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The Ensemblist is an inside look at the experience of being a Broadway performer- from the first rehearsal through performing eight shows a week and beyond. Whether you’re an experienced theatre professional or a passionate fan, The Ensemblist will give you the opportunity to get to know new performers and the great work they do onstage, while also shedding light on some of the hidden innerworkings of the Broadway experience. Created and hosted by Mo Brady (The Addams Family, SMASH) and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), The Ensemblist is the only podcast that shows you Broadway from the inside out. 

Blog

"America Will Never Be Colorblind."

Mo Brady

Douglas Lyons

Douglas Lyons

America will never be colorblind, so why does the American Theatre insist on this notion of "colorblind casting.” This coined phrased has progressive intentions, but doesn't match the reality of the world we live in. I'm Black, dark chocolate to specific. And having spent the past twelve years as an actor and five as a writer in this business, I assure you when I walk into audition rooms no one is blind to what stands before them.

As a community, the theatre strives for inclusivity, but inclusivity cannot be built on the shoulders of white normality. We have to ask ourselves this question: When casting a POC in a role traditionally portrayed by a white actor, are we merely filling a quota, or are we truly casting that actor because we recognize and admire them in their fullness. Their fullness may bring a different context, heritage and spice to the role; and all of that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.  If we don't really want to include those aspects into the conversation, then perhaps we are asking the audience to be "colorblind".

This conversation is tricky. The writer in me understands that while the majority of roles in the American Theatre are written for white people, by white people, there is a movement to shake things up. Examples being Joshua Henry opposite Jessie Mueller in the revival of Carousel, and the upcoming Kennedy Center production of The Music Man.

I applaud this effort, but I suggest updating our terminology. Let us leave the term "colorblind casting" in 2018, shall we? We don't want the audience to pretend they don't see our color, they will always see it and they should. They should see that actors of any color, when given a shot, can slay an assortment of roles in the American Theatre. Hamilton has