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Minnesota theater suspends Cinderella production because cast is ‘too white’



Minnesota theater suspends Cinderella production because cast is ‘too white’

  • Chanhassen Dinner Theaters was scheduled to set up a production of Cinderella later this year
  • However, the show was shelved when the artistic director noticed that the cast was overwhelmingly white
  • Chanhassen Dinner Theaters has recently hired a diversity consultant and introduced new ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ protocols
  • A production of Footloose, which will have a more racistly diverse cast, is now planned instead of 2022

A local Minnesota theater has canceled a production of Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella because the cast was ‘too white’.

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters was scheduled to stage the show later this year before the artistic director stepped in to slam the lack of diversity.

“It was 98 percent white,” artistic director Michael Brindisi told Pioneer Press on Wednesday after looking at who was thrown.

However, Chanhassen – southwest of Minneapolis – has an overwhelmingly white population, and the cast demographics were not strikingly different from the city as a whole.

According to the latest census, 92.5 percent of the people in Chanhassen are white. Less than 3 percent of the population is Spanish, while 1.1 percent are black.

No pictures of the Cinderella cast were officially released before the show was scrapped.

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters has canceled a production of Roger & Hammerstein's Cinderella because the cast was 'too white'

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters has canceled a production of Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella because the cast was ‘too white’

Dinner and show!  Chanhassen - located southwest of Minneapolis - has a population that is overwhelmingly white, and the racial demographics of the cast were not noticeably different from the city as a whole.

Dinner and show! Chanhassen – located southwest of Minneapolis – has a population that is overwhelmingly white, and the racial demographics of the cast were not noticeably different from the city as a whole.

Cinderella has been performed all over the world for decades, and usually has a white cast.  Pictured: a performance of Cinderella on Broadway in New York City in 2013

Cinderella has been performed all over the world for decades, and usually has a white cast. Pictured: a performance of Cinderella on Broadway in New York City in 2013

In a statement issued on Monday, the theater stated: ‘After careful consideration and with our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we have made the decision to discontinue our upcoming production.

‘In addition to changing future programming, we are establishing new protocols for pre-production. We will invite (and pay) BIPOC artists to analyze the production with our creative teams through a new diversity, equity and inclusion lens … This conversation will take place before the design and casting process has begun. ‘

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters has hired a diversity consultant and promised a commitment to “identity-conscious casting and becoming a more conscious anti-racist theater”.

Meanwhile, the organization is now in the process of putting together a production of The Music Man and has a “strong priority placed on casting BIPOC artists”.[lyputtingtogetheraproductionofTheMusicManandhasa’strongpriorityplacedoncastingBIPOCartists'[lyputtingtogetheraproductionofTheMusicManandhasa’strongpriorityplacedoncastingBIPOCartists’

Many of the productions from Chanhassen Dinner Theater in recent years have featured a majority white cast (pictured).  They have now introduced new diversity protocols

Many of the productions from Chanhassen Dinner Theater in recent years have featured a majority white cast (pictured). They have now introduced new diversity protocols

Cast from Chanhassen Dinner Theaters Mamma Mia is pictured

Cast from Chanhassen Dinner Theaters Mamma Mia is pictured

Meanwhile, Brindisi told Pioneer Press that the theater was considering turning Cinderella.

However, they decided to scrap the show and start from scratch with their own production.

While some cast members were outraged by the news, Brinidisi said most “respected the very hard decision we had to make.”

Chanhassen Dinner Theaters replaces Cinderella with a more varied adaptation of Footloose, which is now planned for 2022.

Artistic director Michael Brindisi called for the fact that Cinderella's cast was 98 percent white.  Production has now been scrapped

Artistic director Michael Brindisi called for the fact that Cinderella’s cast was 98 percent white. Production has now been scrapped

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