Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit show Hamilton has been top of the charts for it’s entire Broadway and off-Broadway engagement. It’s been highly praised by it’s audience and critics, including countless celebrities, and President Obama. The music is clever and beautiful, and even won a Grammy for it. It is historically accurate (for the most part) and brings light to a significant founding father in United States history. When I saw the article stating that Hamilton is being accused of discrimination, I was shocked and confused.
The cast is composed of non-white actors playing significant, white historical people, so when a casting call for the show posted that it was seeking “non-white” actors, there was backlash by people who felt that the show wasn’t giving people of all ethnic backgrounds the chance to audition. Critics have stated that it reverts back to a time in America where black people weren’t given opportunities that white people were getting.
I understand where these thought are coming from, but my argument is that the show was written in intention of having non-white Americans playing the parts. Miranda’s intention was for the cast to represent the America of today, a culturally diverse cast of Americans. It is fact that minorities get less chances for big roles in theatre, film, and television (just look at this years Oscars). And when non-race specific roles are cast, it’s almost always white people who get the part. Miranda is broadening that gap and giving the non-white minority access to parts they wouldn’t normally have.
The world of the play, and the rules that are met within that world, are completely contrived by the playwright at hand. If Lin-Manuel wants the world of his musical to have non-white actors playing the characters he developed for the stage, then those are the rules of the world of the show and should be obliged. I’m sure you wouldn’t hold open auditions for all ethnicities for The Color Purple.