NEW YORK (AP) — The Broadway smash “Hamilton,” which has been cheered for reclaiming the nation’s founding story by a multicultural cast, has oddly come under fire for specifically seeking “nonwhite men and women” for upcoming roles in future versions.
That went too far for the Actors’ Equity Association union, which said Wednesday that the show’s language was not official or in compliance with their rules.
The show responded by saying it regretted the confusion and will amend the notice to add that “we welcome people of all ethnicities to audition.”
No such outcry was heard when the show was first being mounted, which called specifically for nonwhite actors to play the likes of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson and Eliza Hamilton. Only King George III was supposed to be filled by a white man.
“Hamilton” producers said such a stance adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a legal and “bona fide occupational qualification.” Other shows also cast with ethnicity in mind.
Since it opened off-Broadway last year, the show has been celebrated for putting minorities at the center of America’s birth. The show’s African-American, Asian and Latino actors have been cheered by President Barak Obama, British actress Helen Mirren and many others.
The latest snag occurred when the show posted on its website a call for “nonwhite men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for Broadway and upcoming tours.” Equity, which usually reviews casting notices, said it had not in this case.
“Our audition rules are created to provide the broadest access possible for our members to be seen for roles,” the union said.
The show is by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show’s book, music and lyrics, and stars in the title role. It stresses the orphan, immigrant roots of Hamilton and has a terrifically varied score, ranging from pop ballads to gospel to sexy R&B. A Chicago production will open this fall and a national tour will travel to San Francisco and then Los Angeles in 2017.
“‘Hamilton’ depicts the birth of our nation in a singular way,” producer Jeffrey Seller said in a statement. “We will continue to cast the show with the same multicultural diversity that we have employed thus far.”
Celebrating Black Tony Award Winners
1. Audra McDonald - Six-Time Tony Award Winner1 of 49
2. Hinton Battle - Three-Timee Tony Award Winner2 of 49
3. George C. Wolfe (as Director) - Two-Time Tony Award Winner3 of 49
4. James Earl Jones - Two-Time Tony Award Winner4 of 49
5. Viola Davis - Two-Time Tony Award Winner5 of 49
6. Bill T. Jones - Two-Time Tony Award Winner6 of 49
7. Gregory Hines - Two-Time Tony Award Winner7 of 49
8. Juanita Hall, First African American Tony Winner8 of 49
9. Harry Belafonte - First African American Male Winner9 of 49
10. Lorraine Hansberry, Playwright10 of 49
11. Joseph A. Walker, Playwright11 of 49
12. Whoopi Goldberg , Producer12 of 49
13. Tamara Tunie, Producer13 of 49
14. August Wilson, Playwright14 of 49
15. LaChanze15 of 49
16. Leslie Uggams16 of 49
17. Brian Stokes Mitchell17 of 49
18. Ben Harney18 of 49
19. Virginia Capers19 of 49
20. Cleavon Little20 of 49
21. Ben Vereen21 of 49
22. Billy Porter22 of 49
23. Diahann Carroll23 of 49
24. Jennifer Holliday24 of 49
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26. Ruth Brown26 of 49
27. Patina Miller27 of 49
28. Heather Headley28 of 49
29. Kenny Leon29 of 49
30. Phylicia Rashad30 of 49
31. Laurence Fishburne31 of 49
32. Nell Carter32 of 49
33. Mary Alice33 of 49
34. Ron Simons34 of 49
35. Sarah Jones35 of 49
36. Stew36 of 49
37. George Faison37 of 49
38. Cicely Tyson38 of 49
39. Savion Glover39 of 49
40. Jeffrey Wright40 of 49
41. Courtney B. Vance41 of 49
42. Anika Noni Rose42 of 49
43. Lena Horne43 of 49
44. Pearl Bailey44 of 49
45. Melba Moore45 of 49
46. Lynn Thigpen46 of 49
47. Nikki James47 of 49
48. Dee Dee Bridgewater48 of 49
49. REGISTER NOW for the 2014 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion taking place August 28- September 1, 2014 in Orlando, Florida! For booking information, call 407-248-9191.49 of 49
(Photo Source: AP)