Was Kristolyn Lloyd making a dig towards DEH?

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Call_me_jorge
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On her Instagram story she mentions how shes been the token minority in several of her shows and how shows should stop diverse casting for the sake of that.
It kind of reminded me of her situation with DEH, where the role wasn’t necessarily written for an African American.
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I doubt it’s a dig at a specific show - maybe the culture of casting in general. But sad for her to think she might have been cast for token ‘diversity’ (or racial diversity* more specifically - I want to continue to challenge the notion that diversity is just skin-deep). Maybe she was cast because she was the best person for the role? At least, I hope so. But these are the kind of unintended consequences you get when people start to think people are cast based on the demographic they belong to rather than talent. It’s why, in the workplace and in casting - unless a role specifically calls for a certain ethnicity people should always be treated as individuals and cast based on fit/talent.
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Due to the subject matter and plot, HAIRSPRAY requires non-diverse casting.  Having a black actress playing Tracy, Edna, Penny or any of the other female caucasian roles ruins the entire message of the musical.  

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It definitely sounds like a dig at multiple shows, of which DEH is one. When a show is 90% white, and they make a small supporting character black (it really is the smallest role in the show) can you really call that diversity? Especially compared to some shows that have really embraced race-neutral casting, like Les Mis or Great Comet*

*I'm not talking about shows where the character's race is important to the plot, like Hairspray or Doubt or Hamilton, where it's essential to the plot for all the roles to be specifically about one race. Nothing in Dear Evan Hansen, Hello Dolly, Next to Normal, etc is specifically about race

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BrodyFosse123 said: "Due to the subject matter and plot, HAIRSPRAY requires non-diverse casting. Having a black actress playing Tracy, Edna, Penny or any of the other female caucasian roles ruins the entire message of the musical."

Your point?

Yes, there are shows where the racial make-up of the cast absolutely matters. But for most shows, it doesn't -- yet white is still the default. There's no reason, for example, that any of the roles in Dear Evan Hansen couldn't be played by performers who aren't white.

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She's not wrong.
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I mean, she was the token minority in DEH whether or not she was best for the role. So she’s not wrong.
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And yet she was replaced by another actor of color. It’s the token track in the show. Since race is not a part of the plot, there’s no reason why any of the other characters can’t be played by a person of color. It does look like she was cast so it wouldn’t be an all-white cast.
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And the only white actor in that role so far has been Alexis Molnar, right?
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And I mean, having a token POC is better than entirely white (Looking at you, N2N)

But I think the point people are trying to make is, we should be expecting better from shows. All shows should be asking, can this role be played by a POC? Why is the entire main cast white? Should it be?

And sometimes, the answer will be yes. Doubt springs to mind, as race and racism is an explicit part of the plot but part of that is the fact that the three leads are all white and do not fully comprehend what the Mullers are dealing with. The main cast must all be white. Or Book of Mormon, Hairspray, Hamilton, In The Heights, are all shows that require actors of specific races in specific roles and should be cast as such. 

But Dear Evan Hansen? Hello Dolly? Next to Normal? Chicago, MFL, Phantom, Waitress, Wicked? So many shows are all white and shouldn't be. MANY of them have casting notices that don't even allow non-white actors to audition. 

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Others have been more eloquent than I about this, so I don’t need to defend my comments.

At least in Next to Normal, Alice Ripley’s standby on tour was Pearl Sun, an Asian actor. I hear she was incredible. I also saw Darius De Haas as Dan, Krystina Alabado as Natalie, and Devin Ilaw as Gabe all in one production. I’ll tell you, the show works with a black dad, Latina daughter, and Asian son. Because it doesn’t matter. You knew they were a family.

That is to say, when will we get an Evan who is an actor of color? I think part of Kristolyn’s point is that in these types of shows (or most shows), the roles that are deep and meaty go to actors who are white even when race isn’t specified, and actors of color are relegated to roles like hers in DEH, and yes, they sometimes turn into token roles because of the person who originated the role/track. Actors of color should have opportunities to originate and win Tonys for roles like Evan and Heidi Hansen.
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I think part of Kristolyn’s point is that in these types of shows (or most shows), the roles that are deep and meaty go to actors who are white even when race isn’t specified, and actors of color are relegated to roles like hers in DEH, and yes, they sometimes turn into token roles because of the person who originated the role/track. 

Very well said. Waitress is another example too. There's no reason Jenna or Dr. Pomatter couldn't be played by performers of color, but it seems like Becky has become the designated minority role in the Broadway production at least (and Dawn has been played by white and nonwhite actors).

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I mean, wasn't she cast in DEH after the show got criticized in an earlier reiteration for being too white?

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She was mostly reposting a thread from Carolyn Richardson.
It was a fantastic post.

1. Just casting POC in roles that were written by white people for and about white people isn't the end game in diversity casting.

2. Kristolyn did say she has been the token person of color in several shows. I assume she means DEH as one example. However, she wasn't insinuating it was a bad experience at all.

3. One of the main points that I got from of the thread is that there should be more shows produced that are written by POC. The shows don't have to specifically be about race, but that black actors are always going to have to bring their experiences/culture to the roles and those experiences should be developed into the characters.
 

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I saw Pearl Sun (and Alice Ripley in the same weekend). It was incredible with Pearl - her singing much stronger than Ripley at this point. And there was a certain novelty of seeing the mixed family as there are more and more families looking like this these days in Australia #leaven2nalone.
"Rose in Gypsy was like going through therapy for me. Playing Rose helped me put a lot of emotions to bed. There was so much lacking in Rose and that's why she had to prove herself through her children. [interviewer]In ways that reminded you of your mom?[/interviewer]. Let's just say the role was very interesting for me. That one was the most interesting [I've ever played]" - Bernadette Peters (2018)
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When the OBC features a person of color in a role, any role, just imagine the outcry were the producers to replace that actor with a white actor. The anger would be loud and immediate (as it should be). 

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Well there shouldn’t be when there is a good reason to (see: Mandy Patinkin).
"Rose in Gypsy was like going through therapy for me. Playing Rose helped me put a lot of emotions to bed. There was so much lacking in Rose and that's why she had to prove herself through her children. [interviewer]In ways that reminded you of your mom?[/interviewer]. Let's just say the role was very interesting for me. That one was the most interesting [I've ever played]" - Bernadette Peters (2018)
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^ The Original Broadway Cast of GREAT COMET featured a white actor in the part Patinkin was up for.

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Rainah said: "But Dear Evan Hansen? Hello Dolly? Next to Normal? Chicago, MFL, Phantom, Waitress, Wicked? So many shows are all white and shouldn't be. MANY of them have casting notices that don't even allow non-white actors to audition."

Phantom does not belong in the above list.

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Someone in a Tree2 said: "When the OBC features a person of color in a role, any role, just imagine the outcry were the producers to replace that actor with a white actor. The anger would be loud and immediate (as it should be)."

Well, Erin Wilhelmi replaced Condola Rashad when she left ADHP2 at the exact same time the whole Great Comet thing was happening. Was there an outcry? No. Mainly because Condola wasn’t fired to have Erin replace her. Just a reminder that THAT was largely the issue people had with Great Comet, not just a white person replacing a black person.

No one is denying Lloyd’s talent when they say she could’ve been hired for diversity. She’s a talent and was very good in the role. But when casting the understudies for this role (traditionally also understudies Zoe), they have always specifically asked for an actress of color. You can’t be seen if you are white. That’s not totally a bad thing, but it is interesting that they seem to seek people of color only for this one role. Even if they say “any ethnicity” for the other tracks, they have yet to actually mean it.

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Rainah said: "But Dear Evan Hansen? Hello Dolly? Next to Normal? Chicago, MFL, Phantom, Waitress, Wicked? So many shows are all white and shouldn't be. MANY of them have casting notices that don't even allow non-white actors to audition."



Phantom as of late has been casting non-white actors like Norm Lewis, Ali Ewoldt, Jordan Donica, etc., not to mention that the recent two Phantoms on the tour have been black. While it's true that the show was unfortunate in its inability to cast anyone who wasn't white for many years, I don't think it belongs on this list anymore since the show has been taking strides towards being more diverse.

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White actresses have replaced two Asian actresses as Dawn in Waitress. No outcry. Don’t think it’s needed either. Waitress has been incredible about POC in principal roles and also in the ensemble. It’s one of the few shows where I feel the POC in the ensemble aren’t “token.” They also always have a female conductor. Now where’s our Asian/POC Jenna?
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This brings up a very important conversation but definitely not one the industry is ready to have.

Re: Waitress, they’ve always made sure on broadway that one of the 3 main women are a POC.

Re: Dolls House, Erin joined the same time Steven did, who’s a black man.

Re: DEH, “token” is a harsh word to use, but we’re lying to ourselves if we think otherwise.

Also, we will never see a POC Evan Hansen - audiences would never give him the ridiculous “pass” and empthay they do since he’s just a skinny attractive white kid. Notice how none of his understudies are of color.

I think there’s a difference between color aware casting and color blind casting. And broadway sure as hell has no clue what to do about it. (Except for perfect examples already mentioned, like Comet and Waitress)
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Yeah, I don't see why it matters who takes over a part if the role, on paper, is never specified to be a certain race. I thought the idea was to embrace colorblind casting and let POC feel like they're being given the real opportunity to play "normal" roles that aren't tokenized, not furthering the division by continuing the trend of designating POC to THESE specific parts.
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