What to do about ITH professional production with non POC in lead roles?

MR11
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There is a production of In The Heights happening in Pittsburgh that just started rehearsals. They've cast non POC as lead roles. What do you all think, in your opinion is the best course of action? 

Do we as a theatre community....boycott the production? Alert the media? Speak to the non POC actors? Members of the latinx community have already reached out to the company to express their concerns but no response. 

 

https://www.broadwayworld.com/pittsburgh/article/Lin-Manuel-Mirandas-IN-THE-HEIGHTS-Takes-The-Stage-In-Pittsburghs-West-End-20190104

teatime2
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Its blatant racism. The production should be stopped.
MR11
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I agree, but how do we take action? Our community is pretty small and no one seems to want to ruffle any feathers because they want to work for them in the future. Shouldn't this issue be more important than the possibility of you performing on their stage in the future? Why would you even want to after this blatant disregard?

 

JSquared2
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MR11 said: "I agree, but how do we take action? Our community is pretty small and no one seems to want to ruffle any feathers because they want to work for them in the future. Shouldn't this issue be more important than the possibility of you performing on their stage in the future? Why would you even want to after this blatant disregard?

Sounds like someone didn’t get a callback. Perhaps MYOB, Mrs Kravitz??

 

robskynyc
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its ONE production thats only running ONE week. calm the F down. its not that serious. its also very SUS that you made your account specifically to post this. did you audition and they passed you over? whats your real reason for bashing this?

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haterobics
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Isn't this just community theater? Only doing like 7 shows, and based on their instagram, it isn't easy to tell who is playing who, but not just a bunch of white people: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsWcRH_BUIV/

teatime2
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JSquared2 said: "MR11 said: "I agree, but how do we take action? Our community is pretty small and no one seems to want to ruffle any feathers because they want to work for them in the future. Shouldn't this issue be more important than the possibility of you performing on their stage in the future? Why would you even want to after this blatant disregard?

Sounds like someone didn’t get a callback. PerhapsMYOB, Mrs Kravitz??
"

tea

 

trpguyy
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You could try your very best to not buy a ticket.
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Show me a birth certificate! 

"The 54th Street[theatre] had a rep as. . .where old musicals went to die." -Smaxie
MR11
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This is an Equity, professional company with a two-week run.  Also, does it really matter? I came to this board for advice and it's too bad that everyone is just going to make a joke out of it. I'm not an actor and I didn't audition. I'm a theatre artist trying to fight for what is right and just and it seems that no one wants to take seriously on this message board. We all can do better. 

MR11
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I'm guessing it's not "very serious" to you because you aren't a POC fighting for representation and roles and instead they are being given to white actors? 

Very sad.

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My Korean neighbors daughter was just cast as Usnavi in her high school production of IN THE HEIGHTS and her male drama teacher is playing Daniela as a transgender. Should I stop this?
MR11
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BrodyFosse123 said: "My Korean neighbors daughter was just cast as Usnavi in her high school production of IN THE HEIGHTS and her male drama teacher is playing Daniela as a transgender. Should I stop this?"

Again, I'm guessing you are a white person who this doesn't matter to because you are white. Keep making jokes, so sad and you are literally THE problem. 

 

I just hope you aren't in a position of power in the arts, because that would be SAD.

Troll away. 

 

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I'll give you a serious answer:

You get others involved....community and theater leaders. Start a letter writing campaign.  Ask to be heard and to have them address your concerns.   If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, boycott.   

 

You really have no other options. 

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
MR11
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dramamama611 said: "I'll give you a serious answer:

You get others involved....community and theater leaders. Start a letter writing campaign. Ask to be heard and to have them address your concerns. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, boycott.



You really have no other options.
"

 

Thanks, Dramamama611. We actually had a citywide diversity in theater open forum a few years ago and over 150 people showed up....little good it did, unfortunately. Just can't stop trying I suppose.

 

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MR11 said: "We actually had a citywidediversity in theater open forum a few years ago and over 150 people showed up....little good it did, unfortunately. Just can't stop trying I suppose."

Seems like the time to get on top of this is when they announced they were going to do the production in September. That seems like the better time to put them on notice that you are watching to make sure it reflects the diversity, etc., etc. Not once it is in rehearsals already and opening in two weeks.

 

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Is it bad that I looked at the Twitter photo earlier up in the thread, and saw no one who I had an issue with. Its not like Andrew Keenan Bolger is playing Benny

"The 54th Street[theatre] had a rep as. . .where old musicals went to die." -Smaxie
MR11
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haterobics said: "MR11 said: "We actually had a citywidediversity in theater open forum a few years ago and over 150 people showed up....little good it did, unfortunately. Just can't stop trying I suppose."

Seems like the time to get on top of this is when they announced they were going to do the production in September. That seems like the better time to put them on notice that you are watching to make sure it reflects the diversity, etc., etc.Not once it is in rehearsals already and opening in two weeks.


All of that happened. People reached out and the company, when the show was announced. It was asked if there would be an out of town/NY audition since the Latinx actor community in Pittsburgh is very small. They do not offer housing so that made it very difficult for people from out of town to audition. 

The company was very very secretive about who they'd cast and still haven't officially announced the cast. 

 

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haterobics said: "MR11 said: "We actually had a citywidediversity in theater open forum a few years ago and over 150 people showed up....little good it did, unfortunately. Just can't stop trying I suppose."

Seems like the time to get on top of this is when they announced they were going to do the production in September. That seems like the better time to put them on notice that you are watching to make sure it reflects the diversity, etc., etc.Not once it is in rehearsals already and opening in two weeks.
"

That's like saying, 'You should really send a letter to the theater producing FENCES to let them know you are making sure they're casting black actors.'  That would be insane.  And this is the same.  I believe Miranda has stated that he's open to 'non-traditional casting' for school and (maybe) community theater productions.  But if this is a production that falls under Equity's jurisdiction, the cast should be latinx. 

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MR11 said: "The company was very very secretive about who they'd cast and still haven't officially announced the cast."

They're posting cast photos on Instagram and tagging them all?

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haterobics said: "Isn't this just community theater? Only doing like 7 shows, and based on their instagram, it isn't easy to tell who is playing who, but not just a bunch of white people:https://www.instagram.com/p/BsWcRH_BUIV/"

I'm taking the question seriously.
But haterobics is right about the picture of the cast not being all white people.

 

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ggersten
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This happened in Chicago:  One article:  Porchlight In The Heights Casting Controversy  and another with Porchlight's Artistic Director:   Porchlight Responds  

MR11
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henrikegerman said: "haterobics said: "Isn't this just community theater? Only doing like 7 shows, and based on their instagram, it isn't easy to tell who is playing who, but not just a bunch of white people:https://www.instagram.com/p/BsWcRH_BUIV/"

I'm taking the question seriously.
But haterobics is right about the picture of the cast not being all white people.


I never said it was "all white people." But there are several lead roles being played by white people including Kevin and Camilla. In face the actress playing that role even used the hashtag #italiangirl in her insta post announcing her involvement. 

 

And the picture was posted yesterday on the first day of rehearsals. A cast list/announcement still hasn't been given to press because they are trying to avoid the backlash as long as possible I suppose?

As you can see they did try to cast the show with Latinx but even having any roles played by white people is very problematic. Think about how awful Kevin's storyline will play with a WHITE actor in the role......

 

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SonofRobbieJ said: "That's like saying, 'You should really send a letter to the theater producing FENCES to let them know you are making sure they're casting black actors.' That would be insane. And this is the same. I believe Miranda has stated that he's open to 'non-traditional casting' for school and (maybe) community theater productions. But if this is a production that falls under Equity's jurisdiction, the cast should be latinx."

It's not the first time this issue has happened with ITH, so seems like if diversity in Pittsburgh theater were your issue, that isn't a huge enough focus that you'd just wait and see, rather than put the theater on notice in advance.

Whereas only one whitey has ever been cast as MLK in The Mountaintop, so it would be more jarring in a case where the role is expected to be performed by a black actor.

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MR11 said: "A cast list/announcement still hasn't been given to press because they are trying to avoid the backlash as long as possible I suppose?"

Or because people are just going to buy a ticket to see In The Heights, without regard for who is in the cast.

"Think about how awful Kevin's storyline will play with a WHITE actor in the role......"

It's been a while, but I'm drawing a blank. He runs a taxi stand, and his daughter was the first to go off to college... and, what am I forgetting?!