"Hamilton" is a runaway hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics, and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show was inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton, by historian Ron Chernow. All of the characters (except George III) including our Founding Fathers in the musical are played by minority actors and this is where the problem started.
The producers of the show recently posted an announcement on their website about open casting calls for companies in NYC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The ad announced:
“Hamilton” is “seeking NON-WHITE men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for Broadway and upcoming Tours..."Whoa! Not only has this notice run afoul of our NYC Human Rights Commission, but when brought to the attention of Actors' Equity Association, the union for actors and stage manager of which I used to be a member, they were annoyed. Union officials stated that it clearly violates their rules because Equity stipulates in its guidelines that all actors must be considered “without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression or political persuasion or belief."
As someone pointed out in the NYDN article, if the notice stated that only white actors need apply, Al Sharpton, Black Lives Matter, and La Raza would be staging a huge protest. Probably true, but a notice like that would never be published to begin with.
Of course the producers decided to change the notices, but not the casting policy. None of this really matters except that it points out that it is still okay to openingly discriminate as long as one does not put it in writing. Nothing changes.
Afterthought: Though I have not seen the musical because it is impossible to get tickets, I have it really good authority that is truly inspiring and even better than even all of the stellar reviews. Hamilton was one of our founders who was exactly why this country was founded. He proved that someone who was not "to the manner born" could rise to greatness based on ability. To their great credit, the producers have made tickets available free of charge to students in the NYC school system.
Anyway, the floor is open.