U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 04-13-2018, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
239 posts, read 652,111 times
Reputation: 127

Advertisements

I recently attended a production of Hamilton in Chicago. I hadn't read much about this play before I went, other than that most of the actors are non-Caucasian, i.e. African-American or Hispanic, and that the songs were hip-hop or rap in format. I read that the rationale for this was to make the play more "accessible" to a young, diverse audience.

As it turned out, in this production, all but two of the characters were portrayed by African-American or Hispanic actors. Those two white characters were very negative: King George, a villainous buffoon, and General Lee, an incompetent, indecisive army general. (Aaron Burr, another negative character, was portrayed by a very light-skinned man who identifies as African-American.) The positive (heroic) characters, including Thomas Jefferson, were all African-American.

My questions:
- was this deliberate casting, or just an accident of random selection? I understand that there have been many theater productions of historical dramas in which a role is played by an actor of a different race than the historical figure. But, taking the cast as a whole, the selection of actors seems too consistent to be random.
- If deliberate, what was the purpose?
- Could this casting be construed as a kind reverse cultural appropriation?
- If the purpose was to make the events of that time more "accessible" to a diverse audience, why not cast the play with mostly women? or Asians?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-13-2018, 04:51 PM
 
5,974 posts, read 2,807,961 times
Reputation: 20639
Trying to figure out whether or not you're going to be offended?

Either you are or you aren't. Don't overthink it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-13-2018, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
16,125 posts, read 8,407,290 times
Reputation: 23439
Because it was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda and this was his vision.

Want a different show with a different cast? Write your own.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-14-2018, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
16,125 posts, read 8,407,290 times
Reputation: 23439
I came back to give a little bit less snarky response to this although I still think the point of saying it was LMM's vision stands.

But to answer

1. Yes it was deliberate casting.

2. There are many purposes - some is to reflect America as it is today, where people of color play roles that were unimaginable in Hamilton's day. And that itself serves a double purpose - to make these historical figures more accessible and more real to people today, esp. younger people and especially younger people of color who have traditionally been somewhat ignored by both history and Broadway. But it's also a reminder that you don't see black and brown faces in the history books and on the currency and to ask the question of what did we miss by excluding and enslaving these people? As much of a genius as Hamilton was, what about the untapped genius of untold numbers of black people consigned to slavery and never given a chance to exercise their own genius?

3. I guess one could argue it's "reverse cultural appropriation" but I think a valid counter argument is that you cannot appropriate the majority culture because it's already applied to everyone whether they want it or not. We all live in a white person created United States of America, that's just the reality and there's no escaping it.

4. There were some Asian people, along with some white people in both the main roles and in the chorus. But this one really goes back to my original answer, this was Lin-Manuel Miranda's vision. He read a book about Hamilton and identified with him and wrote a show with a starring role for himself. The rest of it is how it all came together in his head. If someone else had come up with the idea, no doubt they would have approached it differently.

fwiw, I would not say that Jefferson is portrayed as a positive, heroic character in the show, I'd say his position is ambivalent at best. But then again, ambivalent is probably accurate for someone who could write the stirring words of the Declaration of Independence to call for freedom while personally owning other human beings.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top