- The Washington Times - Friday, March 26, 2021

A Minneapolis-area theater announced the cancellation of its upcoming production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” over concerns the cast was too white.

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres said in a press release that “Cinderella” was canceled “after careful consideration and with our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” 

“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 theater said.

Director Michael Brindisi told The Pioneer Press the cancellation was due to the theater’s casting, not the content of the play.

“It was 98 percent white,” he said. “That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.”

Mr. Brindisi said the actors were disappointed with the cancellation but that “they respected the very hard decision we had to make.”

The theater will “start fresh with a clean slate” and stage a production of “Footloose,” instead, he said.

Mr. Brindisi said he realized after the death of George Floyd last summer that it was time to “change our culture and make us more diverse and more equitable as a company. We’ve really dug in on diversity, equity and inclusion, the commitment to social justice and getting more diversity into our business across the board,” The Pioneer Press reported.

“We wanted to meet it head on,” he said. “We need to fix things and we’re going to do just that.”

The theater said in its press release that as part of its initiative to become more inclusive it will be hiring artists of color to analyze upcoming productions through a new “lens” of “DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

“This conversation will happen before the design and casting process has begun,” the theater said. “We believe this new process will allow us to tell the story in a rich way and allow us to live out our commitment to identity-conscious casting and becoming a more intentionally anti-racist theater.”

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