A Minnesota dinner theater has cancelled its plans to perform a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ''Cinderella'' because the cast was essentially too white.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis, made the announcement earlier this week deciding to replace the 1957 made-for-TV musical starring Julie Andrews with ''Footloose.''
''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 said in a statement on its website. ''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.''
Chanhassen’s artistic director, Michael Brindisi, decried the racial makeup of the cast.
''It was 98 percent white,'' he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. ''That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.''
The company mulled recasting, but instead chose to ''scrap this and start fresh with a clean slate.''
Some of the cast were upset, ''but everyone to a person said they got it and that they respected the very hard decision we had to make,'' he said.
The dinner theater has hired a diversity consultant, Kelli Foster Warder, to address theater operations in the future.
Cinderella was broadcast live by CBS, written as a vehicle to showcase Andrews, and was seen by over 100 million viewers. It was subsequently remade for television twice, a 1965 version starring Leslie Ann Warren in the title role and a 1997 version with Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. It also has been adapted for the stage several times, including a West End production, Broadway and the New York City Opera.
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