“Hamilton” Accused of Reverse Racism with Casting Call
“Hamilton,” the smash-hit Broadway musical that has drawn universal praise for its diverse casting, may be in hot water over the thing that made it so special to begin with. CBS2 reports that the latest casting notice has drawn ire from a New York attorney over the fact that it specifically requests “non-white men and women” to audition for roles.
Randolph McLaughlin, a civil rights attorney, claims that the casting notice is in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. The law declares it unlawful for any advertisement or publication relating to employment to express “directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination” as to “race, creed, color,” among other characteristics.
While a press representative told CBS2 reporters that the ad was approved by Actor’s Equity, the Broadway union, an Actor’s Equity spokeswoman told Fortune that the ad was not in compliance with its standards and was not approved by the union.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s creator and star, has been outspoken in the past about the deliberate intention to cast minorities in these roles. He told The Hollywood Reporter:
In ‘Hamilton,’ we’re telling the stories of old, dead white men but we’re using actors of color, and that makes the story more immediate and more accessible to a contemporary audience. You don’t distance the audience by putting an actor of color in a role that you would think of as default Caucasian. No, you excite people and you draw them in.
A publicist for the show later provided a statement to Fortune that emphasized that the show did not break any laws through this posting. He said:
The producers of Hamilton regret the confusion that’s arisen from the recent posting of an open call casting notice for the show. It is essential to the storytelling of Hamilton that the principal roles—which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George)—be performed by non-white actors. This adheres to the accepted practice that certain characteristics in certain roles constitute a ‘bona fide occupational qualification’ that is legal.
So, there you have it: it looks like “Hamilton” fans need not be too concerned. And considering the intense demand for tickets (seriously…good luck getting tickets before 2018) it is doubtful that the show’s future will be affected by this controversy. With fans like President Obama, Beyonce, and practically any other famous person you could think of, it seems like the “Hamilton” train isn’t slowing down anytime soon.