In an effort to achieve a healthy work/life balance; phone calls, texts and emails will only be responded to during office hours…unless it’s a theatrical emergency.

DISCLAIMER: The re-posting of this article is not meant to “identify” my feelings about the subject matter one way or another. Nor is it meant to divide, anger or cause dismay. What I enjoyed most about this piece is that the writer took the time to really delve (with numerous examples) into a very hot button topic and present, in my humble opinion, some very valid talking points. It’s called educating yourself, y’all, and seeing things from different perspectives. That which align myself to, are the parts I purposely highlighted towards the end…if you’re seeking the “T” about how I truly feel.



OnStage Blog • Ashley Griffin, Guest Editorial • May 25, 2021

TW: Discussions of discrimination and violence against marginalized groups, sexual assault, and identity erasure. 

“We are all born with a certain package. We are who we are: where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We’re kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people. And for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.”

 – Roger Ebert, “Life Itself”

What “type” of people get cast in which “type” of roles has been a discussion since time immemorial. Many university drama programs teach classes on how to “Know Your ‘Type’.” It has always been a complex conversation, but recently it has burst into the collective consciousness of non-artists as well as those in the artistic community. Should non-trans actors play trans roles? Should straight actors play gay characters? Should non-Latinas play Latina roles? What about the recent casting of Rachel Zegler as Maria in the Steven Spielberg helmed “West Side Story?” She is Latina (as is Maria,) but she is Columbian and Maria is infamously Puerto Rican. What about all the Puerto Rican actresses who can play Maria?

This is a complex issue and one that I’ve rarely seen a nuanced discussion about. Why am I the one writing about it? (I’ll get to that at the end, I promise,) but I would like to take a deep dive into the complexities of casting based on personal identity.

Let’s start with a discussion about casting practices and the current issues faced.

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