Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle has a guest column in Variety to formally write about diversity and the Hamilton casting notice. Earlier in the week, Equity created tremendous Internet backlash by seemingly to be only concerned about discrimination when white actors were excluded. The Union subsequently deleted a tweet and replaced the 140 character message with a much longer one for Union members. In her Variety column, Shindle states the Union wants to “move on” from its poor messaging which was really all a digital misunderstanding:
That it was blown up into a “war” between “Hamilton” and Actors’ Equity Association… was mostly an unfortunate byproduct of the informational echo chamber in which we live. As the President of Actors’ Equity, I can unequivocally state not only that we are ready to move on, but also that our industry desperately needs for us to do so.
She offered two solutions to the diversity issue:
If we are going to increase diversity among performers, we also have to produce more plays and musicals that tell the stories of traditionally underrepresented communities.
There is absolutely no reason why, in the vast majority of cases, traditionally underrepresented actors cannot play white characters — or even better, play characters whose race is absolutely irrelevant to the story being told.
Her latter emphasized point, that perhaps race needn’t inform every character in every story, is similar to one that Footlights‘ columnist, Kevin Delin, made just a few days ago.