Comments on: Quiara Alegría Hudes (and Lin-Manuel Miranda) on Casting “In The Heights” in partnership with the New School Sat, 19 Aug 2017 10:59:45 +0000 hourly 1 By: VeryNot Thu, 06 Oct 2016 15:47:00 +0000 “I’m asking these questions because I really don’t know.”

No, you’re asking these questions because you have an agenda and a point you want to prove. Don’t play coy with your motivations and act as though you’re simply asking genuine questions — that tactic is transparent and weaselly when you go on to answer your own questions a sentence or two later. You are implying there is no Latinx audience nor a large enough pool of Latinx actors to draw from, so no B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S owner should be expected put money into appealing to such a limited audience. What’s more, you seem to think any decisions a business makes is beyond criticism, so long as they’re not hurting anyone.

Your views are very short-sighted, as if casting a Latinx actor in a Latinx role only matters if there is a large enough Latinx audience. White actors abound in theatre. White kids abound in drama clubs and acting classes. I know, because I was one of them. Theatre isn’t something lots of kids of color consider — as a white person, I couldn’t begin to explain why that is, and to try would be beyond presumptuous. But as a white theatre goer, seeing actors of color up on stage is enlightening and so, so meaningful to me. Exposing ALL audience members, no matter what color or background, to the idea that not every theatre actor is white — it has meaning. It’s representation, it creates an AHA! moment for people who perhaps never considered that there may be great Latinx musical actors, brilliant black dramatic actors, superb Asian dancers. The more representation, the less it becomes a revelation and the more it becomes just an everyday thing that the audience no longer notices. And hopefully, the more everyday it becomes, the more minority kids decide to join the school drama club and make their dream of being on Broadway come true.

So a theatre casting a white actor in a Latinx role, in a Latinx play written by Latinx creators is regressive and a total misstep. Talented Latinx actors are not unicorns, and if a theatre wants to do a show that is all about the Latinx experience, they should be prepared to put in the work to fill the roles appropriately. Honestly, I think Porchlight is just making a crass cash-grab by putting on a show created by the hottest talent in theatre right now, coinciding with the opening of THE hottest show in years. They’re riding Lin Manuel Miranda’s wave, but not respecting what he and his partners have been working years to create — interest in Latinx stories, opportunities for minorities to shine on stage, an effort at reaching across the color lines to bring everyone into the theatre, including the stereotypical theatre-going white audience. In Miranda’s world, EVERYONE is invited to play, and the more the merrier. In other words, he is doing the very thing you arrogantly suggest Hudes should do. She and people like Miranda ARE creating their own opportunities with their own works, their own money, their own personal risks.

And now we come to the silliest argument you seem to be making — that theatres shouldn’t have to risk money on doing more outreach for minority actors, because there might not be an audience for actors with diverse backgrounds. May I introduce you to a little show Miranda created called HAMILTON? I think it might just do OK!

Your reasoning that theatres should be immune to criticism for making what you deem market-driven decisions in casting is ridiculous in this post-HAMILTON world. HAMILTON proves audiences will not only accept diversity on stage, but embrace it, celebrate it, and, in what seems to be your most important point: PAY FOR IT.

By: Jean Wed, 17 Aug 2016 01:02:00 +0000 What part of the Latinx population make up the theatre-going audience in Chicago? What part of the Latinx population make up theatre-going audience to Latinx plays? Are shows like “In The Heights” popular with Latinx ticket buyers? I’m asking these questions because I really don’t know. And while we’re at it, how many Latinx actors go through theatre training? Is it a lot? It seems strange to me that you should be commenting on how somebody runs their own business. Because that’s what it is. It is a B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S. If you want to raise money and build a theatre company and an audience-base, then go for it, by all means. But let a man run his own business. He’s not hurting you.