Leslie Odom Jr said last week that despite Hamiltons success, hes still not being offered the roles a white performer would be. Will things ever change? We speak to actors and casting agents about race on Broadway
This year, Broadway boasted perhaps the most ethnically diverse season of the past decades. There were several musicals and one play play both created and being carried out by artists of colouring and other runs that featured nonwhite actors in prominent roles. This season also included Broadways first performer in a wheelchair in a dance-heavy musical , no less. When the Tony nominations were announced, 14 of the 40 nominations in the acting categories went to actors of color, a welcome corrective to the #OscarsSoWhite trend.
But how diverse is Broadway actually? And how welcoming is it to artists of colouring? Last week, the Hollywood Reporter met seven nominated performers Leslie Odom Jr, Jeff Daniels, Gabriel Byrne, Zachary Levi, Reed Birney, Danny Burstein and Alex Brightman for a roundtable that often focused on the diversity of the season. That a panel expressed their concern about diversity featured only one performer of colour seemed telling enough. But more distressing were Odoms comments on his career prospects after Hamilton.
Odom has earned career-making reviews as Aaron Burr, the scoundrel of Hamilton. But he was moved to comment: If a white performer was having a similar situation as Im having right now in this prove, the kind of success of this depict, there might be three or four offers a week for the next shows youre going to do. There are no shows for me to do. Theres merely no roles.
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