A suburban Minneapolis theater company has cancelled a production of “Cinderella” because its cast was “too white.”
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres was scheduled to stage Roger & Hammerstein’s classic play later this year before its artistic director stepped in to criticise its lack of racial diversity, twincities.com reported.
“It was 98 percent white,” Michael Brindisi, the theater’s artistic director, told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press on Wednesday after looking at the actors who had been cast. “That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.”
Brindisi said he considered recasting but instead decided to “scrap this and start fresh with a clean slate.”
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has hired a diversity consultant and pledged a commitment to “identity-conscious casting and becoming a more intentionally anti-racist theater,” it said in a statement.
“After careful consideration and with our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we have made the decision to cancel our upcoming production,” it states.
“In addition to changing future programming, we are establishing new pre-production protocols. We will be inviting and paying [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] artists to analyze the production with our creative teams through a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lens.”
However, finding people of color to fill future roles may prove difficult. Chanhassen which is located southwest of Minneapolis, has a population that is overwhelmingly white. According to the most recent census, 92.5 percent of people in Chanhassen are white. Less than 3 percent of residents are Hispanic, while 1.1 percent are black.
In place of “Cinderella,” the theater will now stage a more diverse adaptation of Footloose, scheduled for 2022. the dance-centric musical “Footloose” in 2022, according to the report. In July, it also plans to reopen a production of “The Music Man” with a “strong priority placed on casting BIPOC artists.”