Bippity, boppity, gone.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Minnesota has announced they’re bailing on a planned production of Cinderella after they realized the cast was “too white.”
According to the Washington Examiner, the theater, which recently affirmed a commitment to “diversity,” became worried that the cast for the play was 98 percent Caucasian. According to artistic director Michael Brindisi, the predominant lack of melanin “doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.”
See, the lack of “diversity” didn’t jive with the company’s new commitment to “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” an effort they announced last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter riots that followed.
“Last June, after the killing of George Floyd, a call to action came from theatre artists across the United States and in our own community to foster change in our industry in regard to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) – both on our stages and within our creative teams and administrations,” the company said in a statement. “We have taken this call to heart. Since that time, leadership has been looking deeply at our practices, our biases and historical mistakes we have made with open hearts and minds to change. As theatre artists and business leaders, we are fully committed to having not only our stages but our entire organization be a reflection of the beautiful and rich diversity in our society.”
“After careful consideration and with our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has made the decision to cancel our upcoming production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” the company added. “Our hope in beginning the production process again with a new title will allow us to put into practice an intentional process based on the work we have been doing towards equity and inclusivity.”
The decision is a major kick in the pants for the cast, who’ve been working on the play for the better part of a year. In an update to their statement, the company says they do plan on bringing Cinderella to the stage at a later date, but only after they’ve swapped out some of the original white cast members for actors with a more desirable skin color.
In the meantime, the theater is swapping out their plans for a production of “Footloose,” instead – a movie that’s…well, not exactly known for its blackness. But never fear – the company says they’ll be working with a “diversity consultant” to make sure all future productions are adequately stocked with non-white people.
“In addition to changing future programming, we are establishing new pre-production protocols. We will be inviting (and paying) BIPOC artists to analyze the production with our creative teams through a new DEI lens – looking to expand the voices that are at the table and impacting the storytelling,” the theater said.
For those not familiar with “wokespeak,” “BIPOC” stands for “black, Indigenous and people of color.”