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Minnesota theater scraps Cinderella production, fires cast because '98%' were white

 A theater in Minnesota says they have canceled their production of Cinderella that had been slated for later this year, letting the staff go because "it was 98% white."


What are the details?

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres issued an announcement Monday declaring that they "made the decision to cancel our upcoming production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Cinderella'," with the hope of "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."

A follow-up from the next day clarified:

Just to be clear, we believe unapologetically in the changes we are making, and we believe that all of our kind-hearted guests will follow us on this journey.

We did not cancel Cinderella because of content. We are looking forward to bringing it to our stage in the future. But we as a company decided our original casting didn't go far enough in our commitment, and instead of waiting another full year to implement these important changes, we chose now.

Artistic director Michael Brindisi told the Pioneer Press this week the decision was made after he took a look at the cast and realized, "It was 98% white."

"That doesn't work with what we're saying we're going to do," Brindisi added, noting that the theater had hired diversity consultant Kelli Foster Warder to help "foster these moves."

The Pioneer Press reported:

Brindisi considered recasting, but ultimately decided to "scrap this and start fresh with a clean slate." Some of the actors were disappointed, he said, "but every one to a person said they got it and that they respected the very hard decision we had to make."

According to The Daily Mail, finding a diverse cast might be difficult if the theater is pulling actors from the town of Chanhassen, which is southwest of Minneapolis.

The outlet reported that the population of Chanhassen "is overwhelmingly white, and the racial demographics of the cast were not strikingly different from the city as a whole."

The Mail went on to note that "according to the most recent census, 92.5 percent of people in Chanhassen are white. Less than 3 percent of residents are Hispanic, while 1.1 percent are black."

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