The hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" is facing cries of discrimination after a media report drew attention to its casting call for "nonwhite" performers.
The production, which has been praised for its casting of black and Latino performers as the nation’s Founding Fathers, may have violated New York City Human Rights Law, CBS New York reported
The audition ad stated it was "seeking nonwhite men and women, ages 20s to 30s."
"What if they put an ad out that said, 'Whites only need apply?'" said civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin. "Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged."
While casting directors of artistic endeavors are allowed to factor in race, the open call failed to include standard language encouraging performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds to audition, The Wall Street Journal reported
Producer Jeffrey Seller said in a statement that it is "essential to the storytelling of ‘Hamilton’ that the principal roles — which were written for non-white characters (excepting King George) — be performed by non-white actors."
"The dispute is in some ways semantic," The New York Times reported
, noting that casting calls often describe the race, gender and age range of the characters, but that auditions should be open to anyone.
Still, it rankled the Actors’ Equity union. Spokeswoman Maria Somma told the Times that the casting call was “absolutely inconsistent with Equity’s policy.”
Producers of "Hamilton" said they will change their casting notices to address the concern, but won’t change how they cast.
"'Hamilton’ depicts the birth of our nation in a singular way," Seller, said in a statement. "We will continue to cast the show with the same multicultural diversity that we have employed thus far."
The show has grossed nearly $60 million since opening last July, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Twitter users shared mixed reactions to the casting controversy.
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