many Tony nominees as it could of.

 

wonderfulwizard11 Profile Photowonderfulwizard11 Profile Photo
wonderfulwizard11
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/30/05
#TonysSoWhite ?#12
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:35pm

The thing is though, both Dolly and Dear Evan Hansen could have had some diverse casting (though to be fair I suppose DEH has a smaller cast). Dolly had a few people of color in the ensemble, but none in leading roles, which shouldn't fly in 2017. 

I am a firm believer in serendipity- all the random pieces coming together in one wonderful moment, when suddenly you see what their purpose was all along.
sondmon
Stand-by
joined:5/17/15
Stand-by
joined:
5/17/15
#TonysSoWhite ?#13
Posted: 6/12/17 at 8:59pm

I think a major point here in terms of the general oscars vs. tonys has to be recognized. There are around 400 movies eligible for oscars each year and therefore the selection of nominated films is significantly more arbitrary than the tonys. Statistically because there are so many films it should'nt be heard to have a diverse group of nominated actors and films. Being that the Tonys pick from a much smaller pool there is going to be greater variation from season to season in terms of what stories are recognized. Color Purple and Hamilton in the same season was a nice coincidence but there are enough movies like that every year. Hope that made sense.

Wick3 Profile PhotoWick3 Profile Photo
Wick3
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/14
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/5/14
#TonysSoWhite ?#14
Posted: 6/12/17 at 9:05pm

wonderfulwizard11 said: "The thing is though, both Dolly and Dear Evan Hansen could have had some diverse casting (though to be fair I suppose DEH has a smaller cast). Dolly had a few people of color in the ensemble, but none in leading roles, which shouldn't fly in 2017. "

I agree on the casting of Hello Dolly in terms of race. I actually thought Christian Dante White was better than Gavin Creel and most certainly could have had a shot at that Best Featured Actor tony.  However, what did impress me about Hello Dolly's casting was the diversity of age! During Sunday Clothes, there were definitely a few older men/women out there dancing and it was amazing to see!!! :)

One show that I wish was part of the Tony's is Sunday in the Park with George. Now that was a very diverse cast that worked! 

If anything, I hope more songwriters out there would take Lin-Manuel's lead and write roles for POC. 

 

CallMeAl2 Profile PhotoCallMeAl2 Profile Photo
CallMeAl2
Featured Actor
joined:2/12/14
Featured Actor
joined:
2/12/14
#TonysSoWhite ?#15
Posted: 6/12/17 at 9:46pm

I'm sorry, is there a quota system of which I am not aware? Please let me know what numbers we are trying to hit so I can weigh in on how Broadway is doing.

Or if people have stories of personal experiences of racism influencing creative decisions on Broadway, that would be interesting too.

But talking about a hashtag with nothing behind it is kind of boring.

JBroadway Profile PhotoJBroadway Profile Photo
JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
4/6/12
#TonysSoWhite ?#16
Posted: 6/12/17 at 10:00pm

CallMeAl2 said: "I'm sorry, is there a quota system of which I am not aware? Please let me know what numbers we are trying to hit so I can weigh in on how Broadway is doing."

 

Again, it's about remaining aware of the trends and trying to move in a more diverse direction. Not a quota. 

 

qolbinau Profile Photoqolbinau Profile Photo
qolbinau
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/08
#TonysSoWhite ?#17
Posted: 6/12/17 at 10:15pm

CallMeAl2 said: "I'm sorry, is there a quota system of which I am not aware? Please let me know what numbers we are trying to hit so I can weigh in on how Broadway is doing.

Or if people have stories of personal experiences of racism influencing creative decisions on Broadway, that would be interesting too.

But talking about a hashtag with nothing behind it is kind of boring.


 

"

Exactly. We can't just look at a bunch of white people being nominated or winning and shout RACISM RACIAM RACISM. What we need to understand is the systems, processes and behaviours that are leading to this. Are people being actively discriminated against when it comes to being cast in shows and/or when awards seasons come around (if so, who and how and why?), are shows being written with not enough roles for POC (and if so, why?), what is the demographic prevalence of POC actors compared to the general population? (E.g., are there more or less POC interested in persuing this career). 

There are probably many many reasons why there are less POC winning or being nominated for awards. Some because of racism but others because of benign reasons. It would be good to understand where exactly the apparent racism is  - without any evidence I'd guess discrimination is occurring not at the Tony/awards level but at the initial writing and casting level where people don't 'see' in their vision POC playing certain roles, even if there is no reason they could not. I don't blame the Tony Awards for this. 

 

 

"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
Updated On: 6/12/17 at 10:15 PM
Rainah
Broadway Star
joined:11/24/16
Broadway Star
joined:
11/24/16
#TonysSoWhite ?#18
Posted: 6/12/17 at 10:30pm

wonderfulwizard11 said: "The thing is though, both Dolly and Dear Evan Hansen could have had some diverse casting (though to be fair I suppose DEH has a smaller cast). Dolly had a few people of color in the ensemble, but none in leading roles, which shouldn't fly in 2017. "

Exactly my point. There is no reason that, in 2017, these shows have an all-white cast*. This isn't Ragtime, where race is essential to the plot. There is no reason why these roles can't be open to actors of any race. And while I am not fond of either show, I would (And do) say the same about any show.

 

* The one black side character who has no songs, no recognition, and people struggling to remember her name, doesn't count as diversity sorry.

qolbinau Profile Photoqolbinau Profile Photo
qolbinau
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/08
#TonysSoWhite ?#19
Posted: 6/12/17 at 10:36pm

Ok well let's look at Dolly for example. Do we know that they had more talented POC to choose from but still went with a white actor? I mean I guess we can't know for sure but if we look at the leads one by one and consider what they bring to the show - it is reasonable to think in my opinion that they genuinely did not have a better option. Bette, Kate, Gavin, David in particular are all turning out top-tier performances. I would not be surprised if they were simply the best choices. 

"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
HeyMrMusic Profile PhotoHeyMrMusic Profile Photo
HeyMrMusic
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/16/04
#TonysSoWhite ?#20
Posted: 6/13/17 at 12:26am

Yes, that is true, but also how many opportunities have Bette, David, Kate, and Gavin had to finally arrive at this moment in this production and two of them finally get career Tonys? How many chances will Eva Noblezada have to have the same success, the same room to grow and finally land a plum role to win a Tony? Even after Lea Salonga won the Tony for Miss Saigon, she never got a role worthy of her talents ever again because she was never really considered for one because of her race.

There's no reason why Evan Hansen or Connor Murphy or Jared Kleinman can't be played by an actor of color. Race does not play a factor in any of the characters in Dear Evan Hansen, and casting Alana Becker as black does feel like a token ensemble member situation.

I was just talking with friends today that no one ever fights for people of color in casting, but it's always talked about when there are all-black, all-POC productions of shows because they have to make opportunities for themselves. When white people don't see themselves onstage, that's when the conversation starts. Why can't you have shows all the time like Waitress or Groundhog Day or The Great Comet where race doesn't play a factor and the casting is as colorful as the world is? Why do POC have to only do shows that deal with their oppression in society rather than play "everyday, normal people"?

Jed2
Chorus Member
joined:5/17/16
Chorus Member
joined:
5/17/16
#TonysSoWhite ?#21
Posted: 6/13/17 at 12:35am

qolbinau said: "Ok well let's look at Dolly for example. Do we know that they had more talented POC to choose from but still went with a white actor? I mean I guess we can't know for sure but if we look at the leads one by one and consider what they bring to the show - it is reasonable to think in my opinion that they genuinely did not have a better option. Bette, Kate, Gavin, David in particular are all turning out top-tier performances. I would not be surprised if they were simply the best choices. 

 

qolbinau, I agree with you.

 

You mention 'white actor' in Hello Dolly. How about an actor named White http://www.playbill.com/article/bette-midler-gives-final-bow-in-hello-dolly-to-understudy-christian-dante-white

"

 

HeyMrMusic Profile PhotoHeyMrMusic Profile Photo
HeyMrMusic
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/16/04
#TonysSoWhite ?#22
Posted: 6/13/17 at 12:46am

Also, those four actors in particular were probably offered the roles before any kind of official casting notice. They're a "dream cast" roster. POC are almost never considered in these scenarios (unless it calls for a POC), and when they are considered, like Joshua Henry in Carousel, people think the casting is problematic. Because it all of a sudden becomes about his race and not the character. A white Billy is troubled romantic but a black Billy is a black man beating his white wife. 

I don't doubt the eight actors who won Tonys last night are not superior at their jobs. I'm big fans of theirs. There needs to be more opportunity for actors of color in roles that are not color-specific. Every role, unless there is a regard to race, should be open to all ethnicities. Believe it or not, there ARE actors of color out there chomping at the bit to be considered for juicy roles that aren't in productions of The Color Purple and Miss Saigon.

Batgirl478
Swing
joined:12/15/16
Swing
joined:
12/15/16
#TonysSoWhite ?#23
Posted: 6/13/17 at 12:53am

HeyMrMusic said: "Yes, that is true, but also how many opportunities have Bette, David, Kate, and Gavin had to finally arrive at this moment in this production and two of them finally get career Tonys? How many chances will Eva Noblezada have to have the same success, the same room to grow and finally land a plum role to win a Tony? Even after Lea Salonga won the Tony for Miss Saigon, she never got a role worthy of her talents ever again because she was never really considered for one because of her race.

What about her roles in Les Mis? She played both Eponine and Fantine. Granted, they are smaller but I think they were definitely roles worthy of her talents and she got to perform a couple of the most iconic songs in the show, in my opinion. I actually first became aware of her when I was a teenager because of Les Mis. I saw her on a talk show once performing On My Own and was blown away by her voice. 

But as for the rest of your points, I agree. POC should definitely be considered for roles of normal people. 

Hellob Profile PhotoHellob Profile Photo
Hellob
Broadway Star
joined:5/15/15
Broadway Star
joined:
5/15/15
#TonysSoWhite ?#24
Posted: 6/13/17 at 1:04am

wonderfulwizard11 said: "This year felt like a mixed bag- a fair amount of shows, like Comet, Groundhog Day, and Come From Away, did feature diverse cats (with CFA also displaying some sorely-needed body diversity), but that was barely represented in this year's nominees and even less so in the winners. It felt a little embarrassing that the closest representation POC got onscreen (aside from Mimi Lien and Alex Lacamoire's offscreen wins) was for Jitney, where the award was accepted by a white person. I don't think it was a disaster of a year, but Broadway still obviously has a long way to go in terms of diverse casting and representation, just like pretty much every other type of media. 

 

"

The lady from Jitney looked black/biracial 

HeyMrMusic Profile PhotoHeyMrMusic Profile Photo
HeyMrMusic
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/16/04
#TonysSoWhite ?#25
Posted: 6/13/17 at 1:09am

Lea originated roles in Flower Drum Song and Allegiance, productions arguably not worthy of her talent and only about Asian struggles, none even her own nationality.