Colorblind Diversity Essay

1679 Words 7 Pages
Social media has become a major news source over the course of the last few years. Due to its accessibility and transparency, Americans have begun a fresh conversation about current race relations and equality. Earlier this year, the issue of diversity in entertainment came to the forefront with the hashtag: #OscarsSoWhite. This pointed out the imbalance of recognition of the works of white actors and actors of color. Contrarily, with the booming popularity of Hamilton in the theater world, the Tony’s were celebrated for their diversity with the hashtag: #TonysSoDiverse. Theater has always strived to reflect the world we live in and to comment on social issues. In this way it can often be more telling of who we are as a people than Hollywood …show more content…
2016 has been considered a great year for diversity in theater. Hamilton, Waitress, Eclipsed, and Spring Awakening all received attention at the Tony’s this year, and were examples of the potential of equal representation of people of color, women, and disabled persons. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, supports a method called colorblind casting, which attempts to be completely independent of race in relation to the way the character is originally portrayed in the script. It instead focuses on the acting and musical abilities of auditioning actors and chooses the most capable and talented. This can be seen in Hamilton, where historically white figures are played by people of color. The casting choice did not change the narrative of the story. Waitress employed a mostly female cast, and portrays Asian actress Kimiko Glenn in a larger role that was originally written for a white woman. These choices display a more realistic representation of who we are as Americans. Eclipsed was the first Broadway show to be portrayed by all black women, and to be directed by a black woman. History is being made. Deaf West Theatre’s revival of Spring Awakening re-envisioned the show to include both hearing and deaf actors, and contained the first person in a wheelchair to be cast in a role not originally written for a person in a wheelchair (Scott). This inclusion of the disabled community is sorely needed. In the two Broadway seasons leading up to the …show more content…
Tim Dang, the artistic director of East West Players, has a plan titled the 51% Preparedness Plan. This plan is an attempt to more accurately depict the demographics of their theaters community in Southern California. It also encourages other companies to do the same. According to the article Preparing for a More Diverse 2042 by Diep Tran, ”East West’s plan calls on theatres to commit to diversity over the next five years, via one of the following criteria: 51 percent of your organization’s artists and production personnel (combined) will be people of color; or 51 percent of your organization’s artists and production personnel (combined) will be women; or 51 percent of your organization’s artists and production personnel (combined) will be under 35 years of age” (Tran). There are also organizations such as Latino/a Theater Commons and Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists who hold conferences yearly to work toward equality and representation in theater. They are striving to accomplish this through networking, collaboration, and education (Tran). To continue to grow and develop accurate diversity in art, we must look to these leaders and organizations for solutions. We must listen to the voices of minorities and believe them when they say, a white man playing an Asian role is offensive. We must listen when the disabled community tells us they are unrepresented. We

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