This was discussed a lot with Head Over Heels and how we define what "beauty" is in our culture.
SouthernCakes said: "I feel like everyone gets up in arms regarding race (see every Evita cast announcement), but no one really talks about weight? Why cant Elphaba be a thicker girl? Why cant Evan Hansen be a bigger boy? I was watching the All 4 Evans Sing video and thought why is does this character have to be some skinny angelic faced boy? Does that help us be on his side more since his actions are terrible? Why cant the mothers in the show be thicker ladies? Or the dads etc. Just random thoughts as I do cardio lol"That's show biz for ya, it's all about how you look. Having said that, there have been Elphaba's I've seen who were on the thicker side, which I consider a good thing, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
SouthernCakes said: "Just seems especially true in musical theater where everyone is just super skinny. Not even like “athletic,” but just super skinny. Why can’t Bonnie Mc be Elphaba? Or anyone else for that matter."It is certainly a reasonable question as to specific casting examples, but to suggest that "everyone is just super skinny" in musical theatre is just super wrong.
InTheBathroom1 said: "I once heard someone involved with DEH say that the size of the bed impacts who can be cast as Evan..."A) that is almost certainly BSB) even if it were true, there’s nothing about that bed that would prevent them from casting a variety of body types, even if they had to set some kind of weight limit because their set builders constructed a rickety piece of furniture that can’t support regular human bodies in an array of sizesC) yeah, whoever told you this lied
As annang pointed out about the DEH bed: if the cherry picker is so weak that it can't lift over 200lbs (or whatever), I would be frightened for the safety of ANYONE who rode on it, not just heavier people. Surely this expensive piece of machinery can accomodate a little bit of extra weight. As for the waist limit; IF it's even true that there is a waist limit preventing larger people from being cast, then surely they could make some minor adjustments to the restraints without having to replace the whole machine. These are just lazy excuses for lazy casting. Heavy actors are frequently asked to stand on chairs, tables, platforms, and sometimes *GASP* they are even lifted up in the air by other actors! Imagine that! Maybe if they cast a heavy-set person as Elphaba or Evan Hansen, they should just replace the bed or the cherry-picker with 2 strong chorus boys!
It is certainly a reasonable question as to specific casting examples, but to suggest that "everyone is just super skinny" in musical theatre is just super wrong. Laughably so.
Many actors have stated that being in shape is just part of the job. It's not all about looks, but most successful actors are very attractive. Regarding Evan, the character needs to be reminded to eat, and in my opinion, cannot be a strong or large guy, it wouldn't really make sense to the story.
The Distinctive Baritone said: "I think the prejudice against heavy actors is not just a beauty thing, but a health thing. It would appear that the public, generally speaking, would rather watch a story acted out by someone who is “pleasant to look at” than not. So not necessarily beautiful and skinny, but healthy at least. Some weird biological thing I guess."50% of an audience is grossly overweight so prefer not to see a mirror image of themselves up there?Those 4 Evans could not have been more different--in looks and age
LuPita2 said: "Many actors have stated that being in shape is just part of the job. It's not all about looks, but most successful actors are very attractive. Regarding Evan, the character needs to be reminded to eat, and in my opinion, cannot be a strong or large guy, it wouldn't really make sense to the story."Um, no. Larger people are not always the weight that they are due to overeating. It can be caused by a number of things, including thyroid issues, certain medications, genetics, etc. It is perfectly plausable that an “overweight” person may not eat as much as they should.
Um, yeah? As I stated, it's my opinion regarding Evan. Adderall is similar to speed/meth, combining that with him being a teenager without any physical health issues, it would make sense he is small. Can't really be a football player type. Evan has a certain look, which is evident in all the Evans around the world. Take it up with them.
What you said in your post is that a larger actor wouldn’t make sense as Evan simply based on the fact that Evan has to be told to eat, which simply isn’t true. Evan has been consistently played by smaller actors because, as discussed in this thread, that’s unfortunately what Broadway wants right now. Getting past expectations for what someone should look like, there’s no reason that Evan must be skinny.
LuPita2 said: "Evan has a certain look, which is evident in all the Evans around the world. Take it up with them."I think looking at the type of actor typically cast in the role just speaks to the lack of creativity and homogenous casting, not the role itself. There is no textual evidence that Evan needs to be a certain size or color. Do people of all shapes not take Adderall? Do teens of all sizes not have mental health issues? Can a person of color or a person with a little extra weight not be relatable to a sold-out audience? I think it just boils down to laziness in casting. Bonnie Milligan should play just about any leading lady role she wants to.
I don't know if it's being lazy, I guess whomever is in charge of casting has a certain idea of who Evan is. Perhaps that idea will change, I certainly think Evan can be any race, but the body thing won't change anytime soon.
LuPita2 said: "I don't know if it's being lazy, I guess whomever is in charge of casting has a certain idea of who Evan is. Perhaps that idea will change, I certainly think Evan can be any race, but the body thing won't change anytime soon."And that’s what I call lazy casting and close-mindedness. There’s no good reason, especially if we can suspend our disbelief about everything else in the show.
I'm surprised there haven't been any chubby Jennas. A waitress who spends all day making sweet sugary pies would likely be somewhat chubby. She's also in the first trimester of pregnancy when a lot of women start to gain weight.
I totally agree when it comes to parts in new productions the world could do more for body inclusivity. You see all the time that those shows who start off with any track of the show given to a certain body size that replacements will tend to follow that pattern. However, as someone who only got a role in an off-broadway show because I fit the costumes already existing from a previous production (after an audition, this was the last thing I had to do before being cast) I know that once a show reaches a state of being frozen these things are harder to work around. The cherry picker is actually a valid point. When auditioning for Nemo at Disney they have weight limits for the actors who use the harnesses to "swim" through the air. I've had friends audition for shows at the MUNY where the costume package was already ordered and measurements between similarly shaped actresses did factor in a casting process. The Glinda on tour just got her own Glinda dress after being in the show for a few weeks using older costumes, these are very expensive decisions and no one is going to cast a bigger or taller person for the publicity if they don't already have a 10,000 dollar dress in their size to put them in. Ultimately, writers and Directors cast shows the way they see it. It's their artistic vision. If you want to disagree, stage your own production of a show you can get the rights to, write your own show, become a casting associate.
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