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West Side Story Uk Tour Cast Announced


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#21 sam22

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 05:24 PM

Well said Cactus

#22 Titan

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 05:43 PM

The original Maria wasnt Puerto Rican, neither was Natalia Wood in the movie. The last time this toured Sophia Escobar played her and she is from Portugal.

Find it odd people are up in arms all of a sudden

#23 Matthew Winn

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:44 PM

View PostCactus, on 30 June 2013 - 05:12 PM, said:

Surely the fact that roles which aren't specified as white are predominantly thought of as white and cast as white by default should be even more worrying?

Yes, that is a problem, but it's a problem with the directing, not with the role, and it's not the problem as you originally stated it, which was...

Quote

[...] that most roles in musical theatre already call for white actors and actresses

I'm not saying that it's not harder for non-white performers to get work. I'm saying that you can't point the finger at the shows themselves.
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#24 Michael H

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 11:25 PM

View PostMatthew Winn, on 30 June 2013 - 04:45 PM, said:

Every Chitty cast I've seen has had all the principals as white, but I don't recall anything in the script that requires it.

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#25 djp

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 12:36 AM

View PostCactus, on 30 June 2013 - 11:34 AM, said:

There are, actually, and you mentioned the second issue as well: people are familiar with roles that aren't specifically written as white being played by white performers and see them as 'white'. That is problematic. And now add to that the fact that white performers are also playing roles which are specifically written as NOT white as is the case here. It doesn't take a lot of effort to realise how privileged white performers already are.


In West Side Story the script explicitly mentiones it: The Sharks are definitely Puerto Rican, it's addressed lots and lots of times, they comment on how the 'Americans' aren't 'truly' Americans but Polish and criticise their own status as 'foreigners' and how 'one look' at them will make people 'judge twice'. National and ethnical identity are issues.

They could be martians in the script, but they are not going to be martians, or Puerto Rican, in the UK unless you happen to have a top, top soprano, who can sing ,act and dance it, who is Puerto Rican. And if you do go for someone weaker who is Puerto Rican , whats the point if the  rest of the gang are not?  We have already arguably gone too far currently with the idea that Americans can best act Americans. While elsewhere we have stretched colour blindness to the maximum -  making different generations of the same family different races with both parents seen on stage. . There's very few roles left that actually logically call  for any particular race, and even there some producers have gone for the totally colour blind approach - even if some of the audience have found it strange. There may be an issue with who gets  the  jobs, but thats  probably a much wider issue with other factors ,  like accents,or drama school entry and degree ,  involved too.

#26 Cactus

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:48 AM

View Postdjp, on 01 July 2013 - 12:36 AM, said:

They could be martians in the script, but they are not going to be martians
The fact that you're defending whitewashing by comparing the casting of Latino characters to the casting of martians is saying a lot.

#27 Eastender

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:54 AM

There are many parts which traditionally are black or white. And just occasionally it gets turned around. And sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.
Two examples where it worked:
Clarke Peters playing Sky in Guys and Dolls at the National.
Clive Rowe playing Enoch Snow in Carousel again at the National. There were gasps from the audience when he made his entrance.

#28 Titan

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:14 AM

View PostCactus, on 01 July 2013 - 08:48 AM, said:

The fact that you're defending whitewashing by comparing the casting of Latino characters to the casting of martians is saying a lot.

The fact that youre saying 'latinos' and not specifiying Puerto Ricans says a lot.  Basically generalising a whole continent as one, effectively saying any old person from the region will do.

#29 Cactus

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:31 AM

View PostTitan, on 01 July 2013 - 09:14 AM, said:

The fact that youre saying 'latinos' and not specifiying Puerto Ricans says a lot.  Basically generalising a whole continent as one, effectively saying any old person from the region will do.
Is it preferable to whitewash them without any respect for their heritage at all? Of course it would be fantastic to have Puerto Rican performers for all the Sharks. But while that is difficult in the UK it still doesn't mean they have to be turned into Yet Another Bunch Of White Characters on the musical theatre stage.

#30 sahunt

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:04 AM

I'm amazed at level of controversy this is creating.

Correct me if i'm wrong but wasn't there a furore a few years back about having a black Javert in Les Mis?




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